Julie of the Wolves in written in a non-linear structure. The three-part narrative shifts from the present to the past and back to the present. The novel can be an excellent starting point from which to teach the concepts of flashback and in medias res. Have the students use three storyboard cells to break the story into its essential three parts. Under each square have students explain the setting, time frame, and important plot details for that section of the book. Using storyboard graphics, students should then try to capture a scene that they find most essential to that part of the book. For an optional fourth square, have students write an analysis of the structure, explaining how the order of events affects the development of the story and the reader’s experience.
The story begins in medias res. Miyax is already out on the tundra, starving, and trying to make friends with the nearby wolf pack. In the first third of the book, we get to know the wolves and watch Miyax use her father's wisdom to survive alone in the wild. We learn that fear and unhappiness led Miyax to run away, but we don't know any details.
The second part of the book is a flashback. It tells about Miyax's life in civilization and explains why she ran away and ended up lost in the tundra. In this section, we learn more about Miyax's deep love for her father Kapugen and her dislike of her aunt Martha and her child husband, Daniel.
In the last part of the book, Miyax has to decide where to make a life: in the village with humans or in the tundra with wolves. Her past meets her present when she discovers that Kapugen is not dead as she had thought, but alive and well. In this last part, Miyax makes a choice to leave the tundra and return to civilization with her father.
The structure of "Julie of the Wolves" helps create excitement and suspense. By beginning with the wolf pack, the book hooks the reader's interest and tells us this will be an adventure story. This beginning also reveals that the wolves will be some of the most important characters in the book.
The narrator's hints about Miyax's past in Part 1 keep the reader in suspense until her background is revealed in Part 2. By Part 3, we see that Miyax is conflicted between her life in Part 1 and Part 2. Part 3 contains the resolution in which Miyax will choose one life over the other.
Grade Level 6-8
Difficulty Level 5 (Advanced / Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual or PartnerCommon Core Standards
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Create a storyboard that illustrates the three essential parts of Julie of the Wolves.
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