The language of Julie of the Wolves is simple and clear in terms of sentence structure but the embellished, metaphoric and poetic language adds some challenge for young non-native English speaking teenagers. The metaphoric language and similes reflect the mood in the story. For instance, the simile “She felt a rhythmical beat, like the rumble of Eskimo drums” (George 55) kindles the reader’s imagination and creates suspense. By comparing the Eskimo’s drums to a herd of caribou, that is to animals, the reader recognizes that the Eskimos live close to nature. Additionally, the vocabulary can be quite sophisticated in some passages: “The elegant Arctic terns cut swirls in the sky […] the snow buntings flitted and called.” (George 49). This underlines the peaceful atmosphere. The narrator also describes the environment in detail, the appearance of some people, like Miyax and her father, smells and tastes, as well as the wolves, so that the readers can get a clear picture. For example Silver’s appearance is described very positively: “Silver moved in a halo of light, the sun sparkled on the guard hairs that grew out over the dense underfur and she seemed to glow.” (George 17) “She leaped with grace, her fur gleaming like metal” (George 31). This shows the beauty and elegance of the wolves.
Moreover, the wolves have human-like traits. For instance, they have names; Kapu has even the name of Miyax’ father Kapugen and the pack adopts Miyax as one of their own members.
Furthermore, some Eskimo words such as ee-lie, ayi and ilaya are found in the text as they are uttered by Julie from time to time. It is not clear what the words mean, which gives the readers some space for speculations and adds a cultural aspect to the novel. Sometimes the words can be guessed from the context “Amaroq, ilaya, wolf, my friend”. This shows that the meaning of the word ilaya is probably “wolf”. In addition, the readers learn about Eskimo objects that appear in the story, like ulo or kuspuk. The ulo, for example, is described as a “half-moon shaped woman´s knife” (George 12). Also some words (like ulo and kuspuk) are terms for objects that cannot be translated directly into one English word.
By adding the Eskimo words to the English language in the story, the author makes the reader aware that Miyax lives in two worlds and two cultures: her Eskimo origin and the American influence. The fact that she is given an Eskimo (Miyax) and an American (Julie) name also emphasizes the two different worlds she is confronted with and shows her split character.
The book is divided into three parts. The first and third part take place in the wilderness, whereas the second part serves as a flashback, explaining Julie´s life before her journey through the Alaskan wilderness and depicting the event that has led her to run away from her in-laws. This division of the plot and the absence of smaller chapters may make it more challenging to read for children and younger teenagers. However, the non-chronological storytelling highlights the main thrust of the plot – the living with the wolves. The flashback in the second part only gives the reader background information to understand the context of the story.