Julie of the Wolves
by Jean Craighead George
Julie of the Wolves Theme of Tradition and Customs
Whether she knows it or not, Miyax is smack dab in the middle of a battle between old traditions and new customs. In many ways, Julie of the Wolves is about the loss of Eskimo traditions and the consequences of that loss on members of the Alaskan community. The novel is full of stirringly beautiful, detailed accounts of various Eskimo traditions, and we watch as our girl Miyax (or shall we say Julie?) struggles to hold on to them. It's easy out on the tundra, when she has nothing else to rely on, but if she returns to town to live with her father, will she be able to resist the appeal of radio, electricity, and hey, reality TV?
Questions About Tradition and Customs
- Of all the Eskimo traditions that are mentioned in the novel, which one do you think is the most important to Miyax? How do you know?
- Which Eskimo traditions do you think are most vulnerable to being lost in favor of more modern practices?
- Why exactly does Miyax come to value Eskimo traditions so much?
- Why do you think Kapugen has given up so many of the traditions he used to cling to?
Chew on This
Miyax loves Eskimo tradition so much for purely self-interested reasons; Eskimo traditions literally keep her alive on the tundra.
In giving up a lot of his old Eskimo traditions, Kapugen is merely being practical. Many of those traditions serve no purpose in the modern world.