Study Guide Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell|
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STUDY GUIDE-THE ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS
9. “There was a legend among our people that the island had once
been covered with tall trees. This was a long time ago, at the beginning
of the world when Tumaiyowit and Mukat ruled. The two gods quarreled about
many things. Tumaiyowit wished people to die. Mukat did not. Tumaiyowit
angrily went down, down to another world under this world, taking his
belongings with him, so people die because he did.”
(p. 73) This is a legend that Karana heard when her people were still on the island. Their ancestors for many generations had handed it down from generation to generation.
10. “I am sure that the pack grew bolder because of their leader,
the big one with the thick fur around his neck and the yellow eyes. “I
had never seen this dog before the Aleuts came and no one else had, so
he must have come with them and been left behind when they sailed away.
He was a much larger dog than any of ours, which besides have short hair
and brown eyes. I was sure that he was an Aleut dog.”
(p. 89) Karana describes her enemy, who will soon be her friend. This is the dog that she set out to kill, but could not kill.
11. “On the fourth day when I came back from the rocks early he was not there at the fence waiting. A strange feeling came over me. Always before when I returned, I had hoped that he would be gone. But now as I crawled under the fence I did not feel the same.
“I call out, ‘Dog, Dog,” for I had no other name for him. “I ran toward the house, calling it. He was inside. He was just getting to his feet, stretching himself and yawning. He looked first at the fish I carried and then at me and moved his tail.
“That night I stayed in the house. Before I fell asleep I thought of a name for him, for I could not call him Dog. The name I thought of was Rontu, which means in our language Fox Eyes,”
At this point the relationship between Karana and Rontu becomes permanent.
“I saw two more giant devilfish along the reef that summer, but I did
not try to spear them.”
(p. 121) Karana is developing a new respect for animals. Her respect for animals is starting to include even those who are a danger to her.
12. “... on a deep ledge that ran from one side of the room to the other, my gaze fell upon a row of strange figures. There must have been two dozen of them standing against the black wall. They were as tall as I, with long arms and legs and short bodies made of reeds and clothed in gull feathers. Each one had eyes fashioned of round or oblong disks of abalone shell, but the rest of their faces were blank. The eyes glittered down at me, moved as the light on the water moved and was reflected upon them. They were more alive than the eyes of those who live.
“In the middle of the group was a seated figure, a skeleton. It sat
leaning against the wall with its knees drawn up and in its fingers, which
were raised to its mouth, a flute of pelican bone.”
(p. 124-5) At this time, Karana is in a cave. When she finally gets out of the cave, she decides to never return. As she leaves the cave and decides to never return, she also leaves her former life.
13. “Ulape would have laughed at me, and others would have laughed,
too--my father most of all. Yet this is the way I felt about the animal
who had become my friends and those who were not, but in time could be.
If Ulape and my father had come back and laughed, and all the others had
come back and laughed, still I would have felt the same way, for animals
and birds are like people, too, though they do not talk the same or do
the same things. Without them the earth would be an unhappy place.”
(p. 153) This is where Island of the Blue Dolphins differs from many other adventure stories. It is the story of changing attitudes as well as of adventures. And, the author seems to be voicing his own beliefs about the importance of nature.
14. “Slowly he walked to where I was standing and fell at my feet.
I put my hand on his chest. I could feel his heart beating, but it beat
only twice, very slowly, loud and hollow like the waves on the beach,
and then no more......I buried him on the headland. I dug a hole in the
crevice of the rock, digging for two days from dawn until the going down
of the sun, and put him there with some sand flowers and a stick he liked
to chase when I threw it, and covered him with pebbles of many colors
that I gathered on the shore.”
(p. 156-7) Here Karana describes the death of her beloved friend, Rontu.
15. “For a long time I stood and looked back at the Island of the Blue Dolphins. The last thing I saw of it was the high headland. I thought of Rontu lying there beneath the stones of many colors, and of Won-a-tee, wherever she was, and the little red fox that would scratch in vain at my fence, and my canoe hidden in the cave, and of all the happy days.
Dolphins rose out of the sea and swam before the ship. They swam
for many leagues in the morning through the bright water, weaving their
foamy patterns. The little birds were chirping in their cage and Rontu-Aru
sat beside me.”
(p. 178) This is the end of Karana’s tale. Earlier, she mentioned that dolphins are a good omen. She had positive expectations for her future. And, she had happy memories of her lone life on the island.
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Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on The Island of the Blue Dolphins".
. 09 May 2017