Island Of The Blue Dolphins-Feminism Essay, Research Paper
The issue I have chosen to cover is feminism. There are many different opinions and thoughts on this issue. Despite all the grumblings about feminism, 66% of men still feel they hold a more powerful position in society. But, within relationships, they concede, it is women who resolve the day to day issues, while men settle the life changing disputes (“Are you a normal guy?” 19).
In the beginning, there was the “first wave”, the feminists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who fought for women’s suffrage. Then there was the “second wave”, the feminists of the 1960s and 1970s who fought for equality before the law and equality of opportunity. These two waves destroyed, at least in the West, the old belief that women were unsuited to many activities performed outside the home (“The Feminism Gap” 20). The book Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell proves that this is not true. Karana was able to do many things outside the home. My book should be chosen for a good feminist book because it shows the world that women are capable of surviving without the help of anyone, and it proves that women do the same things that men can do to survive. Not long ago, it was argued without embarrassment that if a man was paid more than a woman for doing the same job, it was because he had a family to support; that if a stewardess was fired at the age of thirty, she shouldn’t want to be flying anyway; and that women just weren’t cut out to be cops or marathon runners (“The Feminism Gap” 20). The fact that these arguments have been
resolved in women’s favor is one of the biggest social changes of our times. In effect, the debate about whether a woman should have equal pay opportunities and responsibilities is over in the West. The battle for women’s rights is won. In this sense, everybody is a feminist now (“Dueling Definitions” 14).
In the 1980s, feminism became preoccupied with “identity politics”. This meant a woman identifying herself according to certain categories-straight, lesbian, Marxist, disabled, fat, and so on-as if such labels were sufficient to define a person’s identity, social roles and rights (“The Challenge of Local Feminism” 42).
Island of the Blue Dolphins is a good example of feminism, as Karana proves that women can do a man’s job. Earlier in the story, when all of her people were still on the island, the women were the ones who gathered the food, and made the clothing and watched over the children. The men were there to do the hunting, fighting, and protect the women from the wild animals. They built houses, and did the hard labor work. Karana was forced to do this on her own, without the help from any men. Although she was scared at times and wasn’t quite sure if she was doing the right thing, she learned through her experiences, and before long, it became natural to her. There were some things she physically could not do because of her size and stregnth, but she found other ways to get the job done. She learned many of the things she did by merely observing her father and the other men on her island. She learned quickly the best way to make a house, hunt game, and she even learned to become one with the wild dogs.
Time doesn’t really have an effect on this story because it is based on the true story of the ancient woman, known as the lone woman of San Nicholas, who was left alone on an island hundreds of years ago. Although this book was written fairly recently, the fact that it is based on a story that happened years ago, that shows that this book would have been written back then. A flaw that this book may have is that the issue of feminism probably isn’t taught to children in a direct way. They can get from the book that girls can do things on their own, but they probably won’t know it is feminism. I know that when I first read the book, when I was a young girl, I wasn’t aware that this was a good feminist book, but I remember being astounded by the capabilities that this young girl had.
Along with this book, some other good examples of feminism are Little Women, Julie of the Wolves, Caddie Woodlawn, and Julie’s Pack. These all have strong women in them who are capable of taking care of themselves without the help of anyone.