Literature is a part of the society, because it concerns with all human activities and expresses all sorts of human feeling, emotion and view of life. Moreover, it helps us to know the inner of someone’s life such as his attitudes, love, and other emotions. Indirectly, studying literature can help us to make some conclusion about what is better and worse in life, or at least gain an insight into some of the universal problems of mankind.
Literary work, especially novel usually concerns with fictitious people or events that are produced through the imagination of the author. Although the source of imagination or inspiration sometimes comes from reality, for instance, living society or politics, the results are mixed with the author’s interpretation of those events. Due to this, the production of a literary work is usually considered as the author’s imaginative invention or creative work of writing.
To analyze literary work, somebody has to know what literary work is and what aspect that is most important in that work. Literary work is an experience, thought, feeling, ideas and spirit of the writers, which are expressed in novel, drama, poetry and short story.
Literature is an important subject to study. It reproduces or recreates life with words as its medium and human experience as its material. Studying literature can help us to understand life better, and particularly our environment, culture, and values. Wellek briefly states in the following lines:
“Literature represents life; and life is, in large measure, a social reality, even though the natural world and the inner of the subjective world of the individual have also been objects of literature imitation” (Wellek, 1987:94).
The relation between literary work and human life are very solid and cannot be separated, so that literary work can reflect social realities in that time. Literature can be seen as a socio-cultural document that portrays social phenomena in a certain place and in a certain time.
One of literary works that is very interesting is novel. Novel presents a story where there are conflicts between figures that make people are interested to read it. Some novels narrate human life experiences. It can be the experiences of the author himself or people around him. Automatically, novel can become a history document because it portrays an event at the time when the novel was made. This makes novel different from other literary works. Literature includes whole aspects of human activities and problems.
The writer decided to analyze prose and choose novel as the subject matter. The writer is interested in novel rather than other genres because novel is now the most popular of all literary works. It is a very interesting subject to discuss since it is based on the author’s imagination and creative works that talk about the events of contemporary life and tells about ordinary man and woman in possible situation as human being.
In reading a novel, a reader can find many experiences about daily life as Guerin (1979:49) says:
“A novel, that is, an extended prose narrative dealing with characters within the frame work of plot… but both character and situation or events may be drawn from real life. It may emphasize action or adventure or it may concrete on character delineation (that is, the way people grow or deteriorate or remain static in the happenings of life); or it may illustrate a theme either aesthetically or propagandistically”.
The writer decides to analyze “Ishmael” a novel by Daniel Quinn because the author of the novel tries to explain how prominent aspects of humanity are described in the novel with a Gorilla as a teacher and the narrator (human) as the student. Another reason for choosing Daniel Quinn’s work is because his honesty in describing how to save the world. The way he describes these elements is excellent because he adds some great examples.
The writer chooses only specific aspects under the title “Prominent Aspects of Humanity in Daniel Quinn’s Novel ‘Ishmael’. The title indirectly refers to the characters and theme of the novel. These points are explicitly analyzed in detail in the next chapters of this thesis.