Julie of the Wolves tells the story of a young Eskimo girl, Miyax, who survives in the Arctic by making friends with a wolf pack. Throughout her adventure, she falls in love with the majesty of the natural world and struggles to accept that she must return to civilization. So vivid is Jean Craighead George’s depiction of the animal world that readers will fall in love with the wolves alongside Miyax. The novel introduces readers to the unique biome of the Arctic and the unique behaviors of the gray wolf. It also depicts many aspects of traditional Inuit culture and explores the challenges of assimilation and modernization felt by the native peoples.
Julie of the Wolves Summary Julie of the Wolves Plot Diagram
Miyax, a 13-year-old girl in the Pacific Northwest, lives between two worlds: the world of the Eskimo and the world of 1970s America. Although she has inherited Eskimo knowledge and pride from her father Kapugen, she now lives with her Aunt Martha in the modern village of Mekoryuk.
To escape Aunt Martha, Miyax agrees to a marriage arrangement with an Eskimo boy named Daniel. Being married to Daniel is like having a brother until Daniel tries to attack Miyax. After this, Miyax decides to run away to her pen pal, Amy, in San Francisco.
On her way to San Francisco, Miyax becomes lost on the vast Arctic tundra. She is desperate for food and befriends a nearby wolf pack in order to gain meat and protection. As Miyax studies the wolf leader Amaroq and his family, she learns their ways and finds a way to survive in the frigid Arctic wilds.
When autumn arrives, Miyax uses the course of the migrating birds to direct her back to civilization. As she sees increasing signs of human presence, she realizes her wolf pack is in danger. When a plane flies over the tundra, hunters wound the young wolf Kapu and kill Amaroq, Miyax’s adopted wolf father.
Miyax stays on the tundra until Kapu’s wounds have healed. Then, she returns to the human world in search of her long-lost father. She finds Kapugen, but realizes that he has begun to assimilate to the gussak ways. Miyax decides to return to the wild.
As Miyax heads back to the tundra, her pet plover Tornait dies. She understands this as a sign that “the hour of the wolf and the Eskimo is over”. The days of living closely with nature are no longer realistic. Miyax turns back toward her father’s village.