Setting

Island of the Blue Dolphins is based on the true story of The Lost Woman of San Nicolas, who lived alone on an island from 1835 to 1853. The novel begins on a small island in the Pacific Ocean, seventy-five miles southwest of present day Los Angeles. Karana, a twelve-year old girl who lives in the village of Ghalas-at, and her six-year-old brother, Ramo, are gathering roots near a small harbor called Coral Cove. A ship with two red sails appears, causing a stir among the inhabitants of the village. Karana's father, Chief Chowig, reluctantly enters an agreement with the ship's captain, a Russian named Orlov, whereby Captain Orlov and his Aleut hunters may hunt otter if they give half their catch to the villagers. When Orlov and his crew violate the terms of the bargain, a skirmish follows. Twenty-seven of the forty-two Ghalas-at men are killed, including Chowig; Captain Orlov and his crew escape to their ship and leave Coral Cove. The new chief, Kimki, leaves the island in search of a place for the villagers to live. He does not return, but a ship of white men arrives, sent by Kimki to rescue his people. Karana boards with the others from her island and discovers that Ramo is not with them; against the pleas of her people, she leaps into the water and swims ashore. By the time she arrives on land, where she finds Ramo at the edge of the water, the ship has disappeared, never to return. Her brother is soon killed by wild dogs, and Karana lives on the island for...

(The entire section is 288 words.)