Skip to Main Content

Westcourt iCentre: English - Novel Study 'Don't Call me Ishmael'

Middle & Senior School Library Home

Novel Study - Don't Call me Ishmael

In Term Three, English students will complete a novel study of Don’t call me Ishmael, by Michael Gerard Bauer. Students will respond to the representations of teenagers in society, and the subsequent influence of language on teen identity through poetry. This unit provides opportunities for students to develop skills in empathising the views, emotions and reactions of others by identifying with personalities or characteristics of people in a given situation, interrelating themes and issues, and justifying positions with sound reasons or evidence.

About the Author

Michael Gerard Bauer was born and lives in Brisbane Australia . He worked as an English/Economics teacher but is now a full time writer.  His first book,  The Running Man was published to great acclaim. It subsequently won the 2005 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year for Older Readers. 

Watch this interview with Michael.

You can read more about Michael on his blog here.  You can also read his other 'Ishmael' books too.   

If you liked 'Don't Call me Ishmael', you'll love...

 Other young adult and children’s novels that tackle similar themes of bullying, difference, and friendship include Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, and Wonder by R. J. Palacio.

Within the novel, Scobie also reads from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, and the debating team mentions J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. 


About the Book - Don't Call Me Ishmael

You can LISTEN to the audio version here:

This classic book told by Herman Melville is a timeless epic. A thrilling tale of vengeance and obsession by Captain Ahab's quest for the white whale, Moby Dick.  

You can WATCH the movie version here

Key Themes

Identity and Coming of Age
Bullying and Courage
The Power of Language



Link to all lessons in Education Perfect Lessons. Each week, teachers will assign to their respective classes. 



Librivox makes all books in the public domain available as audiobooks. It's free!

Who was Ishmael

Ishmael is the narrator of Herman Melville's classic novel, Moby Dick. A naive young sailor, Ishmael joins the crew of the whaling vessel, Pequod, captained by the maniacal Captain Ahab. Ahab is obsessed with finding and killing Moby Dick, an enormous white whale who ate his leg years earlier. Ahab's single-minded thirst for revenge dooms the crew and himself.

The first line of the book - "Call me Ishmael" - is one of the most famous opening lines in literature.

Ishmael is named after the son of Abraham in the Bible and, like his namesake, he represents the outcast.