Since Miyax does not have a watch or map, what strategies does she use to measure time and space?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Julie/Miyax continually uses the "old ways" of the Eskimo to successfully determine time and space.

The first way Julie is successful in determination of time and space is by using natural landmarks. Julie originally wishes to escape to San Francisco. To do this, she is looking for a particular range of mountains. When Julie spies the Alaskan Brooks Range, she knows she is approaching the "safety" of the vast North Slope of the Arctic: the eventual passage to Point Hope. This is her strategy and her way.

There are some natural signs that Julie mistakenly takes for granted, however. For example, the tundra is completely barren. With the exception of its entrance (the Brooks Range) the whole tundra looks exactly the same. Julie wants to depend upon the North Star, but it will not be visible in the Arctic sky for another month. This is dangerous. Once the North Star appears, however, Julie is easily able to determine direction.

Another thing Julie uses to determine time and space is animal migration. The Arctic terns migrate in a certain direction. Julie uses this migration to easily chart her course by the direction of their flight. This allows her to point herself, correctly, towards Point Hope again. The wolves' migration also help Julie determine weather. Any time the wolves simply drop food at Julie's door, she knows it is going to get colder. The pack even calls to her to come with them to a safer place, but Julie is unable to pack quickly enough and the wolves are forced to simply allow her to catch up.