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Island of the Blue Dolphins

Island of the Blue Dolphins

by Scott O'Dell

Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

The Russian grasped his beard. "Since the sea is not yours, why do I have to give you any part?"

"The sea which surrounds the Island of the Blue Dolphins belongs to us," answered my father.

He spoke softly as he did when he was angry.

"From here to the coast of Santa Barbara – twenty leagues away?"

"No, only that which touches the island and where the otter live." (1.46-50)

The two leaders, Chief Chowig and Captain Orlov, negotiate for the otters on the island. In their view, nature is something that can be bought and sold. How does this idea get them into trouble? How is Karana's view of things different?

Quote #2

It was these creatures that the Aleuts hunted for their pelts.

From the cliff I could see the skin canoes darting here and there over the kelp beds, barely skimming the water, and the long spears flying like arrows. At dark the hunters brought their catch into Coral Cove, and there on the beach the animals were skinned and fleshed. Two men, who also sharpened the spears, did this work, laboring far into the night by the light of the seaweed fires. In the morning the beach would be strewn with carcasses, and the waves red with blood. (3.3-3.4)

The Aleuts leave the bodies of the otter all over the island's shore. This is the description of the beach after they've skinned the animals: the waves are red with blood. What does this color mean in the novel? What does the Aleuts' treatment of the otter foreshadow?

Quote #3

Many of our tribe went to the cliff each night to count the number killed during the day. They counted the dead otter and thought of the beads and other things that each pelt meant. But I never went to the cove and whenever I saw the hunters with their long spears skimming over the water, I was angry, for these animals were my friends. It was fun to see them playing or sunning themselves among the kelp. It was more fun than the thought of beads to wear around my neck. (3.5)

The members of Karana's tribe think of the otter pelts as something to be traded for beads and pretty things. But Karana has a different view of the animals. Why does she see the otters as her buddies? How do you view the otters?

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