Don’t Call Me Ishmael


Michael Gerard Bauer

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Don’t Call Me Ishmael: Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Ishmael decides the best thing to do is to not think about Kelly. He doesn’t have a chance with her, whereas he has a “microscopic” chance of winning a debate. The debating team gets their topic (“that our leaders today rely more on image than actions”) on Monday. Unfortunately, nobody seems to understand how to work as a team. Scobie tries to organize an argument, Ignatius offers useless information, Bill sits still, and Razza insists the topic is terrible. Instead, Razza talks about “hot chicks,” and teases everyone else.
Notice that, according to Ishmael, the issue is not that they don’t understand how to debate. Rather, the issue is that they’re struggling to work together toward a common goal. This suggests that if the boys want to succeed, they’re going to have to work on their friendships (or, at least, their working relationships) with each other.
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Ishmael offers a sample script of their first meeting. Razza consistently insists they got “the crap side,” while Ignatius offers useless political facts. When asked for his thoughts, Bill talks about Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings. Razza teases him for that, and Ignatius mentions that New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote. Ishmael tries to keep everyone on task, but Razza just taunts him.
While Ishmael’s script is humorous, it also makes it clear that the debate team has a huge challenge ahead of them. Bringing everything together into a cohesive argument—and indeed, a cohesive team—seems, at this point, an unlikely outcome.
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