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Elaine Dane Ladesma

By Elaine-Dane-Ladesma Feb 27, 2014 736 Words


Michael Gerard Bauer dealt with a topic that relates to the age group I’m in now. “Don’t Call Me Ishmael” was written about teen hood: Bullying, coping, low self esteem, self consciousness, the list could go on and St Daniels College is the place where it all happens. Ishmael is a fourteen year old boy who goes through the problems that I see teens face every day. His mates are nonetheless social outcasts themselves. All the characters in Bauer’s book deals with their own individual problems.One of Ishmael’s first and foremost problems is having a bully like Barry Bagsley. Ishmael is constantly targeted by Barry Bagsley and his gang of tormenting delinquents. I mean, what makes Ishmael stick out so much that he is teased and constantly picked on? Throughout the novel Barry insults and discourages Ishmael, ““Ishmael? What kind of wussy crap name is that?”(pg 18) and “Hey, what stinks? Oh no! It’s Fishtail Le Sewer!”(pg 19) Insults like these are the reason Ishmael feels so self conscious about him and well, ‘crap’. Ishmael never participated in other activities other than going to school because he knows that Barry Bagsley would be waiting to torment him.One of Bill Kingsley’s problems is being judged too quickly. Students see him as none other than the overweight sci-fi freak that you should keep your distance from. People pay him out whenever he exclaims a geeky comment or looks at his appearance, “… I have to look at all that blubber all the time and it puts me off my lunch… when he walks around I can’t do my school work because the whole building shakes, and he’s always knocking my desk trying to squeeze all that lard down the aisle and his fat arse is always blocking out my view…” (pg214) or just does something out of the ordinary. Bill also gets his case of bullying from none other than Barry Bagsley himself. Bill deals with this by not showing his emotions or not having the courage to stand up to Barry, “Look, Bagsley will get sick of it after a while. Forget it-I’m fine.”(pg238)One of James Scobie’s problems is that he expresses his thoughts too much. He had a tumour operation and that caused him to lose one of his emotions, ‘Fear’. “This was the result of removing a brain tumour…” (pg74) People offend him, tease him, and do other things a normal person couldn’t handle and all Scobie does is well… chat back at them in an ‘extended vocabulary.’ He stands up to Barry Bagsley, “Look… I’m sure you are very tough and brave – after all, you do have to look at yourself in the mirror every day…”, “Perhaps I should be afraid of you, because if it’s true as they say ‘a little knowledge is dangerous’, then I suppose that you must be lethal…” (pg73) I guess it’s not such a bad thing having no fear but I’m sure the people around him carry all his fear during this time.Finally, one of Barry Bagsley’s main problems is his insecurity. His low self esteem affects his attitude around his peers, so he deals with it by making their life a living hell. I personally think that everyone in his town has or is a victim of his bullying acts. “Hey, what’s that stink? Is that you, Le Sewer, or has Rat Boy there just shat in his pants?”(pg67) and, “Mate if I wanted to, I could snap you in half like a pretzel. So if you’re not afraid like you say, you should be.” Nonetheless, all this is just an act to cover up being insecure. Ishmael figures this out and right before he reveals it to the world, he doesn’t… because he knows he is personally satisfied. Unlike Barry Bagsley, Ishmael knows when to stop.All the characters in ‘Don’t call me Ishmael’ face the daily challenges of teen hood. Some were able to overcome their own problems while others, well, let’s just say they have a lot more growing up to do. This book is all relevant to us. I mean, it’s all a part of growing up and I guess unlike games, this is something you can’t cheat through. 706 words

By Elaine Dane F. Ladesma

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