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 Island of the Blue Dolphins 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.
Friends can quickly become enemies. And vice versa.
The key to friendship is forgiveness.