By O'Dell Scott
By O'Dell Scott
Scott O’Dell was born in California in 1898 and received his higher education at Occidental College, Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Rome.
O’Dell is most well-known for writing children’s novels though he did pen eight adult novels before he began writing for children. O’Dell wrote many successful children’s novels, amongst them “The Black Pearl” and “The Captive” but perhaps his best known novel is the first one he wrote, “Island of the Blue Dolphins”.
O’Dellwrote “Island of the Blue Dolphins” to reflect on the true story of The Lost Woman of San Nicolas. There was an island off the coast of California full of indigenous people who called the island Ghalas-at, though it was known to Californians as La Isla de San Nicolas.
The people were taken from the island in 1835 by Captain Hubbard, but one of the girls jumped ship. Eighteen years later, when Captain Nidever went to the island, he saw that the woman still lived there though they had a hard time communicating because she spoke the indigenous language. She became friends with Father Gonzalez who communicated with her using signs and learned that her brother had died after being attacked by wild dogs. After the woman’s death, she was buried near the Santa Barbara Mission.
Scott O’Dell gathered all of the information he could find about The Lost Woman of San Nicolas and pieced this information together to write “Island of the Blue Dolphins”.
Karana, her brother Ramo, and their people live on the Island of the Blue Dolphins, known to the natives as Ghalas-at. One day they are visited by a ship with a Russian captain named Orlov who wants to, along with a tribe of Native Americans called the Aleuts that he has brought with him, hunt otter on the island.
After coming to a deal, they are allowed to stay but upon reneging on their deal when they are leaving a fight breaks out,and many of the native islanders are killed, including Karana and Ramo’s father, Chowig, the chief. A new chief named Kimki takes over and tells the natives that it is time for them to leave the island; a couple of days later he sends a ship for them. Ramo does not get on the ship, realizing he has left his hunting spear behind, so Karana jumps ship and heads back to the island as well where it is just her and Ramo waiting for another ship to come and take them away.
One day Karana finds that Ramo has been killed by a pack of wild dogs and she plans to get revenge on them by killing the leader, though she just wounds him and nurses him back to health.Karana calls the dog Rontu and they become great friends. One day, the Aleuts come back to the island,andKarana hides though one of their children finds her, and,despite being wary at first, they become friends, though they do not speak the same language.
Karana is very lonely when the girl has to leave and lonelier when Rontu dies. She tames Rontu’s son, naming him Rontu-Aru and makes him her new friend. One day, a ship comes to the island,andKarana realizes it is finally time to leave as she is very lonely and knows she must go, taking Rontu-Aru with her.
Karana, also known by her public name Won-a-pa-lei, is the narrator and protagonist of the story. Karana was a member of the Ghalas-at village which was destroyed by the Aleut tribe and ended up on the island alone with her brother, Ramo. After Ramo’s death, Karana lived in isolation for many years with her only companions being her animal friends, her dog Rontu, and an Aleut girl named Tutok that visited her for a short time.
Karana becomes one with nature and learns to fend for herself until she is rescued from the island. She develops a love for all things that surround her and always holds hope for the future.
Rontu is Karana’s dog and her closest companion for much of the story. Rontu was the leader of a pack of wild dogs that killed Karana’s brother, Ramo, and was Karana’s sworn enemy for some time. When Karana nearly killed Rontu and then found him suffering she took him in and nursed him back to health, making him her best friend.
Rontu helps Karana on her hunting and fishing trips and helps to keep her out of harm’s way. Eventually Rontu dies after having lived a long life at Karana’s side, and he is buried by their home in the headland.
Ramo is Karana’s younger brother and the reason she ends up alone on the island. Ramo refuses to get on the ship with the other villagers to leave the island, because he has left behind his fishing spear, so Karana jumps off the ship to get to him, so he will not be alone.
Ramo deems himself chief of Ghalas-at and renames himself Tanyositlopai, despite the fact that he has not gone through the ceremony of becoming a man. Shortly after Ramo and Karana are left on the island Ramo is attacked by a group of wild dogs and dies.
Tutok is a young girl from the Aleut tribe who becomes a friend to Karana. Karana is at first fearful of being found by Tutok when she realizes there is a girl with the Aleuts but soon realizes that Tutok just wants to be her friend.
The two girls spend time learning one another’s languages and exchanging gifts and Karana even learns that Rontu was Tutok’s dog that was left on the island when the Aleuts were there before. Tutok eventually has to leave with the other Aleuts and does not get to say goodbye to Karana yet Karana remembers her always as a good friend.
Ulape is Karana and Ramo’s sister who leave on the ship with the other villagers. Ulape bring more vain than Karana packs many pair of earrings when they are getting ready to board the ship and is sure to make the tribe marking of blue clay on her nose to indicate that she is unmarried.
Ulape has a crush on a young man from the tribe called Nanko. After Karana lands in Santa Barbara at the end of the novel, she learns that the ship containing Ulape and the other villagers sank, never making it to the mainland.
Chief Chowig is the father of Karana, Ramo, and Ulape and also the chief of the Ghalas-at people. He is a very strong and proud man who cares very much for the people of his village and refuses to allow them to be disrespected.
Chowig is distrustful of the Aleuts when they first arrive on the island, having a feeling that his hunch about them will prove to be reality,and it is. Chowig’s refusal to allow his people to be disrespected ends up contributing to his death as a battle breaks out over his refusal to accept less than he deserves, and he is killed.
The Aleuts are a Native American tribe that is brought to the island at first by the Russians in a ship with red sails. The Aleuts come to the island to hunt otter and strike a deal with the villagers to share what they catch as payment for hunting on their land.
The Aleuts attempt to leave the island without giving payment and Chowigstands up for his people,which results in a bloody battle. Later the Aleuts return to the island when Karana is living there alone, and she hides from them, fearing that they will kill her as they did most of the villagers on their previous visit.
Orlov is the captain of the Russian ship that brought the Aleuts to Ghalas-at to hunt otter. Orlov is extremely preoccupied with the appearance of his beard and seems to be very vain, cocky, distrustful, and deceptive. He only wishes to give the Ghalas-at people 1/3 of what they catch but ends up agreeing to ½ at Chowig’s request. When the Aleuts are done hunting, Orlov tries to leave without paying and then tries to give alternate payment,which Chowig does not accept, causing a battle to ensue which kills most of the Ghalas-at men.
Kimki is one of the Ghalas-at tribe elders who becomes chief after Chowig is killed in battle. Kimki is given the role of chief despite his age because he was once a very good hunter and warrior in his youth.
Kimki has a plan to bring the Ghalas-at people to a country he had visited as a boy (America) and sets off to find the place promising to return for everyone else. Eventually a ship of white men arrives to take the villagers to America at Kimki’s request.
Matasaip is another man from the tribe who becomes chief in Kimki’s absence. Matasaip proves to be quite organized and serves as an effective leader for the short time that he is in charge.
