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Free Online Notes-Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell-Synopsis/Analysis
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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.

Protagonist: Karana

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?

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