Island of the Blue Dolphins
Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
The two fighters paused, getting ready for a new attack. It was a good chance to send an arrow into the young bull, who lay on his back with his teeth still grasping the other's neck. But I hoped that he would win the battle, and I stood there and did not move. (13.20)
Karana rarely steps into the interactions of the animals or uses violence to stop their fighting. She lets things play out as they would have if she were not there. Why do you think that is? What does that say about Karana's relationship with nature? Is this the way you act? For example, have you ever had a pet cat that caught a bird? What did you do?
Why I did not send the arrow I cannot say. I stood on the rock with the bow pulled back and my hand would not let it go. The big dog lay there and did not move and this may be the reason. If he had gotten up I would have killed him. I stood there for a long time looking down at him and then I climbed off the rocks.
He did not move when I went up to him, nor could I see him breathing until I was very close. The head of the arrow was in his chest and the broken shaft was covered with blood. The thick fur around his neck was matted from the rain. (15.22-23)
Even though she wanted revenge for her brother's death, Karana doesn't end up killing the leader of the dog pack. She can't bring herself to send the arrow that would kill him. Why? What kind of relationship will Karana later have with the leader? Which is more important to Karana – mercy or justice?
In a short time Rontu rose to his feet and left the spotted dog where it lay. He walked to the top of the mound and lifted his head and gave a long howl. I had never heard this sound before. It was the sound of many things that I did not understand. (17.27)
Karana doesn't involve herself in the dogfight, though she watches it. She acknowledges that she doesn't understand the wolf pack and so she does not intervene in the natural world.