Island of the Blue Dolphins, written by Scott O’Dell, also the author of The Black Pearl and Sing Down the Moon, is based on the true story of a Native American girl living alone on San Nicolas Island off the coast of California in the mid 1800’s. This novel details the challenges she overcomes in learning to survive without her tribe until the day she is rescued from the island.
A photograph believed to be Karana, the Native American woman whose story is told in Island Of The Blue Dolphin.Karana and her brother, Ramo, members of a Native American tribe living on San Nicolas Island off the coast of California in the early to mid 1800’s, are left stranded on the island after their tribe boards a ship with white men for the mainland. Ramo is attacked by wild dogs and dies, leaving Karana alone. Karana learns to make weapons and tools to survive, disregarding tribal laws against women in the tribe doing such things. Throughout the story, Karana adapts new skills and new ways of thinking in order to make her life on the island more acceptable until the day she hopes to be rescued. Overcoming life threatening wild animals, starvation, and natural disasters on the island, Karana becomes a mature young woman with a set of new beliefs, leaving most of the fears and superstitions from her tribe behind her. After a failed attempt to leave the island and journey the mainland on her own, Karana resigns herself to her situation in life and makes the best of it. Using colorful and descriptive imagery, Scott O’Dell paints a picture of life on the island and its surroundings. Using a straightforward writing style suited for his audience and the nature of the story, O’Dell moves from one adventurous event in the story to the next using nature to describe the passage of time and Karana’s experiences.