Island of the Blue Dolphins Study Guide

Island of the Blue Dolphins By Scott O'Dell

Wonapalei, whose secret name is Karana, was marooned for 18 years after a Russian ship killed her father, prompting the rest of her village to leave her island entirely. Her brother wasn't on the island when everyone was getting ready to leave; a storm forced the boat to leave with the rest of the villagers regardless. She jumped ship and swam to shore, to meet up with her brother so that they could help one another survive.

She and her brother wait for the ship to return, living a traditional life until he is killed by a pack of feral dogs - at which point Karana is forced to learn the male tasks of spear making, canoe building, and hunting for herself. She kills most of the dogs, but only injures and then adopts the pack's leader, whom she names Rontu, or "Fox Eyes".

Karana builds herself a home, and stocks a cave with emergency provisions should the Russians return. She explores her island and gets to know it intimately. One summer, the Russians return, and Karana hides in her cave. Despite this, she is found and befriends an Aleut woman from the Russian ship. Karana realizes that she really does miss people, but she knows that the Russians are not the right people to reveal herself to.

Time passes on, and so does Rontu. Karana comes across a puppy that looks just like him, and names him Rontu-Aru, or "Son of Fox-Eyes". At last, a different ship comes, and Karana puts on her best clothes to greet them. They dislike it, and make her put on a different dress which she hates, but she accepts it as part of her return to society. The ship takes the grateful Karana and Rontu-Aru to a mission in Santa Barbara.

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