Julie of the Wolves – Literature – Themes

Friendship is necessary to help one to survive:

The friendship between Miyax and the wolves is crucial to the story. Without them she would be lost and starve to death. She learns how to imitate their actions by watching them to get their attention. Of special importance is the relationship between her and Amaroq, the leader of the wolves. She shows her inferiority and her affection to him in wolf language. Thus, she gets accepted by him. So the wolf pack gives her something to eat as they share their prey with her and protect her, for instance from a bear attack. A deeper friendship between her and Kapu, a young wolf develops when they play together and share their meals. Later she helps him torecover after he is wounded by the Americans.

In the wilderness the first priority is survival:

Miyax can only make her way to San Francisco if she is strong enough and has enough food to eat. She cannot make it if she is hungry or cold. Therefore, the first priority is to survive. What she does first in the story is to look for food and to prepare food supplies for the winter. She also has to make herself warmer clothes. With that, she is ready for her journey through the wilderness.

Everyone needs a family:

Miyax’s first family is her father. He is there to show her everything about the Eskimo culture and she learns a lot from him. Later, when he disappears, she moves to her aunt, and from there to her family in-law after she marries Daniel. She needs this family too as they give her work and a place to sleep. However, she is not happy. After she has fled from her husband, she finds a new family: the wolf pack. She calls Amaroq her adopted father. She needs the wolves to be able to survive in the wilderness and to make her feel less lonely.

Stay true to yourself:

When Miyax stays with her family in-law and her husband Daniel, she feels miserable due to the influence of the American society and Daniel´s behavior. Her in-laws and classmates refuse to speak Eskimo, which is her language and part of her. Her pen pal Amy, who sends her letters regularly, offers the opportunity to escape from the unpleasant situation. After the attempted rape of her husband, Miyax realizes that she has to change her ways: “When fear seizes […] change what you are doing. You are doing something wrong” (George 102). Julie realizes that she cannot continue to live in a marriage against her will, nor can she stay in a community that does not respect her Eskimo heritage. A further example of this realization can be seen when she decides to change her name. She is called Julie when she lives with her in-laws. “Miyax”, however, is her Eskimo name. After leaving Mekoryuk she says: “Julie is gone. […] I am Miyax now” (George 104). Later in the story she decides to live like a real Eskimo and skip the plan of going San Francisco, when she witnesses the American hunters killing wolves for sport. She is becoming more and more aware what is her real identity – Miyax, the Eskimo girl.