“Don’t Call Me Ishmael” by Michael Gerard Bauer

Ishmael Leseur is the main character in “Don’t Call Me Ishmael”, a book by Michael Gerard Bauer. He courageously steps up to Year Nine only to be bullied for his name, embarrassed in front of his first love, and to become a complete social outcast. This leads to him naming Year Nine as “the toughest, the weirdest, the most embarrassingly awful and the best year” of his life.

One of the ways Ishmael refers to Year Nine is ‘the toughest year of his life’. Ishmael is bullied by his fellow student and tormentor Barry Bagsley, which affects him greatly throughout the year. Ishmael has to deal with the flow of insults and trouble Barry produces and has his limits tested at many times throughout the year. “I lay awake for hours after that, staring at the ceiling.

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I couldn’t get Barry Bagsley out of my mind. I thought about my life since I had met him. I relived over and over every insult, every push and shove, every taunt, every sneer, every arrogant laugh, every spiteful trick, every put-down, and every lost battle” (Bauer, pg.249,2006). This example indicates as to why Ishmael refers to Year Nine as ‘the toughest year of his life’.

Another way Ishmael refers to Year Nine is ‘the most embarrassing year of his life”. This is because when Ishmael participates as a speaker in his first debate he makes a complete fool of himself. After a last minute call from Scobie, Ishmael has to rush to the first debate he has ever spoken in. Showing up at the scene as a nervous wreck, Ishmael discovers that not only must he speak, but against the team which the love of his life is on.

Whilst speaking Ishmael stutters, stumbles, has a peg with the features of Beatles star ‘Ringo” fall out of his pants, and faints, groping the love of his life Kelly Faulkner on the way down. “The next thing I knew, Prue’s peg person was being swallowed by darkness. I tried to lift my head but my neck had turned to rubber and my legs seemed to have decided that it was time for beddy-byes. Then the whole room turned into a jumping castle and the last thing I saw before I passed out completely was Kelly Faulkner’s face rushing towards me” (Bauer, pg.169, 2006). This example clearly shows the reason Ishmael calls Year Nine ‘the most embarrassing year of his life’.

Ishmael describes Year Nine as ‘the weirdest year of his life’. One of the reasons Ishmael says this is that he has just started to make friends and talk to new people, even joining the debating team. Ishmael has friends he would never normally talk to, he has joined the debating team, which he would never go near, let alone sign up for.

Ishmael has experienced new and unusual events and scenarios where his first instinct is to run and hide, but has gotten past these challenges and is living to tell the tale. “’You what?” “I’ve put you down for the Year Nine debating team,’ he said again, as if he was making some passing comment on the weather. ‘You what!’ I said more loudly, trying to indicate the level to which my hysteria was rocketing.’ (Bauer, pg.111,2006). This example indicates as to why Ishmael has called Year Nine ‘the weirdest year of his life’.

Ishmael calls Year Nine ‘the best year of his life’. This is because he makes falls in love for the first time, and has a teacher he likes. Whilst attending a debating workshop Ishmael spots Kelly Faulkner. He instantly fall head over heels in love and despite embarrassing himself greatly in front of her, manages to make an impression and get her number. “I’m just saying that on the inside she looked all cool, but on the inside she was all drool” (Bauer, pg.232, 2006). Ishmael has a new home class teacher called Ms.Tarango, who he likes very much and says is bubbly, young, beautiful, and actually seemed happy to be here. “She was also bright, friendly, and enthusiastic” (Bauer,pg.22,2006).

In Michael Gerard Bauer’s novel “Don’t Call Me Ishmael”, Ishmael went through being bullied by Barry, feinting in front on his first debate, falling in love for the first time, and making new friends. This results in Ishmael labelling his Year Nine experience as “the toughest, the weirdest, the most embarrassingly awful and the best” year of his life.

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“Don’t Call Me Ishmael” by Michael Gerard Bauer. (2016, Nov 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/dont-call-me-ishmael/