The day the ship comes he tells everyone to remain by the canoes while he checks to see if the ship is safe for them. Upon learning that the ship was sent by KimkiMatasaip arranges for everyone to board the ship and head to their new home, refusing to turn the ship around when Karana realizes that Ramo is not on board.
Nanko is a young man who is part of the Ghalas-at tribe and is the object of Ulape’s affection. Nanko teases Ulape constantly, leading everyone to believe that he likes her, as well. Nanko is the one who tells Karana that Ramo is already aboard the ship when she cannot find him though Karana soon realizes that Ramo is not on the ship but still on the island.
The White Men
The white men come to the island to take the Ghalas-at people to America at Kimki’s request. The ship that the white men come in on has white sails,so the villagers know they are not the Aleuts. Many years later different white men come to the island, also from the land to the East (America), and take Karana from the island.
The Wild Dogs
The pack of wild dogs is made up of all of the dogs that were left behind on the island after the battle. The leader of the wild dogs, later named Rontu, is larger than the others and has bright yellow eyes.
The wild dogs are responsible for the death of Ramo and are the object of Karana’s hatred for a long while though she eventually ends up taking in Rontu as her pet and companion after nearly killing him.Later the wild dogs come back to attack Rontu, and he defeats them which causes them to stay away from that point on.
Mon-a-nee, later known as Won-a-nee-, is an otter that Karana rescues after the Aleuts visit for the second time. Karana finds many dead and wounded otters on the shore and takes this particular otter to the tide pools and nurses it back to health.
Later Karana is approached by the otter and her pups, and she realizes that the otter is female, rather than male as she had first assumed so she changes the otter’s name. Won-a-nee becomes a great friend to Karana and something she thinks about as she sails away from the island on the ship with the white men.
Upon Rontu’s death,Karana was very lonely and wanted to take in a small dog that she had seen in the pack of wild dogs. Karana thought the dog had resembled Rontu with its yellow eyes and must be his son.
Karana eventually found a way to take the small dog from the others while they were sleeping and trained him to become her pet and companion, and he soon took over Rontu’s role in Karana’s life. Rontu-Aru accompanied Karana on the ship with the white men that took her off the island.
Man and Nature
“Island of the Blue Dolphins” displays a link between man and nature that few are able to experience. Karana lives by herself on the island in total isolation for many years with her only companions being the animals she surrounds herself and forms friendships with. She builds everything that she needs to survive and hunts down her own food.
Karana becomes one with nature and forms such a tight bond with the animals that have served as her companions that she refuses to hunt anything other than fish and abalone because she realizes that animals have feelings, as well.
Karana lives alone on the island in isolation for many years though sometimes the isolation is self-imposed. As a defense mechanism, Karana manages to keep herself away from the Aleuts when they reach the island for fear that if she exposes herself she will die like many of her people in the past.
Karana begins to resent her isolation and desire human contact, especially after forming such tight bonds with the animals and forming a fleeting friendship with the young Aleut girl, Tutok. Despite the fact that Karana has lived successfully in isolation for so long, she manages to still thirst for human interaction and remain level-headed.
Karana forms a very tight bond and friendship with her dog, Rontu. Despite the fact that Karana originally meant to kill Rontu as his pack killed her brother Ramo, she instead nursed him back to health,and he became the most important thing to her on the island.
Without RontuKarana probably would not have fared as well mentally as she did being in isolation for so long. Karana also formed close friendships with the otter she rescued, Won-a-nee, and Rontu-Aru, the dog she adopted after Rontu died that she was sure wasRontu’s son.
Karana has a lot of love for the things that surround her, especially nature. Her love for Ramo is what led her to being stuck on the island in the first place, as she jumped ship to be with him,so he would not be stuck there alone, little did she know he would soon die,and she would be the one alone.
Karana’s love for her dog, Rontu, spread to other animals,and she soon became one with nature and developed a love for many animals that she considered her companions. Karana also developed a love for her friend Tutok whom she missed greatly in her absence, and also her sister Ulape whom she would never see again.
There is a great deal of violence in this novel and for Karana love always presents itself in the wake of violence. After the bloody battle with the AleutsKarana becomes closer than ever with her brother, Ramo, and after the dogs killedRamo she became friends with one of them despite the fact that she almost killed it.
Karana tries to keep all of the animals safe as she does not want to inflict any pain on them and vows to keep them out of harm’s way if possible, though Karana seems to realize that violence amongst the animals is simply a matter of the circle of life and survival of the fittest.
Throughout the novel, it becomes common practice to not trust anything that is foreign or out of the ordinary. When the Aleuts first arrived at the island, Chowig did not trust them to keep up with their end of the bargain as he was wary of them, and he had right to be as they tried to leave without paying and managed to kill off half of the village.
Karana keeps this wariness with her for the remainder of the novel when it comes to people though not when it comes to animals. Karana tries to keep herself hidden, especially from the Aleuts as she knows they are dangerous.
Karana manages to break every gender stereotype that her village had though there is no one around to see her do it. On Ghalas-at, the women were not allowed to build or use weapons, hunt or fish though when the men were mostly killed and then Karana was left all alone she had no choice but to learn these tasks in order to insure her survival. Karana became the definition of a strong woman, though the people of her village would never allow a female to take on such a powerful role as hunter and provider.
As Karana is living in isolation with nothing but the animals to accompany her, most of her sanity and hope for the future comes from her memories of the past.Karana remembers the bonds that she had with important people in her life, such as Ulape, Ramo, and Tutok and also with the animals she formed close bonds with, such as Rontu and Won-a-nee. It is the memory of these bonds that keeps Karana moving forward and gives her memories to fill her thoughts throughout the day, so she does not turn savage and go crazy.
There is a language barrier between Karana and everyone and thing that she comes into contact with as she is the only Ghalas-at person remaining and no one else understands their language though Karana manages to communicate with others regardless. When Karana first takes Rontu into her home, she teaches him the names for certain things that they will be hunting, so he will understand what she is looking for. When Karana meets Tutok they spend days together comparing the names they have for different things and manage to communicate with one another though their languages are differing.
Despite the fact that Karana lives without human interaction for many years she still has hopes for the future and for a rescue. While Karana does eventually stop staring at the ocean waiting for a ship to come by, she never stops hoping that one will show up someday and is always prepared for that day to come.Karana never believes that she is going to be stuck on the island forever as she seems to know that someday a ship will come back and take her to the place where the other villagers were taken.
The narrator is remembering a time on the island when she and her brother, Ramo, were digging for roots for the villagers to eat and saw a ship coming on the horizon. Ramo runs off to tell the other people of Ghalas-at about the ship, but the narrator seems to be worried. When the ship arrives the men that get off are all blond and Russian.
The chief of Ghalas-at, the narrator’s father, introduces himself to the captain of the ship as Chief Chowig, which shocks the narrator as the people of Ghalas-at have a public name, which they tell others, and a private name, which not many people know as it holds magic and loses the magic as more people find out about it.
The narrator’s private name is Karana, but her public name is Won-a-pa-lei. Captain Orlov, the leader of the Russians, tells Chowig that he and his men would like to camp on the island and hunt otters, willing to give the villagers 1/3 of what they catch. Chief Chowig insists on ½ because according to him any of the sea that touches the island is considered to belong to them, and eventually Captain Orlov agrees though begrudgingly.
