Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Island of the blue dolphins (Survival)

Because Karana's story spans eighteen years, we are able to watch her personal and moral growth. As the only human on the island of he blue dolphins, Karana is left to develop her own moral code. We know that Karana cares deeply for others even at the very beginning of the novel, as is demonstrated when she plunges into the sea to go back to the island for her brother. Later, she is faced with different types of decisions. Faced with the necessity of hunting and defending herself from the wild dogs, Karana need to make weapons, something that the laws of her tribe forbid women to do. The stories say that weapons made by women will break just when one needs them most. After long deliberation, however, Karana decides to make a set of weapons for herself, and soon realizes that the old tales were false. Later in the novel, after Karana has befriended a number of the animals of the island, she decides for herself that she will never again kill any of these animals. This is a significant decision, because she is dependant on a number of these animals for material. However, she considers animals to be very much like people, even though they do not talk. She knows that her tribesmen would consider her resolution ridiculous, but her animal friends are so important to her that she cannot bear to kill them.It is the 1800s and Karana, an Indian girl, lives with her tribe on a warm island called the Island of the Blue Dolphins. The lives of the people in her tribe are mostly peaceful, but over the years they have had some problems. A group of Russians occasionally comes to their island to camp and hunt the otter that live right off the coast. The last time they came, they treated the people of the island badly. Now Karana is twelve and her father is the chief of their tribe and the Russians have come again to hunt. They promise things will be better this time and Karana's father reluctantly agrees to let them stay and hunt, for a price. At the end of their time hunting, though, the Russians try to get away without paying the fair price for the otter they have hunted. A battle ensues, and most of the men of the tribe, including Karana's father, are killed before the Russians get away. When the rest of Karana's tribe leaves to find help, Karana finds herself in a position where she has to fight to survive until someone returns for her. I liked Karana's determination to stay alive and the fact that she never gave up, even when she worried the ship would never come back for her. Some parts of this book got boring, though, especially when long stretches of time passed when nothing new was happening. Karana spent a lot of time gathering food, which wasn't very exciting.

links: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/dolphins/terms/charanal_1.html