Island of the Blue Dolphins
Tradition and Customs Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
There was a legend among our people that the island had once been covered with tall trees. This was a long time ago, at the beginning of the world when Tumaiyowit and Mukat ruled. The two gods quarreled about many things. Tumaiyowit wished people to die. Mukat did not. Tumaiyowit angrily went down, down to another world under this world, taking his belongings with him, so people die because he did. (12.8)
What's the importance of the island's legendary gods? What do they symbolize?
I turned the canoe around and started back toward the opening. Above it, on a deep ledge that ran from one side of the room to the other, my gaze fell upon a row of strange figures. There must have been two dozen of them standing against the black wall. They were as tall as I, with long arms and legs and short bodies made of reeds and clothes in gull feathers. Each one had eyes fashioned of round or oblong disks of abalone shell, but the rest of their faces were blank. The eyes glittered down at me, moved as the light on the water moved and was reflected upon them. They were more alive than the eyes of those who live. (20.11)
Karana stumbles upon figures of her ancestors – and a skeleton in the middle of them. What does she mean when she says they were "more alive" than living people? Why is she later afraid to be in the cave?
The dress reached from my throat to my feet and I did not like it, either the color of it or the way it scratched it was also hot. But I smiled and put my cormorant skirt away in one of the baskets to wear when I got across the sea, sometime when the men were not around. (29.19)
What new traditions and customs will Karana have to follow on the mainland? Do you think she'll be able to wear her cormorant skirt?