Chapter 11 Summary
Karana wakes up when the waves begin dragging at her feet. It is night but she is too tired to go to the rock, so she crawls higher on the beach to avoid the tide and sleeps again. In the morning she unloads her provisions and turns the canoe over so the tide cannot take it before she walks to her headland home. It feels as if she has been gone a long time, and everything she sees around her fills her with happiness. It is a surprising feeling, since just days ago she had stood on this rock and felt as if she could not stand to live here one more day.
As she looks at the vast expanse of blue ocean, all of the fear she felt while on her voyage comes sweeping over her. Yesterday when she saw the island, she had been hopeful of trying to make the journey again; today she knows she will never go again. The Island of the Blue Dolphins is her home; she will have no other until the white man’s ship comes to get her. Even if it comes soon, Karana realizes she must build a house for shelter and for storing food.
That night she sleeps on the rock, but the next day she begins the search for the site of her new home. Storms are certain to come, so she must not waste any time. There are two places on the island which meet her requirements: sheltered from the wind, close to Coral Cove, and close to a good spring. The headland, where she is now, is one of those places; the other she has not been to for some time, so she goes to explore it. This place is closer to the dogs’ lair than she remembered; as soon as Karana gets near the cave, the leader comes out and watches her. If she were to build here, she would have to kill him and his pack. Though she intends to do that anyway, it will take more time than she has; however, the spring here is better and easier to access and there is better shelter for any house she builds.
The sea elephants help her decide where to build her house. Below her is a rock shelf on which they can...
(The entire section is 581 words.)