In Julie of the Wolves, what strategies does Miyax use to measure time and space since she doesn't have a map or clock?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miyax knows from lessons she learned from her father that "time in the Arctic (is) the rhythm of life".  She measures the days and nights according to what she knows about the Arctic seasons, and the position of the sun at different times of the year.  The endless days and nights of the far Northern regions do not confuse her; she observes the actions of the wildlife around her and adjusts herself accordingly.  It does not matter that "the clocks in Barrow would say it was time to get ready for bed".  Living on her own in the Arctic, Miyax would be just getting up, "for she was on wolf time...since there was no darkness to hamper her vision, night was as good a time to work as day".

Because it is summer when Miyax sets out over the tundra, there is no night to speak of, and no stars by which she can determine directionality.  At first, "the dips and heaves of the tundra spread out all around her and...(look) the same in every direction", but as she examines her surroundings more closely, she notices small details, such as where lichens grow on the frost heaves, and how the flow of ice is affected by the wind.  Miyax knows that if she observes things carefully enough, "the face of the tundra (would) emerge...(and) tell her which way was north".  Indeed, when the Arctic terns begin their migration to the south, Miyax is able to follow their flight and determine in which direction she, too, should continue in her journey to Point Hope (Part 1).