Don’t Call Me Ishmael


Michael Gerard Bauer

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Don’t Call Me Ishmael can help.

Don’t Call Me Ishmael: Chapter 41 Summary & Analysis

As Razza and Ishmael wait for Razza’s mom, Razza insists that because Ishmael “rescued” Marty from Barry, there’s no way Ishmael won’t snag Kelly. Ishmael insists that this is silly—Kelly just wanted to thank him, and she’s just nice. And he has no personality anyway, so he doesn’t have a chance. Razza remains unconvinced. When Ishmael asks about the blond, Razza says it’s over. They had to end things over “irreconcilable differences,” like her not liking him. As Razza’s mom pulls up, Razza suggests Ishmael track down Kelly’s number and call her.
Judging by how engaged Kelly seemed in conversation with Ishmael earlier, Razza seems to have a point—and Ishmael seems wrong about having no personality. But insisting to Razza that there’s no chance with Kelly may also be a way for Ishmael to temper his expectations and guard his heart against possible pain later.
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
That night, Ishmael decides that no matter what Razza says, Kelly will stay in his daydreams. And second, Ishmael decides it’s time to read Moby-Dick. When he asks Dad for his old copy, Dad says that Ishmael is seeking the white whale. That isn’t it, though: Ishmael is seeking Ishmael.
Ishmael makes it clear that he’s reading Moby-Dick because he wants to know who Melville’s Ishmael is. This isn’t a foray into great American literature—this is a journey into Ishmael’s own identity and the things that make him who he is.
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Related Quotes