This paper should be an interpretive sociological analysis of the book Ishmael. It should be more
than a book report and should be written in a scholarly manner. You should include some of the
things you have learned in sociology, particularly theoretical orientations and concepts. For
example, you should be able to apply some sociological theory to the ideas Daniel Quinn uses in
the book. Discuss the Takers and Leavers in terms of conflict theory, structural functionalism,
symbolic interactionism, etc. Who are the Takers and Leavers? What is meant by the term
Mother Culture? How does it operate? Who is Ishmael? What is he trying to teach and why?
Pick out a portion of the text in Ishmael and expand on it. There is symbolism in the book that
can be tied to notions such as: stratification in terms of class, race, or gender; the sociology of
religion; political sociology; economics; organizations; philosophy; social movements and
collective behavior; or any topic of your choice. The possibilities are wide open and are limited
only by your imagination (within reason, of course).
Relate these ideas to various types of societies — hunter-gatherers, agrarian societies, industrial societies, or post-industrial societies.
But don’t rely on long, extensive quotes as the essence of the paper. Tell me what you’ve
learned from reading the book.