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Themes

Could you ever be friends with someone who's very different from you? Could you be friends with someone who hurt you? Scott O'Dell thinks both of these things are totally possible – and so do we. Friendship is an important theme in <em>Island of the Blue Dolphins</em> since friendship is presented as the alternative to the cycle of violence and revenge that destroyed the society that once lived on the island. Karana becomes friends with many who should have been her enemies: the dog leader who killed her brother, and Tutok, the Aleutian girl whose people killed Karana's father. Karana is also friends with other animals on the island, which leads her to take a pacifist (anti-violence) view of life. Rather than hunting the animals, she vows to do no harm to the animals on the island.

Questions About Friendship

  1. Why doesn't Chief Chowig believe he can be friends with the Aleuts?
  2. How do Karana and Rontu become friends?     
  3. What's the basis of Karana and Tutok's friendship?
  4. How does Karana's friendship with Mon/Won-a-nee cause a change in the way she acts on the island?
  5. Do you have any animal friends? How does your friendship with animals compare to your friendship with other humans?
  6. Have you ever become friends with someone from a different culture, maybe even someone who spoke a different language? Did you have any misunderstandings? How did you communicate?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Friends can quickly become enemies. And vice versa.

The key to friendship is forgiveness.

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