Don’t Call Me Ishmael

by

Michael Gerard Bauer

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Mr. Barker is the vice principal at St. Daniel’s. He also teaches Ishmael’s Study of Society class. Mr. Barker is an imposing figure; Ishmael notes that one simply doesn’t disobey Mr. Barker, as Mr. Barker will absolutely punish any students who disobey him. He’s also a master of sarcasm. Though Ishmael trusts and respects Mr. Barker, Mr. Barker is occasionally cruel, especially to Bill Kingsley. When the PowerPoint for Bill’s final speech in Mr. Barker’s class turns out to have been tampered with (presumably by Barry), Mr. Barker instead accuses Bill of not taking the assignment seriously and wasting his time. And though Ishmael encourages Bill at several points to tell Mr. Barker about Barry’s bullying, Bill refuses—and for that matter, Ishmael never tells Mr. Barker about the bullying he experiences, either. So while Mr. Barker purports to not tolerate bullying and urges victims to come to him, the novel shows that his methods are actually extremely ineffective.

Mr. Barker Quotes in Don’t Call Me Ishmael

The Don’t Call Me Ishmael quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Barker or refer to Mr. Barker. 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 6 Quotes

It soon became obvious to every Year Eight that if you wanted to survive your stay at St. Daniel’s Boys School relatively unscathed, there were only two courses of action open to you: either avoid Barry Bagsley at all costs, which was what the majority chose to do, or risk the road less traveled and seek out the dangerous safety of Barry Bagsley’s inner circle of “friends.”

Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Barker Character Timeline in Don’t Call Me Ishmael

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Barker appears in Don’t Call Me Ishmael. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...says no, which makes James smile. Then, the boys head to Study of Society with Mr. Barker , who’s also the vice principal. Barry is also in this class. When Ishmael and... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...the room and arranges his books and pens. Ishmael stands still, staring at his options—until Mr. Barker tells Ishmael to sit. Ishmael hurries to the seat next to James and gazes at... (full context)
Chapter 14
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Twenty minutes into class, the intercom buzzes for Mr. Barker . Mr. Barker is the person who gets called whenever something happens (usually Bill Kingsley’s... (full context)
Chapter 15
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
As Barry counts, James praises him for being able to count to five without help. Mr. Barker walks in at that moment and asks what’s going on. James tells Mr. Barker that... (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 horror at the bugs, living and dead, all over the room.... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Mr. Barker asks where the insects and spiders came from. Scobie says they came from his desk,... (full context)
Chapter 18
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...he doesn’t know where Scobie went, and she points to the front of the hall. Mr. Barker tells the boys to be quiet and the assembly begins. After the usual speeches by... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Finally, Mr. Barker calls Scobie to speak—about debating. People groan. Scobie takes the mic, stares at his classmates,... (full context)
Chapter 38
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...face, Ishmael rips the certificate out of the desk and says he’s taking it to Mr. Barker —he knows Barry did this, and Barry can’t get away with it. Bill begs Ishmael... (full context)
Chapter 42
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...at Ishmael like he’s daring Ishmael to intervene. Ishmael tries to get Bill to tell Mr. Barker , but Bill refuses. Though Bill insists he’s fine, he looks more and more desperate... (full context)
Chapter 43
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...out, things aren’t going well. Ishmael is buried in homework and studying for exams, and Mr. Barker tells the debating team that they’ll speak at the “end-of-year assembly/mass/prize-giving/speech night/extravaganza thingy.” This event... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...event until the day that Bill presents his final speech in Study of Society with Mr. Barker . Students are supposed to “examine the livability of [their] suburb[s],” and most of the... (full context)
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
...there’s a photo of an overweight woman in a bikini and a warning to whale-watchers. Mr. Barker asks what Bill is doing in a growl. Bill insists this isn’t a joke. But... (full context)
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...him that Barry ruined Bill’s speech. Ishmael insists it won’t do any good to tell Mr. Barker —all it will do is push Barry to torment Bill even more. Ishmael says he... (full context)
Chapter 45
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...listening to the speeches and ceremonies, Ishmael stares at his reading—which isn’t the prayer that Mr. Barker helped him write. It’s a prayer Ishmael wrote. It reads: “Let us pray that Barry... (full context)
Chapter 48
Identity and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Bullying and Courage Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Ishmael desperately needs fresh air. But before he can escape, Mr. Barker asks Ishmael for a word. He says that Scobie’s dad has called, and their concerns... (full context)