Tornait is Miyax's last tangible link to her Eskimo heritage in its unsullied form. When the bird dies, Miyax accepts that she has no choice but to accept that things are changing, and that she has nowhere else to go but back to Kapugen.
Miyax is a girl caught between two cultures, that of her Eskimo origins and that of the white world that is taking over Alaska. Her Eskimo traditions are not perfect, as when she is lost on the tundra she is running away from a marriage forced upon her as a child, a practice not uncommon in her culture. On the tundra, however, Miyax learns to appreciate the best elements of her heritage and the oneness with nature that is at its core. She finds a home with a family of wolves, and the wild bird that she calls Tornait.
When her wolf pack is ravaged by white hunters attacking from the air, she finds her way off the tundra to return to her father Kapugen, whom she remembers fondly as having been firmly entrenched in the old ways. To her dismay, she discovers that Kapugen has married a white woman, and that he now works for the white men, flying the planes on which they ride to hunt the wildlife on the tundra. Feeling that Kapugen is "dead to her" now, Miyax takes Tornait and resolves to live like an Eskimo on her own. When Tornait dies, however, Miyax realizes that "the hour of the wolf and the Eskimo is over". Accepting the inevitable, she turns back towards Kapugen, whom she knows at least loves her (Part 3 - "Kapugen, the Hunter").