Karana describes the island as looking like a large dolphin, being about 6 miles long and 3 miles wide. The island is quite windy, which makes the landscape appear very smooth, especially the small trees and hills.
There are two springs on the island, one near Coral Cove where the natives spend much of their time and one near where the Aleuts are setting up camp. Chowig will not allow the people of Ghalas-at to visit the Aleuts believing that they are not kind people though everyone spends much time observing the Aleuts, and vice versa. Karana’s sister, Ulape, claims to have seen a female Aleut, but no one believes her, and Ramo spends a lot of time watching Captain Orlov.
The Aleuts, believing their food-sharing deal goes both ways, insist on receiving half of the bass that the natives caught though Chowig refuses. The Aleuts say they will tell Orlov of the refusal, and Karana knows that something bad is on the horizon.
Karana watches the Aleut men hunt for otter on the shore, displeased by what she is seeing. The men hunt and skin the otters right there on the shore so their blood runs into the sea causing the waves to appear red with blood. She is upset because she considers the otters to be her friends though her father reassures her that it will all be over soon, and there will be plenty of otters left.
Chowig does not trust the Aleuts to pay before leaving so he dispatches two men to build a canoe on the beach and keep watch. Everyone sees the Aleuts beginning to pack their belongings, and Orlov trimming his beard,and they know the visitors are about to leave, wondering if they will pay Chowig before they go. Despite the fact that Chowig is doubtful that the Aleuts will pay, he shows no anger or emotion at all he simply sits and works on a new spear.
The Aleuts continue to pack their things and prepare their ship for sale though they have not given Chief Chowig any of the otter yet. Everyone rushes to Coral Cove not wanting to miss any of the confrontation, Karana and Ulape watching from a ledge.
Chowig and Orlov get into a disagreement about the otter as Orlov wants to give Chowig jewelry, and gems instead of otter but Chowig just wants the meat. When Orlov offers to give Chowig three chests full of treasure and spearheads, Chowig agrees, but will not allow the men to remove any otter from the island until he gets the three chests. Orlov looks nervous as a storm is coming in and Chowig tells him that the natives will help the Aleuts and Russians to pack their things and set sail as soon as he gets what is coming to him. Suddenly, a fight breaks out, and Karana sees her father lying on the ground with a bloody face.
The people of Ghalas-at and the Aleuts all begin fighting one another,and many of the Ghalas-at men lose their lives, including Chief Chowig. The Russian ship sets off with its men and the otter, leaving the Ghalas-at people in ruins and mourning. When Karana sees her father’s body being washed over by the waves she can only think that he should not have told Orlov his secret name.
Nearly thirty Ghalas-at men died in the battle, leaving only fifteen men on the island, five of whom are quite old. One of the elders, Kimki, becomes the new chief. Because so many men were killed the women are forced to take over some of the men’s jobs, like hunting. Karana, Ulape, and Ramo are in charge of keeping the abalone safe from birds and wild dogs and gathering them from the rocks on which they grow.
The villagers feel saddened by the great loss they suffered during the battle and they cannot seem to escape the ghosts of their memories on the island. Kimki decides that he is going to travel to a country to the east that he had visited as a child, which the reader will discover is America. Kimki wants to find a place for the Ghalas-at people to move to, and begin a new life,so he sets out in his little canoe and says he will send for them when he finds a place. The people are hopeful that Kimki will be successful but wonder when, if at all, he will return to them.
As spring comes and goes Kimki has still not returned or sent word to the island and everyone is getting worried. Not only are they worried about Kimki, but also worried because hunting season for the Aleuts is approaching again, and everyone spends a great deal of time watching for the ship with red flags to come into view. Matasaip, the man who became leader in Kimki’s absence, had the islanders set up canoes and supplies by the rocks,so they can make a fast getaway to Santa Catalina if necessary.
A ship is seen approaching the island one night and everyone heads for the canoes ready to leave when one of the villagers informs the rest that the sails on this ship are not red but white. Matasaip goes to check the situation out himself, leaving everyone else by the canoes just in case they need to leave. He sends word back to the other islanders that the ship is full of white men who have been sent to the island by Kimki to bring them to their new country. Everyone is very excited that Kimki has been successful, but they are scared,as well.
Everyone in the village packs their things to get ready for their journey, Karana taking a pair of earrings, her needles, a knife, and some pots, and Ulape taking many pair of earrings as she is quite vain.Ulape also smears some blue clay across her nose to indicate that she is unmarried though she is obviously in love with Nanko, who teases her often. As everyone heads to the ship, Ramo tells Karana that he has forgotten his fishing spear but Karana tells him to forget about it and just get on the ship because they do not have time to go back and get it.
Once on the ship Karana realizes that she cannot find Ramo though Nanko insists that Ramo is on the ship. Karana looks back to shore and realizes that Ramo is still there with his spear, but Matasaip will not go back to get him. Karana, clearly torn by what to do, jumps ship and heads back to the island with Ramo, unwilling to leave him there alone. Rather than be mad at Ramo when she gets to the island she just hugs him, glad that he is safe though slightly disappointed that she has ruined her beautiful skirt during her swim.
When Karana and Ramo return to the village they find it empty except for some wild dogs that have eaten all of the food that was stored and torn everything up. Ramo tells Karana that he likes it on the island with just the two of them because it is more fun and he names himself the new chief, though he turns pale when Karana reminds him of the ceremony he must go through to become a man first.
Karana and Ramo find eggs and abalone to eat, and Ramo tells Karana he will get a canoe the next day,so they can go fishing, insisting he is strong enough to get the canoe because he is the son of Chowig. Karana cannot find Ramo the next day but knows she cannot go looking for him because someone needs to keep watch for the ship to return. Eventually, after Ramo does not show up all day, Karana buries the mussels she has found and takes a trail to go looking for Ramo.
When Karana finds Ramo, his dead body is laying on the ground with a gash across his throat, surrounded by wild dogs. Karana takes Ramo’s body back to their hut and holds him all night, vowing to kill the dogs someday.
Karana decides to move to another part of the island as the village is too sad for her now. Karana makes her new home near Coral Cove atop a rock that will provide her with shelter, as well as safety from the dogs. She knows that she will need weapons to survive, but the women in her tribe were not ever allowed to make weapons,so she went searching for some that may have been left behind instead though she has no luck.
Despite the fact that the village law states weapons will break in the hand of a woman, Karana knows she must make some anyway though she has never done it before and does not have a sea elephant tusk to use for a tip. Karana improvises and makes a bow out of seal sinew and tree branch, considering testing it out on the leader of the wild dogs which she sees watching her though she decides it is not close enough for her to get a good shot. Time goes by slowly for Karana though she settles into a routine always keeping watch for the ship that she hopes will come back for her.
