Island of the Blue Dolphins Questions and Answers
by Scott O'Dell

Start Your Free Trial

In Island of the Blue Dolphins, Karana considers her sister Ulape vain. What two statements does she offer to support this?

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write11,141 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Karana has managed to live a stripped-down, natural existence alone on the island. For anyone else, this might have been a serious challenge, but not for Karana. Her simple approach to life has made it possible for her to survive in an environment where countless others would perish.

Karana's no-nonsense attitude to life, not to mention her practicality, was much in evidence when it was time for her people to leave the island. She packed all her belongings in just two baskets. For the most part, the items she planned to take had practical use-value: fine needles of whalebone for making clothes; an awl for making holes; a good bone knife for scraping hides; two cooking pots; and a small box made from shell with many earrings inside it.

Karana's sister Ulape, on the other hand, packs not one but two boxes of earrings, earning her this scathing rebuke from Karana:

Ulape had two boxes of earrings, for she was vainer than I and when she put them into her baskets, she drew a thin mark with blue clay across her nose and cheekbones.

Ulape is clearly not thinking practically, not thinking about the specific challenges her people will face once they're forced to leave Ghalas-at. She's taking all this jewelry with her just to look good. Karana goes on to tell us why Ulape made the mark of blue clay across her nose and cheekbones mentioned in the previous statement:

The mark meant that she was unmarried.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial