Julie of the Wolves. Jean Craighead George. Introduction. This book describes a young girl’s battle between the old and the new. Are the old Eskimo ways better than the new gussak ways? Is there a way to have both? Which will she choose? . The book is divided into three parts:
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Jean Craighead George
This book describes a young girl’s battle between the old and the new. Are the old Eskimo ways better than the new gussak ways? Is there a way to have both? Which will she choose?
Amaroq, the wolf
Miyax, the girl
Kapugen, the hunter
In this section we are introduced to Miyax, also known as Julie. She is a thirteen year old Eskimo girl who is lost on the Alaskan tundra. Miyax has made contact with a wolf pack which she is trying to befriend. The leader, a large black wolf, reminds Miyax of her dead father. She calls the proud leader of the wolf pack, Amaroq.
Amaroq eventually accepts Miyax and treats her as one of the wolf pups. He anticipates her needs and tries to supply the basics for her.
Miyax lost her mother at the age of four and her father in his grief carried her to a seal camp. Her life there was very different as she learned the old Eskimo way of life. At the age of nine, Miyax was forced to leave her father and return to civilization with
Kapugen’s Aunt Martha. Miyax then becomes Julie. In Mekoryuk, she begins a new life especially after hearing of Kapugen’s disappearance and apparent death. Aunt Martha does not approve of Julie’s new friends and curtails her activities.
Aunt Martha feels the old ways are best until the day arrives when Julie is requested to go to Barrow and marry Naka’s son as arranged by Kapugen and Naka before Kapugen disappeared. Julie accepts and the
next stage of her life begins. In Barrow Julie marries Daniel who has “a few problems”. Her life settled down to cooking, sewing, school, and studying. She saw very little of Daniel until one day he wanted to change the arrangement. Miyax decided it was time to leave.
In this final section of the book, Miyax uses the many skills her father taught her as a young child. Through his teachings, Miyax knows how to capture and kill small game, create needed items like a sled and snowshoes, and how to locate the coast now that night has fallen.
Towards the end of the book, Julie plays hostess to a couple and their baby. Before this couple leaves, she gains a surprising piece of news which leads Julie in another direction.
In the end, Julie must decide whether the old Eskimo ways are better or if she is willing to learn the new gussak way of living. Which will she choose? Only time will tell.
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George, Jean C. (1972). Julie of the Wolves. New York, NY. Harper Trophy HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Rose M. Layton
Summer I, 2003
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