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

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Karana was happy to know that the Aleuts did not bring their dogs with them this time. It would have been easy for them to follow Rontu's scent and find him and Karana. But there was still the girl to be concerned about. She would be searching for roots and seeds and stumble upon the cave.

At first, Karana spent the days in the cave sewing her cormorant skirt by the light of the little fish lamps. But, when there were no more fish to burn and she could not harvest more, she began to sew outside. One day, as she was sewing, the Aleut girl found her. At first there was a misunderstanding between the two women. Karana thought that the Aleut was claiming Rontu as her own, but, when Karana threatened her with her spear, the Aleut indicated that she knew that Rontu belonged to Karana. Then she told Karana that her name was Tutok. Her attention turned to the cormorant skirt that was in Karana's hands. Karana allowed her to hold the skirt up to herself. Tutok liked the way it looked. Then, she asked Karana if she lived in the nearby cave. She did not want to admit that she did and, instead, indicated that she lived on the far end of the island. This conversation took place between two people who did not speak each other's language. The last thing that Tutok did before disappearing was to take a drink from the spring.

Karana did not like Tutok. She was of the people who had killed her people. She prepared to move from the cave. She did not want to be there when the hunters returned and heard about her from Tutok. When she returned to the cave for another load, she found a necklace by the entrance. It had been left by Tutok, who was no longer nearby.


This was the first time that Karana was careless of her safety. She knew that the girl had reasons to wander the island. The girl would be interested in finding roots and seeds. But, Karana could not wait to finish her cormorant skirt. Once she ran out of small fish to burn, and could no longer sew in the cave, she endangered herself by sewing outside the cave in the daylight.

At first, Tutok claimed that Rontu was her dog. He was originally left on the island. Ulape had seen a girl on the island with the Aleuts. Could Tutok be that girl and could Rontu really be her dog?



Karana left the cave and the necklace and did not sleep near there that night. Instead, she slept on the headlands, which seemed safer.

The next morning she went to where she could watch the cave entrance and waited. Tutok returned, singing. When she did not find Karana, she left. Karana ran after her. She put on the necklace that Tutok had left the previous night. They both admired the necklace as they had admired the cormorant skirt. Then they told each other the names of things in their surroundings. Tutok wanted to know Karana's name. Karana told her that her name was Won-a-pa-lei. She did not let her know her secret name.

After Tutok left, Karana moved back into the cave. Again, she felt that the cave was safe. The following day, Tutok returned and they had a long visit, although time flew for them. That day Karana told Tutok her secret name. And, that night she began making a gift for Tutok.

There were many visits. Then, one day Tutok did not come. This made Karana uneasy. She feared that the Aleut men would come to the cave. Again, she moved out of the cave and observed the entrance to the cave from a hidden spot.

Finally, Karana went to a place where she could see the ship, if it was still there. She found that it was there, but she could see that the Aleuts were preparing to leave.

When Karana again observed the site of the ship, it was gone. She was happy that she could again wander the island unafraid, but she was also sad because her friend was gone.


Karana’s trust of Tutok developed over time. At first Karana did not want to stay in the cave because of fear that the other Aleuts might find out from Tutok that she was there. And, she did not want to tell Tutok her secret name. Then, one night Karana felt safe enough to stay overnight in the cave. The next day, she told Tutok her secret name.



After the hunters left, Karana found a wounded otter. She began to care for it and nursed it back to health. The otter became her friend and she gave it a name, Mon-a-nee, meaning "Little Boy with Large Eyes." When a time came that several days in a row she was unable to catch fish for Mon-a-nee, he left. Karana could not find him because it was impossible to distinguish him from the other otters.

Karana , after much searching, found stones to make earrings that matched the necklace that she had received from Tutok. Then, much work was required to sand them and to put holes in them. Finally, they were ready. Karana walked the island wearing her cormorant skirt with her necklace and earrings, Rontu at her side and thoughts of Tutok on her mind.


Karana seems to be lonelier after her time with Tutok than she was before Tutok arrived on the island.


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