Julie of the Wolves
by Jean Craighead George
Poor Jello. This wolf just can't win. He's Miyax's main rival when it comes to getting food, and because Miyax is accepted as a pup in the pack, Jello is doomed to lose that battle.
From the beginning, it's clear Jello doesn't quite fit in. When the wolves pay tribute to their leader, Amaroq, Silver snaps at him, and "Jello pulled his ears together and back. He drew himself down until he looked smaller and smaller" (1.50). When the other adult wolves – Amaroq, Silver, and Nails – go off to hunt, Jello is told by Silver to stay behind and babysit:
"But Jello did not run far. Silver turned and looked him straight in the eye. She pressed her ears forward aggressively and lifted her tail. With that, Jello went back to the puppies" (1.56).
From little moments like these, we can tell that Jello doesn't have a lot of power in the wolf pack. Things only get worse as time passes, and unfortunately his low place on the totem pole makes him an enemy of Miyax. It's almost as if he resents her for being a part of the pack.
Take, for example, this scene, when Miyax runs into Jello at the caribou kill:
Jello snarled. "That's not nice," she said. "Go away!" He growled fiercely and she realized she had not seen him with the rest of the pack for several sleeps. He was not even baby-sitting now, for the pups went out again with their mother at night. (1.238)
Now that the pups are growing older, it seems like Jello is no longer needed in the pack. That makes him very vulnerable, because he won't be guaranteed protection from Amaroq. How can a wolf survive all by himself, without a pack to hunt with?
Jello's No Super-Wolf
As it turns out for Jello, a wolf can't survive at all on his own. We get our first hint that Jello might be headed for trouble when Miyax watches the wolves depart:
Scrambling to her feet she watched the pack run along the horizon, a flowing line of magnificent beasts, all cooperating for the sake of each other, all wholly content – except Jello. He ran head down, low to the ground – in the manner of a lone wolf.
"That is not good," she said aloud. (1.256-57)
Jello is barely a member of the pack anymore, and because of that, he has trouble getting enough food. So he does the only thing he can do to survive – he steals Miyax's pack, with all her food and supplies in it (3.40).
Bad move, Jello. The pack turns on him for threatening Miyax's survival, and they rip him to pieces. Perhaps our girl sums it up best when she says, "You've got to be a super-wolf to live. […] Poor Jello was not" (3.51).
Jello reminds us that it's not easy out there in the wild – even for a wolf. And if it's this tough for a dude whose biology intends for him to be on the tundra, imagine just how hard it must be for Miyax.Timeline