Don’t Call Me Ishmael

by

Michael Gerard Bauer

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Bill is one of Ishmael’s classmates who also joins the debating team. Bill is an easygoing guy who exists mostly in his own world: he loves sci-fi and fantasy, so he seldom pays attention in class in favor of doodling spaceships. Because of this, he has a reputation for being checked out and disinterested when it comes to school. He only ends up joining the debating team because he comes to the first meeting expecting it to be a chess club meeting, but he agrees to stay anyway. Razza teases Bill incessantly about debating, as Bill is notoriously bad at it. Most of the time he struggles to understand what the topics are about or to rebut others’ arguments. He believes that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and is more than willing to concede when others make good points. Bill suddenly comes to life in the semifinals when the team has to prove that sci-fi and fantasy films are relevant to real life. He leads the team to victory with an impassioned speech and comes up with most of the team’s arguments, thanks to the fact that he’s well-versed in the genre. After this, Ishmael and the other debating team members develop respect for Bill, and Bill starts to take school more seriously. But things take a turn for the worse when Barry decides to target and bully Bill. Bill is very large, so Barry starts by stealing Bill’s debating certificate and pasting a picture of Jabba the Hutt on it. Barry also sabotages a PowerPoint presentation that Bill spent a lot of time putting together by inserting slides with pictures of hippos and weight loss ads. This convinces Ishmael that it’s worth it to stand up to Barry, as he sees how defeated and upset Bill is every day because of Barry’s bullying. Though Ishmael chooses not to humiliate Barry the way Barry has humiliated Bill, the novel offers hope that Bill will be happier and more supported going forward, as Razza rallies to plan a sci-fi movie marathon the week after school gets out for Christmas holidays.

Bill Kingsley Quotes in Don’t Call Me Ishmael

The Don’t Call Me Ishmael quotes below are all either spoken by Bill Kingsley or refer to Bill Kingsley. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Greenwillow Books edition of Don’t Call Me Ishmael published in 2007.
Chapter 4 Quotes

And if it hadn’t been my terrible fate to end up as Ishmael Leseur, then none of the disasters of my life would have happened and today I would be a happy normal teenager, like everyone else my age.

Related Characters: Ishmael Leseur (speaker), Bill Kingsley, Ignatius Prindabel, James Scobie
Related Symbols: Moby-Dick
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

Even though we had improved from last time, the difference again was Scobie. It was like having Michael Phelps swimming the final leg for you in the under-seven floaties relay. As long as we could keep the opposition vaguely in sight, we knew that Scobie would reel them in and eat them up.

Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 35 Quotes

“Well, I guess you could say that part of it’s about how power can be used in a good way or a bad way, and you could tie that to things like the power that big companies or politicians or dictators have today, I suppose. And Harry himself faces a lot of problems that I reckon would be relevant to a lot of people—you know, like coping with death and trying to fit in when you’re different…and bullying.”

Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:

“Oh, and Orazio…I know we’re not headed for Mount Doom or anything, but we are on a bit of a quest, aren’t we? Maybe we’re even some sort of a fellowship.”

Razza sprawled back in his seat and shook his head slowly from side to side as if nothing made sense to him anymore. Finally he stood up, leaned over the table, and placed his hand on Bill’s shoulder.

I held my breath. I had a terrible feeling that Orazio Zorzotto’s razor-sharp wit was about to slice Bill Kingsley in two.

Razza fixed his eyes on the large form before him. “I will follow you,” he said solemnly, “my brother…my captain…my…Kingsley.”

Related Characters: Bill Kingsley (speaker), Orazio “Razza” Zorzotto (speaker), Ishmael Leseur, Ignatius Prindabel
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 36 Quotes

Razza nudged me in the ribs and jerked his head toward Bill Kingsley, who was gazing into space beside him. I knew what Razza was getting at. Bill looked different somehow. It must have been the smile on his face.

Related Characters: Ishmael Leseur (speaker), Bill Kingsley, Orazio “Razza” Zorzotto
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 38 Quotes

I looked at Bill. I remembered his face after that last debate. Now he looked numb and broken.

I ripped the certificate from the desk. “That’s it. I’m taking this to Barker.”

“No, Ishmael, don’t!”

Related Characters: Ishmael Leseur (speaker), Bill Kingsley (speaker), Barry Bagsley
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 39 Quotes

“Why can’t you just leave him alone?”

“Maybe I don’t want to. Are you going to make me?”

And there it was. The question we’d all been waiting for. The question whose answer I knew, and Barry Bagsley knew, was no. I looked at the smug, arrogant face before me, a face without a shadow of a doubt that it had nothing in the world to fear. I hated it and I hated how it was making me feel. I wanted to blow it away.

