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

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Karana and Rontu went to gather abalones on the reef. After they had gathered enough to fill the bottom of the canoe, they went fishing. Then, Rontu spotted the giant devilfish that Karana had promised herself she would catch. By now she had fashioned the proper equipment, so she was ready for the encounter. But, while she was eventually able to kill the devilfish, she was not able to get him out of the water. By the time he was dead, her strength was gone. She was exhausted. At the end of the chapter, Karana says that this was the last devilfish that she tried to spear.


Karana is changing. She is turning against killing.



Someone arriving on the island who saw the area around Karana's house might think that a whole village lived there. There were many abalones laid out to dry. And there were many small fish, the ones that Karana used for light, hanging to dry.

Another item that Karana gathered was cormorants. She killed and skinned them for their feathers. Karana needed their feathers to make herself a skirt.

Karana and Rontu were alerted to the existence of a cave when she noticed a sea hawk flying out of it one day when they were in the canoe. Without the sea hawk, the cave would have remained unnoticed because the opening was small. They entered and found a skeleton sitting and playing a flute made of pelican bone. Karana knew that the skeleton belonged to one of her ancestors. As they explored the cave, the water rose. They discovered that the water was too high. They could not exit the cave. They remained in the cave all night.

Through the night they were able to glimpse stars as they passed by a crevice overhead. In the morning, Karana vowed that she would never return to the cave, which she gave the name, Black Cave.

One day, as they were returning from Tall Rock with cormorant skins, after Karana hid the canoe and climbed the cliff, Karana saw what appeared to be the Aleut ship returning. She packed what she would need to take to the cave in which she planned to hide. She went to the headland and saw for sure that the ship belonged to the Aleuts. She spent the night moving her things and then making her living area appear as though no one lived there. She returned to the headland to observe once more. She saw a girl with the Aleuts. She was cooking.

Karana and Rontu went to the cave. She had to enter and leave several times before she could get Rontu to enter. Because she had been up all night, she slept there in the cave all day.


In the first part of the story, when Ulape told the village that she saw a girl with the Aleuts, no one believed her. Now that Karana also sees a girl with the Aleuts, it seems that Ulape was indeed telling the truth.


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