Throughout the summer, Karana watches for the ship, still hopeful, but as summer draws to a close Karana accepts the realization that the ship is not going to return to her. Karana decides she is going to take one of the canoes and travel across the ocean herself in the direction where the ship took the rest of her people. Karana should be scared at such a feat, but she is not as she knows she would rather have the chance of reuniting with her people than stay on the island all alone, and surrounded by the wild dogs that killed her brother.
Karana packs one of the canoes with supplies and sets out, the island quickly falling out of view. Later that day, the canoe begins to leak, and though Karana tries to stifle the leak she cannot and knows that she must turn around because the canoe will not make the rest of the trip to the mainland. Karana is flanked by dolphins all the way back to the island, pleased by their presence as she sees dolphins as kind animals that bring good luck. When Karana finally makes it back to the island, she collapses on the sand, hugging it, and falls asleep.
Upon waking, Karana realizes that she does not want to leave the island after all because it is her home, she will just wait for a ship to come, and if it does not she will live in peace with the animals on the island. She decides she must build herself a house, and she will do so in the headland as the village is too sad and to the west is where the dogs and the sea elephants live. She knows that she cannot live next to the sea elephants because they are quite loud and will make poor neighbors, especially when she is trying to sleep.
Karana settles into the headland and begins to gather poles that she will use to build herself a fence for the purpose of keeping out foxes which are proven to be pretty crafty thieves. Karana is very optimistic about the new home she is building for herself.
Karana builds a fence made of whale bones and seaweed, digging a hole under the fence,so she can get in and out of the structure. She knows she must build a house inside of the fence though she knows that will be difficult as trees on the island are hard to come by. She digresses about how fall the trees used to be when the Gods ran the island though they are much smaller now.
Karana builds poles to act as the support for her home and kills two of the wild dogs when they come snooping around her new home. Karana begins to make all of the things that she will need to survive, such as a basket for water and utensils and she digs a hole for a fire pit inside the house.
When winter approaches Karana has finished building her house and all of her supplies and decides that she must kill the dog pack now but first she will need better weapons. Karana makes a better bow and some sharper arrows along with a spear though she still does not have a point for the spear as she has no idea how to get the tooth of a sea elephant as she does not have a net to catch it.
Karana decides that she will go try to catch a sea elephant the next day though she cannot help but remember the law that states a weapon will not work at the hands of a woman. Karana goes to the place where the sea elephants live and chooses her prey, the smallest male sea elephant out of a group of six, mostly because he is alone and does not have his own herd. She hides behind the rocks to watch the sea elephants, still worrying about the law against women using weapons. She sees the sea elephant heading toward a female and takes it as her chance to spear him, though she misses.
An older sea elephant is also interested in the same female and makes to attack the younger one. Karana watches the two male sea elephants battling one another and sees the older one put a large gash in the younger one. Karana knows this is the perfect time to catch him because he is already injured, but she does not because she secretly wants the younger one to win the fight. As the fight gets rougher, and the water becomes tinged with blood Karana leaves the fray, hurting her knee while escaping and listens to the noises coming from the warring sea elephants as she heads back home.
For five days after returning from the fight, Karana cannot leave the house because her leg is hurt so badly. Eventually she realizes that she must leave to get water and sets out to the spring, bringing her weapons with her. Upon reaching the spring Karana finds herself face to face with the dog pack again, though they leave her alone.
Rather than go back to her home, Karana decides to stay in the cave by the spring, considering it her home for when she is sick as she feels very safe there. Karana stays in the cave for six days and turns it into another home, digging shelves in the rock and stocking up on herbs and foods.
Karana likes the cave because there are drawings on the walls that were made by her ancestors. When Karana’s second home is done she heads back to the scene of the sea elephant fight and finds one of the sea elephants lying dead on the shore which leaves Karana free to take one of its teeth for her spear.
Karana notes that the pack of wild dogs increased exponentially after the battle with the Aleutians and the leader of the pack must have been an Aleutian dog because she does not recall seeing him before they came, knowing she would remember his big yellow eyes. Karana plans an attack against the dogs and sets up the materials to build a fire outside of their cave.
When all of the dogs return to the cave, she lights the fire,and they all come running out though Karana does not shoot at all of them, only the leader when he emerges. Karana hits the leader in the chest with one of her arrows though she misses with a second one. She cannot find the leader for several days though when she does she finds him behind some rocks with a piece of the arrow sticking out of his chest.
Karana cannot bring herself to kill the dog,so she picks him up and brings him back to her home where she cleans his wound. At first Karana sleeps up on the rock because she is scared of the dog though she continues to clean his wound and feed him fish. One day Karana finds the dog inside her home wagging his tail, and she decides to keep him for her pet, naming him Rontu.
Karana continues to watch for the ship should it return, and also keeps watch for the Aleuts as hunting season will again be approaching. Karana knows that she must have a place to hide herself and her supplies in the chance that the Aleuts do return to the island. She decides that she will hide herself, Rontu, and her belongings in the canoe if the Aleuts return though she needs a safe place to store the canoe.
Karana spends time working on the canoe to make it smaller and more manageable for her and teaches Rontu some words as she spends a lot of her time talking to him. When Karana finishes the canoe she and Rontu take it for a test ride around the island and happen upon a cave with smooth black walls that Karana realizes will be the perfect hiding spot for the canoe when spring comes.
Rontu sees a devilfish (octopus) in the water, and Karana tries to catch it though devilfish are extremely difficult to catch as they let out a cloud of black to help them escape as this one does. Karana becomes determined to build herself a better spear to help her catch devilfish as their meat is delicious.
Karana spends her time making herself a new dress and fashioning a spear that will help her to catch devilfish. The new spear will have a string attached to help her reel in the fish after she has speared it. When spring comes Karana stores her canoe in the cave whenever she is not using it, in case the Aleuts should return. Karana sets out to hunt devilfish one day, lonely as Rontu is not with her.
Karana let Rontu out of the fence because the other dogs had been sniffing around and she was worried that Rontu may leave her and rejoin the others though she would never be able to hurt him now it that were the case because they are friends. When Karana returns home she finds Rontu on top of a mound surrounded by the other dogs and a fight is obviously brewing.
Rontu, despite taking some blows, manages to outsmart the other dogs and come out victorious. Upon winning Rontu howls from atop the mound and the other dogs break off into two groups and leave the scene, never to return to bother Rontu and Karana again.
With the spring, Karana makes new friends of the animals. There are two birds that build a nest right near Karana’s home, and when they have babies she builds a house for the chicks,so they can stay with her when the other birds fly north. For a while, Karana has to clip the wings of the birds,so they do not fly away from her, but eventually she does not need to as they are happy to stay in her home.
Karana makes herself a new yucca skirt as she had ruined her previous one jumping off the ship to get to Ramo, and also makes a wreath for Rontu’s neck,which he greatly dislikes wearing. Karana and Rontu spend a lot of time walking around the island and the cliffs together enjoying one another’s company and the springtime.
As summer comes, Karana has still not caught the devilfish, but it is not for lack of trying. She decides that she must gather some abalone as the winter is coming though rather than father it off the rocks as she usually does she goes to the reef because there are not as many starfish there.
