Don’t Call Me Ishmael


Michael Gerard Bauer

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Don’t Call Me Ishmael: Chapter 44 Summary & Analysis

Ishmael finishes Moby-Dick that weekend. When he gives the book back to Dad, Dad insists they have to watch the film adaptation starring Gregory Peck as Ahab. As Ishmael watches Moby Dick destroy the ship and Ahab die, and Ishmael bob on the water, Ishmael knows for sure he’s nothing like the fictional Ishmael.
Ishmael saying he’s nothing like the fictional Ishmael is ominous, given the scene he’s just described: Ahab dies when Moby Dick pulls him under the water, so this implies that Ishmael is now willing to let Barry pull him down if it means making Barry stop.
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That night, Ishmael has a strange dream. He’s at school, and his classroom turns into a swimming pool. Barry has Bill by the hair and is pushing him underwater. Ishmael follows Barry into a dive and tries to choke him—but Barry turns into a fish and slips away. Ishmael can’t save Bill, who gets heavier. When Ishmael wakes up, it’s past midnight. He lies awake, thinking about all the terrible things Barry has said and done to him. Eventually, Ishmael falls back to sleep—after he figures out how to get back at Barry.
Though Ishmael’s dream might imply that Ishmael won’t be successful at either saving Bill or getting the better of Barry, it seems to serve as inspiration for whatever plan Ishmael has thought up. But note that Ishmael is wholly motivated by revenge, and it’s unclear at this point whether Ishmael is going to stoop to Barry’s level and turn to physical violence to get revenge. 
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