Breaking the Law


[ Overview ]

In section seven, chapter two of Ishmael, Ishmael introduces the concept of the "peace-keeping law," a natural law that "is followed invariably within the community, and without [which] the community would indeed be in chaos and would very quickly disintegrate and disappear." He asks the narrator to discern exactly what this law is by examining what Takers do that no other member of the natural community does. The narrator arrives at three important observations (found in section eight, chapter one):
  1. "...they exterminate their competitors, which is something that never happens in the wild."
  2. "...[they] systematically destroy their competitors’ food to make room for their own."
  3. "...[they] deny their competitors access to food."
In the following chapter, Ishmael then synthesizes these concepts into the statement of the peace-keeping law: "you may compete but you may not wage war."

For this assignment, you will find a current event that proves one of the narrator's three observations about Takers breaking the peace-keeping law.

[ Directions ]

  1. Re-read section eight, chapter one in order to re-familiarize yourself with the ideas behind the peace-keeping law.
  2. Browse news sources in order to find a current event that shows Takers doing what the narrator describes in one of his observations. (You will be assigned a specific observation -- either 1, 2, or 3 above -- to be on the lookout for.) Resources you might use include (but are not limited to):
  3. Create a Collaborize Classroom post that contains the following:
    • A brief summary (5-7 sentences) of your current event. (Keep in mind the classic journalist's questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how -- AKA 5W+H.)
    • A proper Works Cited entry -- including URL -- for the current event you found.
    • An explanation (1-2 detailed paragraphs) of how your current event proves one of the narrator's observations about Takers breaking the peace-keeping law.

[ Requirements ]

  • You must find a current (i.e. not historical) event that shows Takers violating the peace-keeping law as described in the novel.
  • Your Collaborize Classroom post must include the items mentioned in step 3 of the directions.
  • Your Works Cited entry must be properly formatted according to MLA guidelines.
  • Your explanation should demonstrate your understanding of the reading.

[ Due Date and Grading ]

Your completed Collaborize Classroom post is due by the beginning of class on Monday, September 24. It will be graded primarily on its level of detail and evidence of understanding, in addition to proper MLA formatting of your Works Cited entry. This assignment is worth 50 points.