Upon reaching the reef Karana is distracted by all of the beautiful sea life there such as fish, otters, dolphins, and scallops. Rontu begins to bark like mad, and Karana realizes that the devilfish she has been trying to catch is there at the reef. She takes the opportunity to spear it when it is going after another fish, and she succeeds.
The devilfish is very strong, and Karana has a hard time reeling it in, nearly getting pulled into the water. Eventually Karana manages to pull the devilfish to shore, but it is still not dead,and when Rontu gets too close the devilfish catches him in its tentacles. Karana steps in to stab the devilfish eventually killing it but getting stung in the process. When the devilfish is finally dead Karana and Rontu both leave it there on the shore, too tired and hurt to bring it with them, vowing to not hunt anymore devilfish that summer.
Karana continues to gather fish, and abalone and she and Rontu explore more of the island. They go to Tall Rock where Karana kills some birds to make a new skirt and then happen upon a mysterious black cave that Karana has never been to before. Inside the cave, Karana sees glowing eyes on the walls and skeletons, realizing that these must be her ancestors.
Karana tries to leave the cave, as she finds it creepy, but the tide has come in, and she cannot get out until the tide goes back down,so she and Rontu must sleep there for the night. The next day when they leave Karana tells Rontu that they will never return to Black Cave again. Karana puts her canoe in the safe cave and begins to head home though when she gets to the top of the cliff she sees a ship coming from the north, the same direction the Aleuts come from. She notes that it has red sails, and must be them,so she gathers her things and heads to the safe cave, carefully brushing away her footprints,so the Aleuts would not realize someone was still on the island. Karana sees a young girl building a fire by the shore and decides to barricade herself in the cave with rocks after she convinces Rontu to join her.
Karana tries to only leave her cave at night when the Aleuts will not be able to see her. She likes going up onto the rocks to watch the Aleut fires though she fears the young Aleut girl she saw will find her. Karana and Rontu still collect abalone and roots but are careful to not be seen.
One day after Karana has finished sewing her beautiful new skirt she steps out of the cave to see it in the daylight and to her horror the Aleut girl is standing there.Rontu goes to the girl,andKarana realizes that she must have been his owner before, and she gets territorial though the girl motions that she means no harm and Rontu is Karana’s now. The girl tries to be friendly with Karana, and though Karana can understand most of her motions and get the gist of what she is trying to say she pretends that she is clueless.
The girl introduces herself as Tutok, tells Karana that her skirt is pretty and asks if she lives in the cave, but Karana just points to the west end of the island. The girl leaves and the next morning after Karana has moved much of her stuff to the west end of the island she finds that someone has been in her cave and left for her a black necklace.
Karana leaves the necklace on the steps and goes to sleep. The next morning she hides waiting for Tutok to come back. When Tutok comes to the cave and sees that the necklace is still there she starts to leave until Karana jumps out and yells “Tutok!” Karana puts the necklace on for Tutok, and they admire it together and spend the afternoon trading the names for things in their languages.
When Tutok leaves that day Karana tells her that her name is Won-a-pa-lei. Over the next couple days, the girls continue to play their language-trading game,andKarana finally reveals her secret name. Karana makes Tutok a circlet for her hair out of abalone discs and Tutok says that it is pretty and hugs Karana. One day Tutok does not come by, and Karana sees that the Aleuts are packing up their ships getting ready to leave. Karana assumes that Tutok will come to say goodbye so she cooks dinner for them, but Tutok never comes and Karana sees the ship sailing away.Karana is sad that Tutok has left because she enjoyed having a friend to spend time with.
The Aleuts left many otters on the shore that are dead or wounded which saddens Karana. She finds one otter, which is badly wounded and brings him to the tide pools where she knows he will be able to heal. Every day Karana brings the otter fish to eat so he can get better and names him Mon-a-nee. There are a few days when Karana is not able to catch fish, and when she finally returns to the tide pools she sees that otter is gone,and she knows that she will not be able to find him again as he will be indistinguishable from the other otters now that his wound has healed.
Karana feels she can safely move back to her home at the headland now that the Aleuts are gone, and there she spends her days making new weapons and a pair of earrings to match the necklace from Tutok. Karana spends her time walking the cliffs with Rontu as they have always done, but she still misses Tutok.
As springtime approaches again Karana finds that her home is becoming a bit of a zoo, home to many different animals. The two birds that Karana had taken in and named Lurai and Tainor have now built a nest for themselves and had babies and Karana has also taken in a gull who is hurt. One day when Karana is gathering abalone a herd of otter approaches her canoe, and she realizes that it is Mon-a-nee and its babies and that Mon-a-nee is a girl rather than a boy as she originally thought and she changes its name to Won-a-nee.
Karana becomes close with the otter family and spends a lot of time feeding them fish and abalone. Karana is becoming very close to the animals on the island and decides that she will not kill anymore otter, sea elephants, cormorants, or even wild dogs because animals have feelings just like people do and her world would be a miserable place without their company.
As time goes by the Aleuts never return to the island, and even the otters stop migrating to Tall Rock,which makes Karana realize that the otters who are there no longer remember the Aleuts, so they have nothing to fear. Karana no longer keeps track of time on the pole by her house, and that summer Rontu dies. Karana noticed that Rontu wanted to accompany her around the island less, and less,and one day he wanted to get out of the fence,and he never returned.
Karana followed Rontu’s tracks and found him in the back of a cave where she stayed with him throughout the night. Karana carried Rontu back to the house and set him on the ground to bark at the gulls that were milling about, but he did not he just dropped to the ground and died while Karana felt his heartbeat disappear. Karana buried Rontu at the headland and marked his grave with his favorite stick, some flowers, and many brightly colored stones.
Karana is sad without Rontu and does not leave the house much that winter. She has seen a small dog with the pack that has yellow eyes just like Rontu and she is convinced he must be Rontu’s son. Karana decides she wants to catch the small dog and keep him for a pet,so she tries many different plans to catch the dog, eventually deciding it will be easiest to take him if all the dogs are sleeping.
She happens upon a mixture of tobacco and seashells known as “xuchal” which puts the dogs to sleep and allows her to take the dog that looks like Rontu. The small dog howls all night, disliking being tied to the fence,but eventually he becomes friends with Karana,and she calls him Rontu-Aru which means “son of Rontu”. Karana and Rontu-Aru go fishing and take canoe rides together; she enjoys his company but more and more she misses human interaction and thinks of her sister Ulape and also of her friend Tutok.
On the last day of summer, Karana takes her canoe to the sandspit where she repairs the leaks and holes with pitch. She tires quickly and decides to take a nap though she is woken soon by the ground shaking. As Karana looks out to sea, she sees a large wave heading straight for where she is standing,and she quickly climbs up on cliff.
The wave hits the cliff just beneath Karana, and a second wave comes in that nearly pulls Karana out to sea, though she manages to hold on. When the waves calm down Karana heads home to the delight of Rontu-Aru who must have felt the earthquake,as well. Throughout the night, the ground continues to tremor with aftershocks which have knocked down Karana’s fence. By the time morning comes the shaking as stopped but some damage is already done.
