Study Guide

Island of the Blue Dolphins Genre

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Island of the Blue Dolphins will probably remind us of other island adventure novels, like Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe or Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island or even H.G. Wells's chilling The Island of Dr. Moreau. These books are all known as Robinsonades – a kind of silly word for a genre dedicated to desert island stories. (Like Robinson Crusoe, get it?) The Robinsonade is an enormously popular genre. We mean, come on. Who doesn't like a good desert island story? Any desert island story you've read or watched (think Lost) is probably a Robinsonade. Island of the Blue Dolphins fits perfectly into this genre – O'Dell even refers to his main character as a "girl Robinson Crusoe" (Author's Note.4).

We see Karana as a sort of updated version of the typical hero of the Robinsonade. Want to know why? Check out our "Why Should I Care?" section for all the details.

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