Study Guide

Island of the Blue Dolphins Writing Style

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Writing Style

Plain, Sparse

Even though Karana gives some awesome descriptions of her lush island home, they're usually written in a plain and straightforward style. She doesn't use fancy words or complicated figures of speech. Want an example? Check this out:

Blue dolphins were leaping beyond the kelp beds. In the kelp otter were laying at the games they never tired of. And around me everywhere the gulls were fishing for scallops, which were numerous that summer. They grow on the floating kelp leaves and there were so many of them that much of the kelp near the reef had been dragged to the bottom. Still there were scallops that the gulls could reach, and taking them in their beaks they would fly far above the reef and let them drop. The gulls would then swoop down to the rocks and pick the meat from the broken shells. (19.8)

The setting is painted for us here in vivid detail. We can practically hear those gulls dropping their shells on the rocks. The narrator doesn't overwhelm us with poetic words or elaborate phrases. Instead, she lets the scenery, more or less, speak for itself.

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