Ramo in Island of the Blue Dolphins

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will learn more about Karana's little brother, Ramo, in ''Island of the Blue Dolphins'' by Scott O'Dell. Although he is only in the story for a short time, Ramo contributes considerably to driving the plot of this story.

Karana's Little Brother

Ramo is the six-year-old brother of Karana and Ulate. Their mother passed a few years ago, and their father is Chief Chowig, who is the leader of the tribe that lives on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Ramo's older sisters have tried to fill in for their mother as best they can. Let's find out more about Ramo in Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Ramo Watches the Enemy

Imagine you are six years old and have lived on a primitive island for your entire life. What would you think if you saw a ship for the very first time? While gathering roots with Karana at Coral Cove, Ramo spots the enemy ship approaching the island. However, Ramo has never before seen a ship, so he thinks it is a giant canoe. While Karana continues to dig, Ramo 'tossed the root in the air and was gone, crashing through the brush, shouting as he went.' Ramo establishes himself early on as an inquisitive reporter when he prepares the village for the arrival of visitors.

When the men from the ship come onto the island to hunt, Ramo follows his father's orders and does not interact with the men, but he does spy on them and brings back news to the rest of the village. 'In the morning when he (Captain Orlov, the leader of the hunters) crawls out of his tent, he sits on a rock and combs until the beard shines like a cormorant's wing,' Ramo said.

The village realizes that the hunters are planning on leaving the island without paying for their catch when Ramo spots Captain Orlov trimming his beard. As a result of the confrontation between Chief Chowig and Captain Orlov over the payment, there is a great battle in which many men are killed, including Chief Chowig. At this point, both of Ramo's parents are gone, and he is raised by his older sisters, who are also children.

Ramo Misses the Boat

When a new chief is chosen, he divides the work among all of the tribe. Ramo is given the job of keeping the abalones that Karana and Ulate gathered safe from the seagulls and the wild dogs. Karana narrates, 'Now that my father was gone, it was not easy to look after Ramo, who was always into some mischief.' The entire town is in mourning and makes the decision to leave for the mainland. When the new chief sends a ship to bring the tribe to their new land, Ramo is excited about meeting other children.

Against Karana's wishes, Ramo runs back to the village to retrieve his fishing spear and does not board the ship on time. When Karana realizes he is missing as the ship departs, she screams for it to go back, but it doesn't, so Karana jumps off the ship and swims to shore to take care of Ramo.

Karana wants to punish him, but she is so happy to see him that all she can do is hug him as the ship disappears from view. 'When will it come back?' asks Ramo tearfully.

Chief of Ghalas-at

When they return to the village, the wild dogs have already looted everything, so Ramo and Karana spend the next day searching for food. Ramo is proud of the fish he catches from the tide pools. He decides that he likes being alone on the island with Karana and doesn't really care if the ship ever returns. 'Tomorrow I am going to where the canoes are hidden and bring one back to Coral Cove. We will use it to fish in and to go looking around the island.' Although Karana has no intention of letting Ramo travel that far alone, he says, 'I am now Chief of Ghalas-at. All my wishes must be obeyed.'

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