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ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS
IMPORTANT / KEY FACTS SUMMARY
Title: Island of the Blue Dolphins
Author: Scott O’Dell
Date Published: 1960
Meaning of the Title: Island of the Blue Dolphins refers to San Nicholas Island, which is 61 miles off the coast of California, near Los Angeles.
Setting: San Nicholas Island, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of California, near Los Angeles, during the years 1835-1853
Genre: Adventure, Historical fiction. Island of the Blue Dolphins is a bildungsroman, which is “a novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character.” according to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.
Antagonist: the Aleuts, the forces of nature
Mood: Stoic when difficulties are described, but overall, happy. Karana has a “cup half full” approach to life which comes across in her telling of the story of her life on the island.
Point of View: First person.
Tense: Past tense.
Rising Action: The massacre and the departure of the tribe from the island
Exposition: The time before the massacre
Climax: The arrival and quick departure of a ship followed several years later by its return
Outcome: Karana’s rescue
Major Theme: Respect for all life
Minor Themes: Forgive enemies, Adapt to situation, Live and let live
STUDY QUESTIONS / QUIZ
1. What was the nationality of the captain of the Aleut ship?
2. What is your opinion of Chief Chowig’s negotiations with the ship’s captain? If you had to negotiate as Chief Chowig did, what would you say to the captain?
3. What has happened to Karana’s mother?
4. How old is Ramo?
5. Is Ulape older or younger than Karana?
6. After the death of his father, who cares for Ramo?
7. Why does Karana hate the wild dogs?
8. Why does Karana hesitate to make and use weapons?
9. Why does Karana return instead of complete her journey by canoe?
10. When does Karana decide to make a permanent home on the island?
11. What does Karana use to build a protective fence around her home?
12. What does she use to build the home?
13. What is Karana’s secret name?
14. Who was Mukat?
15. What was the name of the island to which some in the tribe wanted to travel shortly after the massacre?Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version