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Island of the Blue Dolphins

Scott O'Dell

Chapters 18–19

Chapters 16–17

Chapters 20–21

Summary

Birds and flowers are everywhere in spring on the island of the blue dolphins; a pair of birds nest in a tree near Karana's house. She takes two fledglings from their nest and makes a cage for them. When they grow too large for the cage, she clips their wings and lets them loose in the house. When their wings grow back, she clips them again and lets the birds loose in the yard. When they grow in a third time, Karana does not clip them, but the birds never fly away - at least not farther than the ravine. Karana names the larger of the two birds Tainor, after a young man she liked that was killed by the Aleuts; she names the smaller one Lurai, which is the name she would have liked instead of Karana.

During the summer, Karana also makes herself a new skirt and a pair of sandals. She braids her hair (which was singed short as a sign of mourning after the Aleuts attacked but which has now grown long), and wears her new clothes when she walks on the beach. She makes wreaths for herself and for Rontu (though Rontu does not approve of being made to wear a wreath). When the white men do not return in the spring, Karana is not very dissapoined.

Summer comes and Karana his till not been able to spear the giant devilfish. Eventually, she gives up and begins to hunt abalones for the winter. While she is gathering abalones in the coral reef, Karana spots the giant devilfish. Devilfish rarely go into the reef, so Karana is somewhat surprised. She takes aim with her spear, but her throw goes wide. The devilfish prays a cloud of ink, and only then does Karana realize that she actually hit the fish. Karana had attached a sinew line to the spear, and she has the other end tied around her waist. The devilfish is extraordinarily strong, and Karana fear the line will break. She battles the devilfish until she is finally able to wrestle it onto the shore. Once Karana has brought the devilfish onto the land, Rontu attacks it. The devilfish wraps its arms around Rontu, and the two battle on the shore. Karana attacks the devilfish with her spear, and together she and Rontu are able to subdue it. Battered, bruised, and bloodied, Rontu and Karana tread wearily home. Although Karana sees two more giant devilfish that summer, she does not try to spear them

Analysis

Karana acquires two new pets in this section. She wants more friends to talk to, and so decides to tame an animal in the same way she did Rontu. Unlike Rontu, who became domesticated as a side effect of being saved from death, Tainor and Lurai are stolen from their home. Although Karana treats the birds well and eventually lets them fly free around the island, the fact that she steals them from their parents seems sinister. Karana does not see anything wrong with her actions, but her actions demonstrate that Rontu does not satisfy her need for companionship. When the white men's ship does not return in the spring, Karana is not disappointed.

Karana demonstrates a growing satisfaction with her life on the island as well as a return to the kind of life she lead before she was stranded alone on Ghalas-at. She makes herself a new wardrobe and wears it, just for the sake of looking nice. This is somewhat like the actions of her older sister, Ulape, who Karana once called "vain" because she wanted to take two boxes of earrings with her as she left Ghalas-at. Now Karana, who is at the age Ulape was when she left the island, enjoys looking pretty, "just to be dressed up," even though there is no one around to see her. Recalling Ulape, Karana's actions are understandable for someone her age, and show that she is starting to return to a somewhat normal existence.

Karana's pursuit of leisure activities creates trouble in chapter nineteen. Spearing the giant devilfish had been a hobby of hers for the last few chapters, but when she finally gets her opportunity, the result is not what she had hoped. She never tries to spear on of these fish again. The spear Karana made to catch the devilfish was the only weapon she made without mentioning qualms regarding the laws of her people that forbid women to make weapons. Although Karana seems to have disregarded such superstition, her disastrous battle with the devilfish could be considered a punishment for her violation of tribal law. Karana's actions demonstrate that she is wise and knows when a job is too tough to handle; she is not reckless, and avoids going after devilfish from then on.

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island of the blue dolphin

by adambob12, February 15, 2013

i love the book it is awesome I'm on chapter 16 it is the besy book better

1 Comments

15 out of 26 people found this helpful

May need to know..

by HCW10, January 02, 2014

There are some other important notes my Language Art teacher thinks we should know...There was good fortune when the fish washed up on shore to feed them and when Wana-a-pa-le got upset about them killing the otters...this might help a little but otherwise it explains a lot already.

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4 out of 4 people found this helpful

Island of the Blue Dolphins

by note3, February 20, 2014

i hate this our teacher just assigned us this omg i hate this

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4 out of 12 people found this helpful

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