Don’t Call Me Ishmael

by

Michael Gerard Bauer

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Don’t Call Me Ishmael: Chapter 46 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ishmael knows he said he was going to get revenge on Barry Bagsley, but seeing Mrs. Bagsley changed things. Ishmael finds that he can’t deal with how embarrassed and hurt she’d be if Ishmael went through with it. And he decides Miss Tarango doesn’t deserve to be let down. Everyone who came tonight would have their night ruined. But really, Ishmael can’t go through with it because of the look on Barry’s face. He knows he put it there, and he doesn’t want to be someone who makes people look like that. Even if they’re Barry Bagsley.
In his explanation of why he chose not to humiliate Barry, Ishmael also suggests that he has more people than just himself and Barry to think about. He also discovers in this moment that language is powerful—but part of learning to use language is knowing when to be quiet instead. By being quiet, Ishmael didn’t stoop to Barry’s level and become a bully himself.
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When Ishmael is done speaking, he takes his seat. He knows he made the right choice, but he also knows he didn’t help Bill. Barry will go back to torturing people once the Christmas holidays are over. Finally, Brother Jerome releases everyone. Miss Tarango asks Ishmael if he was okay up there. Ishmael insists he was using pauses for dramatic effect. She looks at Ishmael suspiciously but tells him and Razza to have a great holiday. Miss Tarango heads into the crowd.
At this point, Ishmael suspects that all he’s really done is make Barry extremely angry, without actually doing anything to help Bill. But for now, Ishmael seems to think it’s worth it if it means he doesn’t have to stoop to Barry’s level.
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Ignatius tells Ishmael, Razza, and Bill goodbye and leaves too. Then, Razza turns to Bill and asks what he’s doing over the holidays. Gloomily, Bill says he’ll hang out at home and maybe go to the movies. At Razza’s prodding, he says he has to see Star Warrior’s Quest—The Ultimate Evil. Razza deems the movie “sweet” and says he’d like to see The Ultimate Seagull, or Star Worrier’s Guest, too. He invites himself and Ishmael to join Bill on Tuesday.
Razza is being silly and teasing Bill, but he also seems to expect Bill to find his jokes funny. His teasing is, in this sense, in a totally different register than it’s been in the past—he’s making fun of the movie titles now, not Bill himself. This shows how much Bill and Razza’s relationship has changed in the last few months. Now, they’re friends.
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Finally, Bill asks if Razza doesn’t hate “space stuff.” Acting stunned, Razza says he loves the whole franchise. When Bill suspiciously asks Razza which movie is his favorite, Razza says it’s Star Warrior’s Quest—Hot Space Chicks Get Naked. Bill asks if Razza really hasn’t seen the first two movies. He won’t understand what’s going on in the third if he doesn’t see the first two. Ishmael has seen the first two, so Razza says that, obviously, they have to have a Star Warrior’s Quest marathon this weekend. Razza throws his arm around Bill’s shoulder and leads him away so they can plan. Ishmael is shocked when he hears Bill laughing. Apparently, Razza was right: “The Razzman really [does] work in mysterious ways.”
Again, Razza is just saying whatever happens to come into his head at any given moment, but it’s not barbed or designed to hurt. And when all is said and done, Ishmael has to acknowledge that “The Razzman” works differently than Ishmael thought he did. The implication earlier in the novel was that Razza would help Ishmael get revenge on Barry through physical, possibly violent, means. But now, Ishmael sees that Razza’s true power is in being a good friend to Bill. With Razza and Ishmael’s support, Bill will have the emotional support he needs to weather Barry’s bullying next school year.
Themes
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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