For many days Karana stayed in the village, leaving only to obtain more food. Then, suddenly she decided to leave the village permanently. She burned the houses one by one, making a change of plans impossible. She moved to a safe place on a headland. There was a very large rock there where she could safely sleep. The dogs could not reach her when she was on the rock.
Karana was not concerned with storing food because she believed that the ship which took her friends away would return for her. Instead of food, she was interested in weapons for the time when she would kill all the dogs. First she tried to find weapons that the men had made and left. She knew that women were not supposed to make weapons. She feared that, if she disobeyed the law of Ghalas-at, the weapons she made would fail her.
When she could find no abandoned weapons, she remembered the chest that the Aluets had left. Perhaps there were weapons in the chest. She discovered that it was covered by sand. She uncovered it. She took the jewelry out and put it on. She liked the way that it looked on her, but the memory of that terrible day kept her from enjoying it. Finally, she threw all the jewelry into the deep water. She did not find any weapons with the jewelry.
Karana gave up the search for weapons. But, one night the wild dogs
came to the rock where she slept. Then, they returned the following night.
Karana began thinking about making weapons herself. She wondered if she
would be able to successfully use weapons that she herself made. There
seemed to be no other choice. It took her many tries to make usable weapons.
She had seen them made by the men in the village, but had paid scant attention.
At that time, she had known that it was not something she would be allowed
to do. But, finally she had a usable bow and arrows. She carried them
in a sling everywhere she went.
Assigning some tasks to men and others to women seems like a good idea for the village in the past, but, such restrictions were not of value in Karana's situation.
Here is another example of a situation where women had to do jobs that
were considered to be for men: In the pioneer days in America, women at
times had to do all the work on the land while the men were away hunting
or working somewhere for wages.
Seasons passed and slowly Karana realized that the ship would not be returning to her. Loneliness overtook her. Karana decided to take a canoe and travel to the place to which Kimki had traveled the place from which their ancestors had come. She went to where the canoes were stored and found that they were still stocked with provisions. She decided to take the smallest canoe because it would be the easiest to handle, the easiest to maneuver into the water. She filled the water basket with fresh water.
As soon as she had the canoe in the water, she left on her voyage. Karana
removed the water that splashed into the canoe. But, after a while she
noticed that water was getting into the canoe through a hole in it. Then
she noticed another hole. She was still closer to her island than she
was to her destination. She decided to go back. A swarm of dolphins followed
Karana as she returned to the island. This made her happy because dolphins,
to her, were a good sign. As morning came she saw the island before her.
Before noon she was home, lying on the sand.
Karana was brave to consider setting out in a canoe and traveling so far. And, she was wise to return when returning was the better choice.
Cite this page:
Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on The Island of the Blue Dolphins".
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