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Study Guide Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

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This chapter describes the hunt for sea otters. Karana thought of the otters as her friends and did not like the idea of trading their lives for things, even for beautiful or useful things.

The chief told Karana that soon the hunters would be leaving. He had some of the young men staying near the ship on the pretense of building a canoe. There were others watching the ship and the hunters from a longer distance also. Karana's little brother, Ramo, saw the ship captain having his beard trimmed. Everyone waited and wondered when they would leave and whether there would be trouble.


Karana seems to mirror the author's beliefs regarding respect for nature.

The Indians were taking a chance waiting until the hunters were ready to depart before expecting to receive what they were owed.



A description of the weather leads to the conclusion that a storm would soon strike. A storm with rain and wind did strike later that day. But first, a different kind of storm struck, a storm of human violence.

The tribe learned that the ship was preparing to leave immediately. The people hurried to Coral Cove, as they had done on the day the ship arrived. Again the men had their weapons. The women hid and watched. Chief Chowig and Captain Orlov talked. The captain was not willing to give the tribe what the chief considered to be fair. The villagers were given one chest of necklaces. The chief thought that three more chests would be fair.

The captain yelled orders. Were they orders to bring more chests? Observation told the chief that they were orders to board immediately, not to unload more chests. A fight ensued. When it was over some of the hunters were dead and many of the tribe were dead. Some men of the tribe were also injured. Among the dead was Karana's father.

That night those who remained agreed with Karana that her father should not have told the captain his secret name. It had weakened him.


When the author says that a storm is coming, he is foreshadowing the fight between the ship's crew and the islanders.

The subject of the importance of one’s secret name resurfaces in chapter 22.


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Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on The Island of the Blue Dolphins". . 09 May 2017