Julie of the Wolves

by Jean George

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How does color play an important role in Part 2 of Julie of the Wolves?

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This is a very interesting question because it has to do with the differences between the places where the young Julie is living:  the seal camp near the Alaskan village of Mekoryuk, her aunt's house in Mekoryuk (where Julie is "Americanized"), and her marital home in Barrow, Alaska.

When Julie is living out her childhood in the seal camp near Mekoryuk, Julie's life is described as "infinitely good."  The reason why is because Julie is learning the "old ways" of the Eskimo people in harmony with nature.  As a result, all of the colors in this section compare with the earthly colors of a small town near the coast of Alaska.  There are a lot of grays, browns, and tans involved here:  the colors of furs, seals, and the coast.

When Julie is "Americanized" at her Aunt Martha's house, the most important color is blue because of her pen pal's reference to the interesting idea of "blue jeans."  These "blue jeans" come to represent the "civilized" world of San Francisco and the mainland.  As Julie continues in school, she longs to go live with Amy in San Francisco and wear "blue jeans" herself.

The colors are all dulled (and almost non-existent) after Julie is forced to marry and move to Barrow.  Most striking are Daniel's "dull eyes" when Julie first sees him.  The dulled colors of this part are a direct reference to Julie's misery and to the mental illness of her husband.

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