In Julie of the Wolves , Miyax is a thirteen-year-old Eskimo girl who is desperately trying to survive in the wilderness with the help of a wolf pack that she actually manages to join. In the first part of the novel, Miyax (whose English name is Julie) integrates herself with...
In Julie of the Wolves, Miyax is a thirteen-year-old Eskimo girl who is desperately trying to survive in the wilderness with the help of a wolf pack that she actually manages to join. In the first part of the novel, Miyax (whose English name is Julie) integrates herself with the wolves through her patience, cleverness, and keen observation skills. By watching the wolves, she learns how they communicate and thus how to communicate with them. As she struggles to survive, she learns how to be independent and to put the skills her father taught her to good use. She has built a shelter, and she spends much of her time gathering, cooking, and preserving food, helped by the wolves.
One day, though, she visits the wolves' den and finds that they are gone. Miyax is now all alone, and she turns to her memories. Here the second part of the novel begins, and we learn Miyax's backstory. After years of living the Eskimo way of life with her father, Miyax is forced to go to school and live with her aunt Martha. Now called Julie, Miyax has difficulties fitting in at school, and eventually she learns that her father has disappeared on a hunting trip. Miyax is then sent to her father's friend Naka and his family. Her father long ago arranged for Miyax to be married to Naka's son, Daniel, and she agrees to do so. They live as brother and sister because of Miyax's youth, but one day Daniel attacks her. Miyax leaves. This is why she is out on the tundra alone in the first section of the book.
By the opening of the novel's third part, Miyax has already become much more independent, courageous, and resourceful than she has ever been. She has no choice. If she is going to survive, she must learn quickly how to make the most of what she has and not to give up no matter how hard circumstances may be. Miyax has also developed a more balanced perspective of her past and herself. She does not want to be “Julie” but rather “Miyax.” Her Eskimo heritage is central to her life, and now she has a much stronger connection with the natural world through her relationship with the wolves. Miyax has many more challenges yet to face, but she is learning how to meet them head on and remain strong and brave and determined no matter what happens to her.