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Island of the Blue Dolphins

Key Facts

Main ideas Key Facts

full title · Island of the Blue Dolphins

author · Scott O'Dell

type of work · Novel

genre · Historical Fiction

language · English, with a few references to Native American languages

time and place written · Written in 1960, mostly in California

date of first publicaton · 1960

publisher · Bantam Doubleday Dell

narrator · Karana (a.k.a. Won-a-pa-lei)

climax · The white men rescue Karana from the island.

protagonist · Karana

antaonist · None

setting (time) · 1835–1853

setting (place) · Ghalas-at, an island off the coast of California, also known as San Nicolas

point of view · The novel is written only from Karana's point of view (first person)

falling action · The arrival of the white men on Ghalas-at

tesnse · Past

foreshadowing · Island of the Blue Dolphins does not rely heavily on foreshadowing. The most prominent case occurs at the beginning of the novel, where Chowig's attitude suggests past difficulties with the Aleuts. A disastrous battle between Karana's people and the Aleuts follows.

tone · Very frank and matter of fact. Narrative voice is flowing and very metaphorically expressive.

themes · Forgiveness and trust; loneliness and companionship; moral development; survival and resilience

motifs · Repetition of events; personification of animals and inanimate objecets; use of metaphors and similies

symbols · Dolphins; Karana's secret name; the mark of maidenhood; Tumaiyowit and the underworld