Role of Reality

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Role of Reality in Children’s Literature

ENG /290

Brandon Azzari

Nina Wade


The historical fiction book that I have chosen for this paper is the Newbery Medal winner for 1961, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. The Island of Blue Dolphins is a great historical fiction book with a vast amount of messages relating to family and social values. According to O'Dell (1960), the book was told from the main characters point of view, were learn about her day-to-day life, watch the days turn into years, and wait for the ship to carry her off her lonely island. The book is based on an actual historical figure, known as The Lost Woman of San Nicolas, who lived on the island from 1835-1853.

The main character Karana is a 12-year-old Native American who refuses to abandon her 6-year-old brother when her island, Ghalas is evacuated. In the beginning of the story her brother tragically dies after being attacked by wild dogs and Karana begins her solitary wait for a ship to come for her. She waits 18 years. Karana survives by foraging, fishing in the ocean, defending herself from wild dogs and elephant seals, and hiding from the Aleut tribe. Karana grows through her experiences into harmony with herself and the world around her. One of the most important things Karana finds on her island is a capacity for understanding and forgiveness. These come mainly through her need for companionship. In the middle of the book Karana has two enemies the Aleutsand wild dogs. When the wild dogs killed her brother she swears to herself that one day she will kill them all. When she is on the verge of killing them all she does not take it. Instead she brings the pack leader back to her house where she nurses him back to health. According to O'Dell (1960), Karana admits that she does not understand her own actions and she is later glad of them, for pack leader becomes Karana's close friend and companion in a world where she is completely alone. Throughout the book...