Study Guide

Island of the Blue Dolphins Chapter 19

By Scott O'Dell

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Chapter 19

  • The next summer arrives and Karana is still hunting that giant devilfish, but with no luck. Toward the end of the season she decides to focus on gathering red abalone, a shellfish, for the coming winter.
  • Shellfish love abalone, and they usually attach themselves to the outside.
  • Usually Karana heads to Coral Cover to gather the abalone, but one day she goes to the reef instead, to gather them when there are fewer starfish around.
  • Karana provides descriptions of the lush surroundings: the blue dolphins, the otter in the kelp, and the gulls fishing for scallops.
  • Rontu, though, is more interested in something he sees in the water. What could it be? Why, the giant devilfish, of course!
  • Karana is surprised since the reef is so shallow, but decides to go for him with her special spear. She throws it right as the devilfish is reaching for another fish underwater. She thinks she misses, but once she pulls the rope, she realizes she has the devilfish on the line. Score!
  • A major tug of war battle begins between Karana and the devilfish. He pulls, and she braces herself. The line goes slack, and she reels some of it in. The two of them inch toward the cave.
  • They reach a sandbar, and Karana reels him in closer and closer. Eventually he slides up on the sand.
  • Rontu rushes to the devilfish, and lo and behold, the thing is still not dead. The arms wrap around Rontu and the devilfish starts dragging the dog into the water. No way.
  • Karana grabs her whalebone knife and goes in to attack. One of the creature's arms smacks her and it stings like heck. This sounds like a nightmare.
  • Karana drives her knife again and again into the tough hide of the devilfish. Eventually it goes limp. She is so tired that she can't even drag the thing out of the water anymore.
  • Karana and Rontu are both hurt and leave the devilfish on the shore and return home, probably sulking. They (wisely) don't hunt any other devilfish that summer.

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