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FREE BOOKNOTES - ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS
The inhabitants of the island were able to pack their things before boarding the ship. No longer was there a need to flee immediately with nothing except the provisions they had already put in the canoes. As they prepared to leave, Ulape took time to draw a blue mark across her nose and cheekbones. This signaled that she was unmarried.
As they boarded the ship, Karana lost her brother, Ramo. She was assured that he had already boarded ahead of her, but, once onboard, she could not find him. In a panic, she sighted him on shore. He had gone back to get his spear, the one for which Karana had already refused to let him return. As the ship pulled out, she jumped overboard. Those around her could not restrain her. In the ocean, she let go of the precious items she had chosen to bring with her. She had to do so because she could not carry them and swim to shore. As she swam she was filled with plans to punish Ramo, but when she reached him, the plans were forgotten.
At this point, being left behind seemed terrible, but it was assumed that someone would return for them. Karana and Ramo did not think that they were simply left there.
At the end of the book, when the white men return for Karana, she too puts a blue line across her nose and cheekbones.
When Karana and Ramo reached the site of the village, they heard the wild dogs who were having a feast on the food remains that had been left behind by the villagers. The dogs had eaten so much that there was barely enough for a meal for the two of them. The next night the dogs returned.
Ramo asked when the ship would return. Karana knew that it would take days for it to reach the land where Kimki waited and return. Ramo said that he was now Chief of Ghalas-at and must be obeyed. Karana reminded him of the rites of manhood that he must first endure. Ramo became pale at the thought and Karana reminded him that there were no longer any men to give the rites. Ramo gave himself a new name. He called himself Chief Tanyositlopai.
The following morning when Karana awoke Ramo was gone. She assumed that he had gone to where the canoes were. Later that day, she heard the wild dogs barking and went toward the sound. She found the lifeless body of her young brother. Nearby were two dog bodies, one with Ramo's spear in its side. She carried his body back to the village. The dogs followed her to the village, then, when she picked up a club, they left for their lair. She followed them and, after they entered the lair, she put brush in front of the entrance and set it on fire, but there was not enough available brush to do what she wanted to do. Later that night, when she could not sleep, she planned how she would someday kill the dogs, all of them.
This chapter gives us a good illustration of how a desire for revenge can overtake anyone.
For many days Karana stayed in the village, leaving only to obtain more food. Then, suddenly she decided to leave the village permanently. She burned the houses one by one, making a change of plans impossible. She moved to a safe place on a headland. There was a very large rock there where she could safely sleep. The dogs could not reach her when she was on the rock.
Karana was not concerned with storing food because she believed that the ship which took her friends away would return for her. Instead of food, she was interested in weapons for the time when she would kill all the dogs. First she tried to find weapons that the men had made and left. She knew that women were not supposed to make weapons. She feared that, if she disobeyed the law of Ghalas-at, the weapons she made would fail her.
When she could find no abandoned weapons, she remembered the chest that the Aluets had left. Perhaps there were weapons in the chest. She discovered that it was covered by sand. She uncovered it. She took the jewelry out and put it on. She liked the way that it looked on her, but the memory of that terrible day kept her from enjoying it. Finally, she threw all the jewelry into the deep water. She did not find any weapons with the jewelry.
Karana gave up the search for weapons. But, one night the wild dogs came to the rock where she slept. Then, they returned the following night. Karana began thinking about making weapons herself. She wondered if she would be able to successfully use weapons that she herself made. There seemed to be no other choice. It took her many tries to make usable weapons. She had seen them made by the men in the village, but had paid scant attention. At that time, she had known that it was not something she would be allowed to do. But, finally she had a usable bow and arrows. She carried them in a sling everywhere she went.
Assigning some tasks to men and others to women seems like a good idea for the village in the past, but, such restrictions were not of value in Karana's situation.
Here is another example of a situation where women had to do jobs that were considered to be for men: In the pioneer days in America, women at times had to do all the work on the land while the men were away hunting or working somewhere for wages.Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version