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Island of the Blue Dolphins
Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O'Dell
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Island of the Blue Dolphins Theme of Isolation

The idea of "alone time" takes on a whole new meaning when you're stranded on a desert island. No one knows this better than Karana, the heroine of Island of the Blue Dolphins. Karana's entire village ships off to the mainland, leaving her and her little brother behind. Then, when a pack of dogs kills her brother, she's all by herself on the lonely island.

Or is she? One of the many lessons Karana learns during her time on the island is that she can find many friends in nature. She makes peace with the dog that killed her brother and names him Rontu. She also makes friends with an otter she names Mon-a-nee. Even though Karana finds companionship in nature, the novel doesn’t forget the importance of human connection. Karana still misses her sister, Ulape, and Tutok, her Aleutian friend. One of the lessons the novel highlights is the importance of human companionship.

Questions About Isolation

  1. Why is Ramo glad that he and his sister are the only ones left on the island?
  2. Why doesn't Karana try to leave the island by herself a second time? Why does she wait for the white men to show up?
  3. Why does Karana miss Tutok?
  4. Why does Karana tame Rontu's son?
  5. Can animals provide good enough company so a person won't miss other people?

Chew on This

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

Human connection protects us from feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Isolation is only negative when thought of that way. Being alone can be a good thing.

Next Page: Foreignness and 'the Other'
Previous Page: Friendship

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