Island of the Blue Dolphins – Literature – Genre

Like most other books written by Scott O´Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins is assigned to the genre of historical fiction (Matthews). O´Dell draws upon a real historical event, which in this case is a native woman who lived alone on the island from 1835 until 1853 and is known as The Lost Woman of San Nicolas (O´Dell 175 f). Little is known about her, which inspires the author to create a fictional story around these historical facts. Therefore, the reader experiences history and literature at the same time. By simply reading a great book, knowledge of history and a particular cultural perspective is acquired with ease.
As the main character, Karana, undergoes an inner development in this story, the book even falls into the genre of a coming-of-age-story (Matthews). In these stories a young protagonist is forced to grow up due to a triggering action. In this book, the trigger would be the abandonment by her tribe, whereby Karana is forced to face challenges in nature and care for herself alone on the island. She undergoes a development from a young dependent girl to a mature adult. Thus, a reader of the same age as Karana at the beginning of the story might be enhanced to asking himself questions about what he would do if he were in the same situation.