The earthquake has destroyed the canoes and Karana gathers the pieces and floats them to the cove where she begins to assemble a new canoe out of the pieces of the old ones. When springtime comes around the canoe is ready to be sealed with pitch and when Karana is preparing the fire for the pitch she sees a ship in the distance.
The ship does not have red sails like the Aleuts but also does not appear to be the ship the white people sailed to the island at Kimki’s request. Karana sees two men arrive at the island in a canoe, and she goes to gather her belongings in hopes that the men will take her with them. When Karana and Rontu-Aru get back to the shore, they find the canoe is gone,andthe men have gone back to their ship. Karana heads out into the waves to flag down the ship but to no avail.
After two more years the ship with the white people on it finally returns to the island. Karana prepares herself to meet the men who get off the ship by putting on her otter cape and cormorant skirt and also marking her face with blue clay the way her sister had before sailing off. The men come to Karana’s home and try to communicate with her though they do not understand one another.
Karana finally understands that she will go on the boat with the men and be allowed to bring all of her belongings and the men measure her for a dress that she does not like because it will cover her entire body. The men are frustrated that they cannot find any otters, and though Karana knows where they are she does not tell the men. She tries to ask about the ship that came for her family though the men do not understand and we learn that once Karana arrived in Mission Santa Barbara she received the news that the ship with the villagers had never arrived as it had sunk.
Karana finally leaves the island on the ship with Rontu-Aru and remembers the good times she had on the island with Won-a-nee and Rontu though she is happy to be leaving in a ship that is flanked by dolphins.
The final chapter is a note from the author, Scott O’Dell about the origins of the story. A woman, known as the Lost Woman of San Nicolas really did live on the island alone for nearly twenty years, from 1835-1853 and was eventually found living there with only her dog. No one could get the story from her as her language was unknown, but it is known that she ended up on the island alone after jumping ship and swimming back as Karana had done. The woman ended up being buried up on a hill by the Santa Barbara Mission, in a place that will likely be swept off to sea again someday according to scientists.
When they return from Mexico, Maya hears Big Bailey and Dolores fighting, as Dolores feels that Maya is ruining their relationship. After Big Bailey leaves, Maya tells Dolores that she never meant to come between them and feels happy with herself for doing such a good deed. Dolores responds by calling Vivian a whore and stabbing Maya with scissors.
Maya runs out and hides in her father’s car until he returns and takes her to a friend’s house to bandage her cut. Big Bailey takes Maya to another friend’s house for the night, returning the next day to give her money and promising to come back for her later. Maya takes the money and flees, knowing she does not want to face Big Bailey’s friends nor can she return to Vivian with the cut on her arm. She fears causing a rift between her mother and father because she remembers all too clearly the guilt she feels over the death of Mr. Freeman.
Maya finds herself with nowhere to go and spends the night in an abandoned car at a junk yard. When she wakes the next day she finds herself surrounded by a diverse group of laughing, homeless, teenagers.
They tell her she can stay if she follows the rules: no sleeping with anyone of the opposite sex, no stealing, and she must work to contribute her funds to the community. Maya stays with the group for one month, enjoying their sense of community and the dance contests they have on weekends. After one month, Maya asks Vivian to buy her a plane ticket to return home. Though the homeless teenagers are upset that she is leaving them, they wish the best for her.
Maya feels as though she has changed greatly over the summer though when she returns home she realizes she is not the only one who has changed. Bailey shows little interest in Maya’s tales and reveals that he and Vivian are no longer getting along. To attract Vivian’s attention Bailey begins to dress in fancy clothing like the men Vivian hangs around with and, also like them, he dates a white prostitute.
Vivian is furious, not realizing her influence in his behavior and tells him to clean up his act. Bailey decides to move out on his own despite the fact that he and Vivian have reconciled. Maya is very upset that Bailey is moving out, but he assures her that he will be fine on his own; it is simply time for him to move on.
Maya has a desire to work and decides that she would like to take a semester off of school and get a job. She is determined to become the first black person to ever work on a streetcar in San Francisco and after months of being persistent, she succeeds. When Maya finally decides to return to school, she feels more separated from her classmates than ever before because of all she experienced while she was away. She muses that, in America, black women face more than the average adolescent problems because they also have to deal with racism and sexism.
Maya believes that the reason black women have such strong personalities, characters, and beliefs is because of all the adversity they face.
Maya reads “The Well of Loneliness” by Radclyff Hall and it introduces her to lesbianism. She does not completely understand the concept, but she wonders if she is a lesbian because she feels different from the other girls. Her hips and breasts have yet to develop, and she has no hair under her arms, but Vivian tells her this is normal for someone her age.
Maya decides she must find a boyfriend to discover if she is a lesbian but finds that the boys at school are not interested in her because she has dark skin and kinky hair. Maya decides to ask one of her neighbors to have sex with her, but the result does not leave relieve Maya’s confusion. A few weeks later, Maya learns that she is pregnant.
Maya knows she is responsible for her pregnancy and places the blame on no one else though she is not sure what to do about it. She writes Bailey to ask his opinion, and he tells her to keep the pregnancy to herself until she is done with school because Vivian will not allow an abortion and will make her drop out of school.
Maya manages to keep her pregnancy secret until she is done with school and eight months along. When she tells Vivian and Daddy Clidell they accept the news and do not have anything negative to say to her about the situation, despite the fact that she is sure they do not approve. When Maya gives birth to her son, she feels awkward around him and is scared to touch him.
Vivian makes Maya sleep next to the baby when he is three weeks old, and Maya tries to stay awake all night, so she does not crush him, though she is unsuccessful. Later that night Vivian wakes Maya to show her that the baby has curled himself up the crook of her arm. She tells Maya that as long as her heart is in the right place she will never do wrong by him. Maya happily falls back asleep next to her son.
The Chaplain is arrested for various crimes, which are unspecified at the time, much to his shock. He is accused of forgery, of being Washington Irving, and of stealing plum tomatoes. A document that Yossarian forged the Chaplain’s name on some time ago is the only evidence that they have against him, and they sound ridiculous trying to justify their accusations.
The Chaplain is set free until they figure out how to punish him and he goes right to Colonel Korn to complain about the number of missions the men have to complete. Korn informs the Chaplain that all of the higher-ups agree with the idea of increasing the quota to whatever they want, and anyone who disagrees, such as Dr. Stubbs have been sent away.
Peckem moves into his new office which is Dreedle’s old office and learns that Scheisskopf has been promoted to general, making him Peckem’s new commanding officer which makes Peckem extremely aggravated. Peckem refuses to take any phone calls from Scheisskopf and cannot believe that such a dimwit could be in charge.
Apparently the leader of special services was being promoted to general, which would have been Peckem had he not already been promoted and instead went to his successor, Scheisskopf. Peckem is now stuck following Scheisskopf’s orders, as absurd as they may be, and he wants everyone to march.