Related Characters: Ishmael Leseur (speaker), Barry Bagsley (speaker), Bill Kingsley
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 42 Quotes

But there was someone else onboard the Pequod who I could relate to. Maybe I hadn’t lost my leg to a great white whale like he had, but I understood what it was like to have a part of yourself torn away, and I also knew how much you could grow to hate whoever or whatever it was that had taken that part from you. I knew all about that, because every time Barry Bagsley taunted me and ground my name into the dirt, and every time he paid out on Bill Kingsley and I did nothing, it felt like there was much more of me missing than just a limb. But was I really like Ahab? Did I crave revenge like him? Would I really like to hunt down Barry Bagsley and harpoon him and make him suffer for what he had done?

You bet.

Related Characters: Ishmael Leseur (speaker), Bill Kingsley, Barry Bagsley
Related Symbols: Moby-Dick
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 46 Quotes

But there was another reason why I couldn’t go through with it. It was that look on Barry Bagsley’s face, the one that I had put there, the one that reminded me of Kelly Faulkner’s little brother, of Bill Kingsley, and of myself. I didn’t want to be the kind of person that made people look like that. No matter who they were.

Related Characters: Ishmael Leseur (speaker), Barry Bagsley, Bill Kingsley, Marty/The Boy
Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:

I heard a strange noise come from deep within Bill Kingsley. It took me a moment to realize that he was laughing.

Razza looked back at me, flashed that deadly smile, and gave me the thumbs-up.

They were right all along. The Razzman really did work in mysterious ways.

Related Characters: Ishmael Leseur (speaker), Orazio “Razza” Zorzotto, Bill Kingsley
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:
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Don’t Call Me Ishmael PDF

