The Question (ID Number 7)...
...and the response:The point I'm trying to making in all my work is this: "If we want to survive on this planet, we must listen to what our neighbors in the community of life have to tell us." Thus it made sense for the teacher in Ishmael to be one of those neighbors---a nonhuman. Among those neighbors none is more impressive and authoritative than a gorilla (which is why I chose to make Ishmael a gorilla rather than, say, a parrot or a salmon).
For anyone interested in studying this question more deeply, I highly recommend the monograph "Apes of the Imagination: A Bibliography" by Marion W. Copeland.
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