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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 - ONLINE SUMMARY NOTES

CHAPTER 19

Summary

Karana and Rontu went to gather abalones on the reef. After they had gathered enough to fill the bottom of the canoe, they went fishing. Then, Rontu spotted the giant devilfish that Karana had promised herself she would catch. By now she had fashioned the proper equipment, so she was ready for the encounter. But, while she was eventually able to kill the devilfish, she was not able to get him out of the water. By the time he was dead, her strength was gone. She was exhausted. At the end of the chapter, Karana says that this was the last devilfish that she tried to spear.

Notes

Karana is changing. She is turning against killing.

CHAPTER 20

Summary

Someone arriving on the island who saw the area around Karana's house might think that a whole village lived there. There were many abalones laid out to dry. And there were many small fish, the ones that Karana used for light, hanging to dry.

Another item that Karana gathered was cormorants. She killed and skinned them for their feathers. Karana needed their feathers to make herself a skirt.

Karana and Rontu were alerted to the existence of a cave when she noticed a sea hawk flying out of it one day when they were in the canoe. Without the sea hawk, the cave would have remained unnoticed because the opening was small. They entered and found a skeleton sitting and playing a flute made of pelican bone. Karana knew that the skeleton belonged to one of her ancestors. As they explored the cave, the water rose. They discovered that the water was too high. They could not exit the cave. They remained in the cave all night.


Through the night they were able to glimpse stars as they passed by a crevice overhead. In the morning, Karana vowed that she would never return to the cave, which she gave the name, Black Cave.

One day, as they were returning from Tall Rock with cormorant skins, after Karana hid the canoe and climbed the cliff, Karana saw what appeared to be the Aleut ship returning. She packed what she would need to take to the cave in which she planned to hide. She went to the headland and saw for sure that the ship belonged to the Aleuts. She spent the night moving her things and then making her living area appear as though no one lived there. She returned to the headland to observe once more. She saw a girl with the Aleuts. She was cooking.

Karana and Rontu went to the cave. She had to enter and leave several times before she could get Rontu to enter. Because she had been up all night, she slept there in the cave all day.

Notes

In the first part of the story, when Ulape told the village that she saw a girl with the Aleuts, no one believed her. Now that Karana also sees a girl with the Aleuts, it seems that Ulape was indeed telling the truth.

CHAPTER 21

Summary

Karana was happy to know that the Aleuts did not bring their dogs with them this time. It would have been easy for them to follow Rontu's scent and find him and Karana. But there was still the girl to be concerned about. She would be searching for roots and seeds and stumble upon the cave.

At first, Karana spent the days in the cave sewing her cormorant skirt by the light of the little fish lamps. But, when there were no more fish to burn and she could not harvest more, she began to sew outside. One day, as she was sewing, the Aleut girl found her. At first there was a misunderstanding between the two women. Karana thought that the Aleut was claiming Rontu as her own, but, when Karana threatened her with her spear, the Aleut indicated that she knew that Rontu belonged to Karana. Then she told Karana that her name was Tutok. Her attention turned to the cormorant skirt that was in Karana's hands. Karana allowed her to hold the skirt up to herself. Tutok liked the way it looked. Then, she asked Karana if she lived in the nearby cave. She did not want to admit that she did and, instead, indicated that she lived on the far end of the island. This conversation took place between two people who did not speak each other's language. The last thing that Tutok did before disappearing was to take a drink from the spring.

Karana did not like Tutok. She was of the people who had killed her people. She prepared to move from the cave. She did not want to be there when the hunters returned and heard about her from Tutok. When she returned to the cave for another load, she found a necklace by the entrance. It had been left by Tutok, who was no longer nearby.

Notes

This was the first time that Karana was careless of her safety. She knew that the girl had reasons to wander the island. The girl would be interested in finding roots and seeds. But, Karana could not wait to finish her cormorant skirt. Once she ran out of small fish to burn, and could no longer sew in the cave, she endangered herself by sewing outside the cave in the daylight.

At first, Tutok claimed that Rontu was her dog. He was originally left on the island. Ulape had seen a girl on the island with the Aleuts. Could Tutok be that girl and could Rontu really be her dog?

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