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

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STUDY GUIDE: THE ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS

KEY FACTS

Title
Island of the Blue Dolphins

Author
Scott O’Dell

Date Published
1960

Meaning of the Title
Island of the Blue Dolphins refers to San Nicholas Island, which is 61 miles off the coast of California, near Los Angeles.

Setting
San Nicholas Island, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of California, near Los Angeles, during the years 1835-1853

Genre
Adventure, Historical fiction Island of the Blue Dolphins is a bildungsroman, which is “a novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character.” according to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.


Protagonist
Karana

Antagonist
the Aleuts, the forces of nature

Mood
Stoic when difficulties are described, but overall, happy. Karana has a “cup half full” approach to life which comes across in her telling of the story of her life on the island.

Point of View
First person.

Tense
Past tense

Rising Action
The massacre and the departure of the tribe from the island

Exposition
The time before the massacre.

Climax
The arrival and quick departure of a ship followed several years later by its return.

Outcome
Karana’s rescue

Major Theme
Respect for all life

Minor Themes
Forgive enemies, Adapt to situation, Live and let live

 

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