Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O'Dell
Island of the Blue Dolphins Chapter 21 Summary
- Karana leaves the cave at night to climb a high rock, so she can watch the Aleut fires. She doesn't fear the Aleuts so much as the girl with them. What if the girl finds the ravine? And the spring? Karana has no other choice but to stay put.
- Over the next several days, Rontu and Karana collect food: abalones at night and roots during the day. They don't see the Aleuts.
- During this time, Karana begins making a fancy new skirt from those cormorant feathers. She sews carefully to make the skirt as elegant and beautiful as possible.
- As the days pass, Karana begins to feel safe knowing that the Aleuts will be leaving soon. One day, she takes the skirt outside so she can see it in the sun.
- All of a sudden, Rontu is on his feet. Karana looks up and sees the Aleut girl. Ack.
- Karana thinks of grabbing her spear and throwing it, but she doesn't. And she doesn't exactly know why.
- The girl calls for Rontu and the dog goes to her. Apparently this is Rontu's old owner.
- Karana cries out "No" but the Aleut girl makes a motion indicating that Rontu now belongs to Karana.
- The girl points to herself and says "Tutok." (21.23). Karana doesn't say her name. She calls Rontu back. The girl smiles with white teeth.
- The girl points at the skirt and says "wintscha," a word that sounds like the word for pretty (21.26). The girl approaches and touches the skirt and says "wintscha" again. Karana lets the girl hold the skirt.
- The girl says more things Karana can't understand, and motions at the cave. These motions work. Does Karana live there? Karana pretends not to get what she's asking, and points to the far end of the island.
- The girl touches Karana's arm. She speaks, smiles, and then drinks from the spring. She walks away noiselessly.
- That night, Karana packs all of her things to move to the western part of the island. Once she has all of her baskets hidden, though, she returns to the cave. She realizes that someone has been there.
- In front of the cave, on the step, is "a necklace of black stones of a kind I had never seen" (21.40).
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