Yossarian refuses to participate in any more missions and out of pity for the loss of Nately Cathcart and Korn decide to send him to Rome on leave. When in Rome Yossarian tells Nately’s whore about his death and she attacks him with a knife, as does her little sister, convinced that Yossarian is to blame for his death. She follows him everywhere he goes, including back to base, determined to seek revenge for Nately’s death, though it was not Yossarian’s fault.
The officers ask Yossarian to fly in nondangerous missions, but he refuses, knowing that someone else will be asked to fly in the more dangerous ones in his stead. He finds out that Nately’s whore, her sister, and the other ladies living in their building were flushed out by M.P.’s, and he is worried about them.
Yossarian and Milo head to Rome which is in a state of shambles and ruins beyond what he imagined. He learns from the old woman who lived in the whores’ apartment building that they were presented with a Catch-22, that the soldiers could do anything that the people could not stop them from doing, and the other Catch-22 was that they did not have to present the people with a written Catch-22.
Yossarian knows that Catch-22 does not exist, but it sticks around because people believe in it. Yossarian looks for Nately’s whore, and Milo gets distracted by a business opportunity. As he wanders he sees rapes, beatings, and corpses everywhere he looks, he even encounters Aarfy beating and raping a maid. M.P.’s burst in and apologize to Aarfy for interrupting him but arrest Yossarian who is doing nothing wrong for being in Rome without a pass.
Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn tell Yossarian that they want to send him home but because of Catch-22 they cannot. They decide that they would like to promote him to major so his only job would be to watch over them, but, in return, he would have to like them and approve of what they are doing. Yossarian does not want to betray his fellow soldiers, knowing that they will still have to fly an unspecified number of missions, but he thinks it is his only way out so he accepts. As he is leaving the office, he is stabbed by Nately’s whore who is dressed in disguise.
Yossarian is operated on in the hospital and when he awakens he see the Chaplain and Aarfy. He promises the Chaplain that he will not take Cathcart and Korn’s deal, though he had previously agreed to it. He realizes that his only friend who is still alive is Hungry Joe but the Chaplain tells him that Joe died in his sleep, apparently smothered by a cat.
Yossarian drifts in and out of dreams and remembers the day that Snowden died, telling Yossarian “I’m cold.” In an attempt to help Snowden, Yossarian opened his suit, but his entrails all spilled out and, in the entrails, Yossarian read, “The spirit gone, man is garbage”.
Yossarian tries to explain to General Danby about the offer Cathcart, and Korn gave him and why he cannot take it, as he must honor his friends who have died needlessly in war. He believes that he has no hope when the Chaplain tells him that Orr has washed up in Sweden, alive, and Yossarian knows that he does stand a chance. He gathers his clothes and leaves the hospital, headed toward Sweden to leave the war forever. As he is leaving Nately’s whore tries to stab him one more time, but he escapes her and runs off as fast as he can toward Sweden.
Vin sees Elend, now returned from his meet with the koloss army, inured and resting. Zanes comes and says that Cett was the one that planed the attack at the voting ceremony. Vin gets angry and decides to attack Cett. Zane and Vin attack the keep that Cett has been staying at in Luthadel. Together, they kill guards and hazekillers. Fueled by rage, Vin kills quickly, working her way to Cett’s room. She realizes that Zane is using atium, while she has none, and yet she’s killing just as easily as he is. They finally get to Cett’s room, where he is with his son. Vin fights them at first, but when she discovers that neither of them is an allomancer and that Cett doesn’t have a single allomancer with him, she leaves them behind, injured and scared.
The crew sees that Cett’s army is now leaving, a result of Vin’s attack on his keep the night before. Elend does not know why Vin attacked Cett like that. Some in the crew think she’s crazy, but Elend just sees her as determined. They also discover that the “coins” Jastes has been using to control the koloss are fake, wooden coins painted gold. Elend goes to find Vin, who is hiding in the city. He finds her with OreSeur’s help. She says she must leave Luthadel and go north, to Terris. Elend says he trust her to do the right thing. They have one large bead of atium, and Vin gives it to OreSeur to hold for her.
Sazed and Tindwyl compare notes, studying the rubbing and other references they’ve managed to find. Tindwyl admits that she doesn’t believe in these prophecies, her interest in them being purely academic. Sazed, on the other hand, thinks Vin might actually be the next Hero of the Ages. While they talk, they discover that someone–or something–has torn a piece from one of the transcription pages. Vin comes in, while they try to figure out at what point were they both gone or occupied to not have seen an intruder going through their things. Vin asks Sazed how she can know if she’s in love. They talk about trust. After Vin leaves, Elend comes in and starts asking similar questions. Elend thinks he and Vin are too different to make a couple, but Sazed says that, to him, they are more alike than they think. After Elend leaves, Sazed realizes that Luthadel is going to fall soon; he needs to get both Elend and Vin out of the city before that happens.
Sazed calls a meeting with the members of the crew: Dockson, Breeze, Ham, and Clubs. He doesn’t invite Elend, Vin, or Spook. They talk about how the city is sure to fall. Straff apparently is in no hurry to take Luthadel. Instead, he’ll back off and let the koloss attack the city first. The koloss will win and enter the city, pillaging as they go. Then, with the koloss weakened and tired from the fight, Venture will ride in like a hero and save the city, defeating the koloss and taking Luthadel for himself. Sazed says that Elend and Vin need to get out of the city before these things happen. He wants Spook and Tindwyl to go with them. The rest of the group will have to stay and fight and die. Meanwhile, Vin feels she must follow the drumming she hears all the time. In Straff’s camp, Zane is attacked by his father’s men. He defeats them, but spares his father. He leaves, saying that tonight he will take Vin with him and leave Luthadel. He tells Straff that he should wait for the koloss to attack and then take the city.
Vin is in her room with OreSeur when Zane visits. He wants her to come with him, but she says she can’t because she doesn’t want to leave Elend. When Zane sees that she won’t go, he attacks her. They fight. When Zane starts to burn atium, Vin asks OreSeur for the large bead, a bead Zan had given her before. OreSeur doesn’t respond to her command. Vin discovers that OreSeur is not OreSeur. He is TenSoon, Zane’s kandra. Of course! There was no other spy. The bones they found were TenSoon’s and he had killed OreSeur! Zane corners Vin, but Vin uses a massive soothing to take control of OreSeur/TenSoon and attack Zane from behind. She then cuts the bead of atium fro TenSoon. But this is another trick. The bead is lead, with only a thin layer of atium. Soon, Vin is left helpless against a Mistborn killer with atium. Vin decides that Zane can see what she’s about to do, or, rather, what she plans on doing. If she attacks without thinking, though, she can, see in Zane’s reaction what she is going to do, only to change it at the last possible second. The trick works, and Vin defeats Zane. After Zane dies, she thanks OreSeur/TenSoon for helping her win. His contract is void, and he must return to his people. Vin goes to find Elend.
