In "Island of the Blue Dolphins", why did Karana decide to leave the island?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Karana decides to leave the island because she realizes that the life she leads on the island, isolated and severed from social connection, is not a viable one. Although she ends up making a life for herself on the island, her interactions with Tutok proves that there is a certain loneliness and desolation in her life.  This compels her to begin the process of seeking new frontiers in her own emotional state, and gives her the courage to walk into this new and strange world.  One gets the impression that like all adolescents, Karana begins to understand that there is a interpersonal aspect to consciousness.  She cannot function entirely alone and some level of human contact is needed.  She comes to this realization after developing a pattern of life on the island, which while  satisfying in terms of basic needs, lacked the higher ordered elements of an emotionally satisfying life.