Don’t Call Me Ishmael

by

Michael Gerard Bauer

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

Miss Tarango Character Analysis

Miss Tarango is a brand-new English teacher at St. Daniel’s Boys School. At first, Ishmael is certain she won’t last a term or a week, because Miss Tarango is young and beautiful and seems very nice. But she soon shows that she’s not afraid of any of her students, especially Barry Bagsley, and has her class under control in her first period with them. She does this by demonstrating the “power of language,” challenging Barry to sit in her chair until she circles him three times—but she doesn’t specify when she’ll finish her third circle, and refuses to do so before class breaks for lunch. This embarrasses Barry and immediately makes Miss Tarango Ishmael’s favorite and teacher. Later, Miss Tarango channels her belief in the power of language into helping Scobie start debating teams. Ishmael admires Miss Tarango greatly and is excited to come back to school the following year in part because of her.

Miss Tarango Quotes in Don’t Call Me Ishmael

The Don’t Call Me Ishmael quotes below are all either spoken by Miss Tarango or refer to Miss Tarango. 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 9 Quotes

“You see how powerful language can be, boys? Even a little word like ‘before’ can hurt you if you don’t treat it with respect and listen carefully.”

Related Characters: Miss Tarango (speaker), Barry Bagsley, Ishmael Leseur
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Don’t Call Me Ishmael LitChart as a printable PDF.
Don’t Call Me Ishmael PDF

Miss Tarango Character Timeline in Don’t Call Me Ishmael

The timeline below shows where the character Miss Tarango appears in Don’t Call Me Ishmael. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
...Everything is new—aside, of course, from Barry calling Ishmael “Le Sewer.” Fortunately, the homeroom teacher, Miss Tarango , arrives. Miss Tarango is like no teacher Ishmael has had before. She’s young, pretty,... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
As Miss Tarango asks everyone to quiet down so she can take roll, Barry says he wouldn’t mind... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Then, Miss Tarango notes that Ishmael is a famous name in literature. Ishmael feels ready to die as... (full context)
Chapter 8
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...his friends as they continue to make fun of Ishmael’s name. Later, in English with Miss Tarango , Ishmael is intrigued when Miss Tarango insists that language can empower people. Maybe Ishmael... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Then, Miss Tarango hands out sheets of paper asking for five “amazing” facts from each student. Ishmael’s five... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Barry grows gradually more confident during class until, finally, Miss Tarango asks Barry to bring up his five facts and stop talking to other kids. She... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Miss Tarango says she needs someone brave who’s capable of “tackling the power of language.” A few... (full context)
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Barry saunters to the front, where Miss Tarango asks very seriously if he suffers from a weak heart or dizzy spells. He insists... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
When Barry says he’s ready, Miss Tarango walks slowly around Barry. She finishes the first circle, then the second. Barry looks like... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Miss Tarango says they’re out of time. Barry objects—is he really supposed to sit in the chair... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
This earns Miss Tarango the love and respect of everyone in the class, aside from Barry. After this, Ishmael... (full context)
Chapter 10
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Miss Tarango won her battle with Barry, but Ishmael’s battle isn’t over. Things are worse now that... (full context)
Chapter 12
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
A new boy arrives at St. Daniel’s at the start of second term. Miss Tarango introduces James Scobie to the homeroom class and, in a tone that demands the boys... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The first time James’s face does this, a few boys laugh. Miss Tarango scans the room with a hard stare and most kids stop smiling. Barry, though, looks... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
...at the top of the planner’s page—his handwriting is illegible. Ishmael notices that everyone, including Miss Tarango and Barry, are also watching James. Barry might as well be drooling. Ishmael knows James... (full context)
Chapter 13
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...one is next to Bill Kingsley and the teacher’s desk. That one is perfect. And Miss Tarango didn’t stipulate that Ishmael has to sit right next to James the entire time. He... (full context)
Chapter 15
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...is telling the truth: he doesn’t look afraid. He didn’t even look appropriately afraid when Miss Tarango introduced him to the class—he looked like the other boys were the new kids. Disdainfully,... (full context)
Chapter 16
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
...A spider as big as a saucer is clinging to Scobie’s cheek. Nobody says anything—until Miss Tarango comes in and shrieks. (full context)
Chapter 17
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Miss Tarango ’s shriek attracts people from all over the school, including Mr. Barker. He gasps in... (full context)
Chapter 18
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...of the Thursday assemblies, Ishmael realizes that Scobie isn’t still with him. He nervously tells Miss Tarango that he doesn’t know where Scobie went, and she points to the front of the... (full context)
Chapter 34
Friendship Theme Icon
...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 for the debating... (full context)
Chapter 36
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...And weirdly, the Preston kids don’t seem all that different. 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... (full context)
Chapter 37
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...school and asks Ishmael to keep this to himself. In a postscript, Scobie acknowledges that Miss Tarango is right: a word like “probably” can do damage. When he’s done reading, Ishmael wonders... (full context)
Chapter 38
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
A few days after getting Scobie’s letter, Miss Tarango announces that Scobie won’t be returning to school for “personal” and “family” reasons. This brings... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...the bus stop, he promises himself to do two things. First, he’s going to ask Miss Tarango to make Bill a new certificate. Second, he vows to make Barry pay for all... (full context)
Chapter 39
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Miss Tarango is more than happy to make Bill a new certificate; Ishmael tells her Bill lost... (full context)
Chapter 45
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
...sick. So Ishmael enters the gym alone. He knows he needs to check in with Miss Tarango , but first, he needs to find Barry. Finally, Ishmael finds Barry and heads his... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...people be themselves instead of bullying them and putting them down all the time.” Finally, Miss Tarango ushers the debating team onto the stage. (full context)
Chapter 46
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...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.... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...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... (full context)