Elend is in his study when Vin comes in, bloody from her fight with Zane. She tells him that she killed him. He calls for Sazed, who comes to help with the wounds. While she is there, on the ground, she asks Sazed if he knows any wedding ceremonies. Of course, he knows hundreds. Vin asks which one is the shortest, and Sazed recalls one that only requires a declaration of love between the bride and groom before an ordained witness. Vin and Elend both say that they love each other, and Sazed declares them married. The wounds are clean, and Sazed sends Vin to get some rest. He also gives them a fake map to find the Well of Ascension. If the couple follows the map, they’ll be gone from Luthadel for a long time.
Elend and Vin prepare to ride out of the city. Tindwyl decides to stay in Luthadel. Spooks gets ready to go, and Allrianne will ride out, at Breeze’s insistence. So the four of them ride out, Vin quickly having to fight pursuers from Straff’s army. Once they are free, Allrianne breaks off to find her father’s army. Meanwhile, some of the crew watch as the escape, now sure of their own coming doom. Straff Venture hears of the escapes, but he has problems of his own now. He’s getting sick, which he knows is the result of poisoning from his son, Zane. He sends for his mistress, Amaranta, to fix him an antidote, but he discovers that she isn’t preparing what she normally does. She is actually killing, as she has for a long time. There never was any poison. Zane never tried to kill his father. But Amaranta, in her constant fixing of teas for Straff, has been causing him to become addicted to a rare drug. Without that drug, Straff will die. Straff, in a rage, kills Amaranta and then swallows as much powder from her medicine cabnet as he can, hoping to accidentally swallow some of the drug he needs before he loses consciousness.
Allrianne has made her way to her father’s camp, with the help of some bandits she’s tamed with her rioting. Her father, Cett, is not happy to see her. She convinces him to go back and join the winning party in the battle that is to come, although Cett promises that will likely be Straff. Meanwhile, Elend wakes up on the third morning out of Luthadel. He and Vin share a tent now, and he finds himself surprisingly comfortable on the hard ground, with Vin next to him. They get up and prepare the fire. It’s just the three of them: Elend, Vin, and Spook. Meanwhile Straff wakes up in bed. His men have taken care of him, and they’ve isolated the plant he needs to stay alive. When he hears that Vin and Elend have left the city, the men ask if they should attack now. Straff says no; they should pull back and wait for the koloss. Sazed meets with the others to plan a strategy for when the koloss attack. They plan to have a group of men at each gate. Saze and Tindwyl get a little time together, but then the warning drums begin to beat.
Vin is thinking about how the mist is staying later and later every day, instead of just disappearing with dawn, when she feels the pulsing of the mist spirit coming from Elend’s tent. She runs in, just in time to see the outline of that spirit lift some kind of knife to attack Elend, who is sleeping on the ground. She attacks the spirit and it disappears. Elend wakes up and never knows what was happening. She leaves Elend to sleep a little more and goes out to speak with Spook. He thinks someone is following them. Meanwhile, Sazed and the crew get ready, since it looks like the Koloss are about to attack. Men are at each gate, with one crewmember there to help. Straff sees that the koloss are attacking, but he tells his men to wait. Vin and Elend attack the camp of people that have been following them. It turns out to be Jastes. He’s lost control of the koloss, so he just left them. Elend kills Jastes because of his crimes against Luthadel. Vin discovers that the drumming sounds are getting softer, meaning the well is to the south, in Luthadel, and not in the Terris mountains.
Breeze works at his assigned gate, soothing soldiers by the dozen, helping them to be brave and fight well. The koloss pound at the door, while men atop the wall rain arrows down on the attackers. The koloss throw rocks up in return, smashing archers. Meanwhile, Vin runs towards Luthadel, burning pewter. She knows she will run out of pewter long before reaching Luthadel, and she wonders if the effect will kill her. But still she keeps running. Breeze and Clubs talk while the koloss continue to beat the gate. They blame themselves for being stupid enough to be in this mess, and they blame Kelsier for getting them into such responsibilities. Just then, the gates burst open. Meanwhile, Sazed gets word that Breeze’s gate had fallen. He doesn’t think he can really help. He notices that there is a crowd of skaa standing behind the defense force. When Sazed confronts them, telling them that they should flee to safety inside the city, the skaa answer that they are there to witness the fall of the koloss at the hands of Vin, who they are sure will return and make her appearance at Sazed’s gate. Then the gate breaks. Sazed musters his stored strength, growing in size, and faces the lead koloss, shouting for the men to fight. Vin, half collapsing and out of pewter, reaching a small village. At first she thinks to ask for pewter, but then she remembers how she used to travel with Kelsier on a path of metal bars in the ground. She asks for horseshoes, using them to “walk” by leaping, placing horseshoes ahead of her and pulling the ones behind to place further. In this way, she uses the horseshoes like stilts to help her travel in the air.
Outside Luthadel, Straff Venture sees that the koloss have now broken into the city gates. His men are ready to attack the koloss from the rear, but Straff decides to wait longer. Sazed, fighting the koloss, realizes that they need to get the gate closed again in order to survive. Using strength and weight, he manages to fight off the koloss and get the gate closed again. While getting a little break, a messenger comes and says that Tindwyl’s gate fell over an hour ago. Meanwhile, Clubs and Breeze are attacked and forced to run. Clubs is killed, while Breeze hides in a building. Dockson contemplates the root of their failure. He attacks a koloss, only to be cut down. Straff decides not to swoop in a save the city while the koloss are weak. Instead, he’d rather wait for the koloss to kill everyone and burn the city. Then Straff will move in. Meanwhile, Sazed fights on, wondering what happened to Tindwyl. He feels he is going to die, but then Vin arrives and starts killing koloss. Breeze is found by Ham and some others. They want to try to escape.
Vin continues killing koloss, several at a time. Sazed, outside Lord Penrod’s keep, begs the newly appointed king to go with them as they try to escape. Penrod insists on staying inside his keep. Vin continues to fight the koloss, but now she is almost completely out of pewter, steel, and almost every other metal. In desperation, to save some skaa from certain death, she super-soothes them, like she’d done to TenSoon, controlling the koloss with her mind. Sazed is standing outside Penrod’s keep when Vin walks up with koloss in tow. She orders Penrod to gather his men and put out the fires in Luthadel. Vin will take care of the koloss throughout the city. Later, Sazed finds Tindwyl’s dead body among the slain soldiers. He feels that all the faith, all the religions, he has always treasured is now useless. His life, he believes, has been a sham.
Straff wakes up and takes a sample of the drug he needs to stay alive. He gathers his men, expecting to be able to take the city now. But the koloss come out with the remaining soldiers of Luthadel. Vin jumps from among the koloss, sailing through the sky with a giant sword, cleaving Straff and his horse in half on impact. Allrianne watches these events from her father’s camp. She charges after them to help Luthadel’s army, forcing her father and his men to ride after her. Straff’s army surrenders, and Janarle, Straff’s general, is named the new Lord of the Venture army. Janarle, Penrod, and Cett all swear loyalty to Elend as their Emperor. Vin, needing rest, leaves Sazed in charge of the Empire until Elend can return to Luthadel.