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Island of the Blue Dolphins (Part III: Analysis)

Posted: December 31, 2018

By: Nada A., High School Blogger

In my AP Human Geography course as a freshman, I read Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies by Jared Diamond. It provided a new perspective on how various peoples can possess different types of knowledge and how this can affect their survival, communication, and societal advancement. In Island of the Blue Dolphins, Karana displays knowledge of the sea elephant and devilfish. Her tribe seems to value and pay more attention to nature than the Aleuts.

In addition to knowledge, tradition between the two groups is compared in terms of how it affects their survival. The people of Ghalas-at follow tradition, such as using every part of the otter. This explains why Karana was angered by the animal being dumped on the shore and barely used at all. She also faced internal conflict while deciding between tradition and survival many times, such as when she was afraid to make weapons.

Although she let go of her traditions sometimes, Karana always held onto them as part of her identity.

I enjoyed this novel a lot. The author creatively rebuilt a true story into a detailed book, exploring the depths of Karana’s mind and her adventures. Not only is it a great read, but it is full of geographic and historical information.

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