Bill Kingsley Character Timeline in Don’t Call Me Ishmael

The timeline below shows where the character Bill Kingsley appears in Don’t Call Me Ishmael. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...she asks the students the name of the famous novel with Ishmael as a protagonist. Bill Kingsley offers Star Trek with genuine seriousness. Finally, Miss Tarango says the novel is Moby-Dick.... (full context)
Chapter 13
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...back by Barry and Danny, two are in the middle, and one is next to Bill Kingsley and the teacher’s desk. That one is perfect. And Miss Tarango didn’t stipulate that... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Ishmael usually avoids Bill Kingsley, but he’s never wanted to sit next to him so badly. There’s nothing wrong... (full context)
Chapter 14
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
...for Mr. Barker. Mr. Barker is the person who gets called whenever something happens (usually Bill Kingsley’s mishaps, like swallowing his pen lid or getting his head stuck between the stair... (full context)
Chapter 16
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
...flies into the fan, which throws its broken body into the blackboard. One clings to Bill Kingsley’s shirt until Bill rips his shirt off and throws it over Doug’s head. While... (full context)
Chapter 21
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...Razza tells Scobie that he’s in because they’ll be competing against “chick schools.” Moments later, Bill Kingsley comes in asking if this is the first meeting for the chess club. Scobie... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...plan to go to the workshop at Moorfield High on Saturday. Ignatius has scouts, and Bill says he’s seeing a Lord of the Rings marathon. Razza brightly says that they’ll win... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Scobie says the next meeting will be Tuesday (Razza tells Bill to put it in his commander’s log) and then says that debating is about teamwork.... (full context)
Chapter 24
Friendship Theme Icon
...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,”... (full context)
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 25
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...debate team has some idea of what they’re supposed to do. For the second competition, Bill Kingsley goes first—he won’t have to rebut at all, and Bill is incapable of formulating... (full context)
Chapter 27
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...Ignatius is busy playing the triangle in the band, the team for the night is Bill, Razza, and Scobie, with Ishmael as timekeeper. But Scobie says that Bill has laryngitis and... (full context)
Friendship Theme Icon
...choice should be easy—he should refuse to debate. But Scobie points out that Ishmael wrote Bill’s speech for him and knows the topic better than Bill, and also that they can... (full context)
Chapter 28
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...seat between Scobie and Razza and pulls out some blank index cards. Scobie passes over Bill’s index cards with the speech on them. Razza, meanwhile, scribbles on another card and passes... (full context)
Chapter 29
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...realizes that’s not a bad point. But then he remembers he can’t agree with her. Bill rings the three-minute warning bell; Kelly only has one minute to go. Ishmael tries to... (full context)
Chapter 30
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...had privacy. Then, he turns to his cards—which are all written by Scobie and Razza. Bill’s cards, with the prepared speech, are on the floor under Ishmael’s chair. (full context)
Chapter 32
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Ishmael is confused by what Razza means. Scobie, Bill, and Ignatius stare and realize that Ishmael doesn’t know what happened. Ishmael doesn’t remember anything,... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Razza continues to dance around and make jokes. Even Ignatius and Bill laugh. Ishmael knows he has no chance with Kelly now. He’s not only a “wimp”... (full context)
Chapter 33
Friendship Theme Icon
Once Bill, Ignatius, and Razza get Scobie’s joke, they laugh uproariously (and Bill shoots strawberry milk out... (full context)
Chapter 34
Friendship Theme Icon
...after the September holidays, Ishmael has to break the bad news to Ignatius, Razza, and Bill: according to Miss Tarango, Scobie has gone somewhere with his father and won’t be back... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...should at least pretend like they can win, but Ignatius argues that they should forfeit. Bill says he doesn’t care, and Razza asks Ishmael for his opinion. Ishmael thinks hard before... (full context)
Chapter 35
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Bill says that actually, science fiction and fantasy are relevant, since those films talk about the... (full context)
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...that this isn’t his topic. He thinks Ishmael should speak first, then Razza, and then Bill. Razza insists that Bill can’t rebut, but Ishmael agrees with Ignatius: he knows the case,... (full context)
Chapter 36
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
When Ignatius calls Bill up, Bill gives an impassioned, persuasive speech. He even dumps his index cards, but he... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...Ishmael’s favorite part is when Miss Tarango tells the team that they’re her heroes—and that Bill is her “Jedi knight in shining armor.” It ends up being one of the best... (full context)
Chapter 38
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...and Ishmael’s team gets special certificates for getting to the semifinals. It’s the first certificate Bill has ever gotten. Later in the afternoon, Ishmael notices Barry, Danny, and Doug huddled around... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
After school, Ishmael finds Bill at his locker. Bill can’t find his debating certificate, which isn’t a surprise—Bill loses everything,... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
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Ishmael suggests they go check Bill’s desk, just in case it got stuck in a book. When Bill lifts his desk,... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
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...just got his hat thrown in the creek, the debating team lost twice, and now Bill feels terrible. As Ishmael leaves Bill at the bus stop, he promises himself to do... (full context)
Chapter 39
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The Power of Language Theme Icon
Miss Tarango is more than happy to make Bill a new certificate; Ishmael tells her Bill lost his and is too embarrassed to ask... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
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Ishmael asks what Bill has ever done to Barry. Barry quips that Bill is so fat that it makes... (full context)
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...when Razza asks if Ishmael will go with him to the debating finals (Ignatius and Bill are busy). Ishmael refuses, but Razza insists on hearing why Ishmael has been looking so... (full context)
Chapter 42
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
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...hate the person who took that part away. Every time Barry taunts Ishmael or torments Bill, Ishmael feels like he’s missing something. But is Ishmael like Ahab, craving revenge? Does he... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
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This feeling persists, not because of Moby-Dick but because Barry’s attacks on Bill continue to escalate. Barry leaves pictures of sumo wrestlers, blimps, and weight-loss ads in Bill’s... (full context)
Chapter 43
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...about having to speak in front of people at the event until the day that Bill presents his final speech in Study of Society with Mr. Barker. Students are supposed to... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Things start out fine as Bill introduces his criteria for assessing livability. But then, on the next slide, there’s a photo... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
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...Ishmael stays in his desk. Razza hangs back, and Ishmael tells him that Barry ruined Bill’s speech. Ishmael insists it won’t do any good to tell Mr. Barker—all it will do... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...if Razza is still wetting the bed. Then, Barry asks if Ishmael is upset about Bill’s “piss-weak presentation,” which was so bad because Bill wasn’t prepared. Ishmael says someone messed with... (full context)
Chapter 44
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 45
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...his seat, looking beaten. Ishmael recognizes that look—he’s worn it, as has little Marty and Bill Kingsley. The gym is silent, waiting for Ishmael to speak. Ishmael feels like he’s holding... (full context)
Chapter 46
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
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...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... (full context)
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The Power of Language Theme Icon
Ignatius tells Ishmael, Razza, and Bill goodbye and leaves too. Then, Razza turns to Bill and asks what he’s doing over... (full context)
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Finally, Bill asks if Razza doesn’t hate “space stuff.” Acting stunned, Razza says he loves the whole... (full context)
Chapter 47
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Ishmael’s smile is huge as he watches Razza and Bill walk away. But it disappears when Barry appears behind him. Barry is clearly angry, but... (full context)