Study Guide

Island of the Blue Dolphins Chapter 12

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Chapter 12

  • Karana begins work on her new home. First up? A fence made of whale rib bones that are woven together with kelp. A hole is dug beneath the fence so she can pass in and out of the enclosure.
  • Next, Karana thinks about how to build the house inside the fence. For this, she'll need trees, which are hard to find on the island.
  • Karana also talks about how the trees used to be tall on the island, but this was long ago when the gods Tumaiyowit and Mukat ruled the place.
  • Tumaiyowit "wished people to die" while Mukat didn't. Eventually Tumaiyowit went down to the underworld.
  • Anyway! Karana eventually gets her gear together and makes poles for the sides and the roof.
  • Foxes and dogs come around scavenging for food. Karana kills two of the dogs, but not the leader.
  • Once the house is built, Karana starts to make other things she'll need to survive. She weaves a basket for water and makes some utensils. She also digs a fire pit in the house and carves out shelves in the rock. Seriously impressive.
  • Karana finishes all her work by winter, and decides that it's now time to get rid of the wild dog pack.
  • But she has to make more weapons. She first constructs  a much larger bow and sharper arrows. She then must make a spear, which she does, but she still needs a point for the spear.
  • To finish the spear, Karana needs the tooth of a sea elephant. But how will she manage to get that? The men usually catch the sea elephant with a net.
  • Karana doesn't know how she'll catch the sea elephant, but the more she thinks about it, the more stubborn she is about going after the sea elephant with or without a net.

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