Julie of the Wolves

by Jean George

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How does Miyax get lost in the Alaskan tundra at the start of Julie of the Wolves?

Quick answer:

Miyax gets lost on her way to Point Hope across the Alaskan tundra by mistakenly believing that plants and birds point the way for wanderers. As a result, what she thinks is the tundra is actually an ocean of grass she's been circling around and around.

Expert Answers

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As we learn right at the start of Julie of the Wolves Miyax is lost. Not only that, but she's hungry and has been without food for "many sleeps" on the North Slope of Alaska.

Miyax never believed for one moment that she could ever get lost. As she tells the black wolf Amaroq, at home on Nunivak Island, the place where she was born, it was widely believed that plants and birds pointed the way for wanderers. She thought that this applied everywhere, not just her home island.

However, she's discovered to her cost that this isn't the case at all, and she finds herself without a natural compass to guide her. Because of this, two days previously, she came to the sudden realization that what she thought was the tundra was actually an ocean of grass on which she'd been circling around and around.

The fear that this realization caused has returned as Miyax closes her eyes. As she opens them, she is excited to see Amaroq looking right at her. But this is the only reason she has at this precise moment to be excited, as she is still hopelessly lost, far from her destination, and without anything to eat.

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