The Book “The Island of the Blue Dolphins“ written by Scott O’Dell tells the story about the 12 years old Won-a-pa-lei (the girl with the long black hair) but her secret name was Karana. She lives in a village called Ghalas-at near the Californian coast and her father Chowing is the chief of her tribe. She also has a 6 years old brother called Ramo and a 14 years old sister called Ulape.
One day her brother see a ship comes to the Island. When the ship lands, the chief goes to greet the visitors. These are Aleuts and they come to hunt otter on the island. The chief permits the Aleuts to hunt otter under the condition that they pay half of they profits and with iron spearheads.
After the Aleuts have caught the otter, they would pay for all otter skins with glass beads. Therefore they began to fight. In the end of this fight most of the men and the chief died. The reason for his dead, all now, was, that he told the Aleuts his secret name. A few days later Kimki becomes chief. He was an old man, but with experience of life. He managed it to get food and other things for his people during the winter.
Later he says that there is no future for the people on the island and he will go by boat to the country in the east for getting help. For a long time nothing is heard from him, but in the summer comes a big ship with white men,who say that they are sent by Kimki to fetch them. It is a stormy day and the people hurry up aboard the ship. When they all are on board Karana sees her brother running along the beach. She jumps into the water and swims to him, but meanwhile the ship drives away. Back an the island Ramo and Karana work hard for food, because they don’t know how long they must stay there.
One day Ramo don’t come home from hunting. Therefore Karana goes to search him. When she finds her brother, he is lying dead an the grass, killed by dogs.
Because Ramo was dead she decides to leave her village forever. She burns it down and is living further in a cave.
Since no ship came, she builts a canoe to get off the island. But this failed because the canoe was leaky. She only can use it for fishing.
Thereupon she makes a spear and a bow with arrows, but because she is a girl and had not learnt to make these things, they aren’t very good. In the winter she builds a house where she can live.
Days later Karana decides to kill the dogs, which had killed her brother. She makes fire in front of the dog’s cave and hides the leader of the dogs when it comes out of the cave. But the dog wasn’t dead; so Karana brings it home and names it Rontu.
One day the Aleuts return to Ghalas-at and Karana sets up an new home in a cave to hide herself from them. However one day an Aleut discovers Karana at her house. Although she was distrustful of this girl named Tutok both became close friends. They talk by the fire and tell each other the names of things what they see in each other language.
When the Aleut’ girl left the island, Karana makes her home more comfortable. She makes herself new clothes, finds birds and an otter and keeps these as pets.
One day a ship comes close to the island, but the crew don’t observe her, because it was stormy.
Many years later Rontu dies, but Karana fetches its son (Rontu-Aru) from the dog’s cave.
Eighteen years after the ship had left the island with the people, came another ones. When Karana realizes that, she takes abroad Rontu-Aru and her two birds. She can’t speak because he has forgotten how, but she conversates in sign language.
My personal opinion
I think that the book”The Island of the Blue Dolphins” is a good book for young children, but also for grown-ups.
- The author Scott O’Dell used known historical facts to write this book.
- In historical books the girl is named “The lone women of San Nicolas”.
- She was found 1853 by Peter Gonzales.
- The island still exist.