Julie of the Wolves Study Guide

Julie of the Wolves By Jean Craighead George

The story of Miyax, the Alaskan Eskimo girl who lives with wolves, is told in three parts - the opening, in which she gains acceptance from the wolfpack; the flashback, which reveals the story of how she got there; and then the closing, in which she is reunited with her father and accepts the loss of her Eskimo culture.

In the first part, Miyax studies the wolves, and learns how they communicate. She develops an understanding of the pecking order, and she is able to adjust to their living patterns. Finally, she approaches the least-dominant male in the pack, and convinces him that she outranks him. By doing this, she earns a place in the pack.

In the second part, it is revealed that Miyax lived with her father, Kapugen, in a traditional Eskimo setting, until a new law forces Kapugen to go to war and Miyax to go to school. She moved in with her aunt in the town of Mekoryuk while she goes to school under her American name, Julie. Soon, she reaches marriageable age, and her aunt attempts to marry her off to a troubled boy who tries to rape her. She runs away to live with her penpal, Amy, in San Francisco, changing her name back to Miyax along the way.

In part three, back in the present, Miyax realizes that her pack is in danger, as it is open season on wolves. The alpha male is killed by hunters who shoot from a plane, and Miyax realizes that she is a danger to the pack. She forces the pack to abandon her, and tries to renew her human existence. She happens upon news that her father is still alive, and rushes to meet him, only to find him married to an American woman and fully Americanized. She runs away, but eventually realizes the inevitability of Americanization, and returns to Kapugen to live a 'normal' life.

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