Island of the Blue Dolphins
Important Quotations Explained
I felt as if I had been gone a long time as I stood there looking down from the high rock. I was happy to be home. Everything I saw - the otter playing in the kelp, the rings of foam around the rocks guarding the harbor, the gulls flying, the tides moving past the sandspit - filled me with happiness.
Below me, Rontu was running along the cliff barking at the screaming gulls. Pelicans were chattering as they fished the blue water. Far off I could hear the bellow of a sea elephant. But suddenly, as I thought of Tutok, the island seemed very quiet.
Ulape would have laughed at me, and others would have laughed, too - my father most of all. Yes this is the way I felt about the animals 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 wouldhave 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.
Until that summer, I had kept count of all the moons since the time my brother and I were alone on the island. For each one that came and went I cut a mark in a pole beside the door of my house. There were many marks, from the roof to the floor. But after that summer I did not cut them any more. The passing of the moons now had come to mean little, and I only made marks to count the four seasons of the year. The last year I did not count those.
Now that the white men had come back, I could not think of what I would do when I went across the sea, or make picture in my mind of the white men and what they did there, or see my people who had been gone so long. Nor, thinking of the past, of the many summers and winters and springs that had gone, could I see each of them. They were all one, a tight feeling in my breast and nothing more.