Island of the Blue Dolphins Chapter 14

Instructor: Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

A bad injury shows Karana just how vulnerable she can be, when she runs out of water and cannot walk. The wild dogs soon appear, and Karana must use her wits to survive the encounter.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Scott O'Dell published his novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins, in 1960. It won the 1961 Newbery Medal, and is based on the true story of Juana Maria, a Native American who was alone on San Nicolas Island for 18 years. This lesson will focus on Chapter 14 of Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Recap of Chapter 13

Because she needs tusk for making spear points, Karana goes to where the sea elephants congregate on the island. There, she sees a young bull and shoots at him with her bow and arrow. She misses and is preparing to shoot at him again when an older bull appears. The two bulls fight. Suddenly, the young one breaks away and heads straight at Karana. She runs but falls and feels a sharp pain in her leg. Karana limps back to the house she's made, badly injured.

Chapter 14: Injured and Alone

For five days, Karana cannot leave her house because her leg is so swollen. She has plenty of food, but her water starts to run low on the third day, and by the fifth it is completely gone. She must get to the spring or die of thirst.

As soon as the sun is up on the sixth day after her injury, Karana heads for the spring, which is in the bottom of a ravine. She knows it will take her a long time to get there, so she brings food, her bow and arrows, and her spear along. Her leg hurts so badly that she must crawl.

The dogs threatened Karana from the underbrush.
Wild dogs formed packs on the island

The Wild Dogs Threaten

Around noon (Karana says the sun is ''high overhead''), she makes it to the ravine. She stops and chews a bit of cactus to get some moisture. Then, she sees the big grey dog from the pack. The rest of the wild dogs are behind him. Karana raises her bow and they leave, but she knows they haven't gone far.

Karana is afraid the pack will try to surround her, so she hurries to the spring. She drops her bow and arrow but manages to drag her spear with her.

Karana reaches the spring, where she drinks some water and then fills up her basket.

She looks up. On both sides of the ravine, she sees the wild dogs waiting to attack her. So she crawls into a nearby cave. She hears the bushes moving, but the dogs don't attack.

Karana knows the dogs will come back as soon as it is dark. They do, but they don't approach her.

In the Cave

Karana stays in the cave for six days, leaving only to fill her basket from the spring. She decides that the cave will make a good second house, so as soon as her leg is healed, she makes the cave livable.

The cave walls are covered in paintings.
The cave walls are covered in paintings.

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