Study Guide

Kapu in Julie of the Wolves

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More wolves with personality. Kapu, Amaroq's son and eventual leader of the pack, is like a brother to Miyax. When we first meet him, he seems playful, fun, and curious about Miyax: "The black puppy was looking at her and wagging his tail" (1.39). He's clearly the bravest of the puppies.

Indeed it's exactly the bravery he shows by approaching her that inspires her to name the wolf Kapu. Miyax tells him, "You are very fearless and very smart. […] Now I know why you are special. You are wealthy and the leader of the puppies. There is no doubt what you'll grow up to be. So I shall name you after my father Kapugen, and I shall call you Kapu for short." (1.66)

Kapu will be the leader of the pack one day, and he totally acts the part. He treats his fellow pups like the future Amaroq that he is by leading the pups in their roughhousing session with Jello (1.59), and being the only one bold enough to pay Miyax a visit (1.65). He's clearly the boss, and does what he wants (as long as his mother, Silver, allows it, of course).

Brother from Another (Wolf) Mother

But like many of the other characters in the novel, it's not Kapu himself who's all that fascinating; it's what he means to Miyax that makes us care. Right from the start, Kapu and Miyax become best friends, even siblings of sorts. When he steals her mitten, it's clear that it's in the spirit of fun and friendship. Our narrator tells us, "Of course, she was his big sister and he wanted to play" (1.123). Plus, when Amaroq finally invites Miyax to share the wolves' sleeping den, "Kapu [curls] against her leg" (1.189). You have to admit – that's pretty cute. Plus, when the wolves begin their nomadic winter life, Kapu stays a friend to Miyax. He even brings her food in the form of a spare caribou leg (3.64). Now that's a thoughtful wolf.


Unfortunately, Kapu is growing up fast, and by the end of the novel, he has come into his own as the new leader of the pack. First though, he must undergo training, which Miyax witnesses when she sees Amaroq and Kapu go off alone together. Watching them, she knows that "To be a leader required not only fearlessness and intelligence, but experience and schooling. The head of a wolf pack needed to be trained, and who better to do this than Amaroq?" (3.116). Fearlessness and intelligence Kapu has in spades. Now he just needs to know how to use it.

By the end of the novel, it's clear that he has learned everything he needs to from Amaroq, because he successfully takes his place as the alpha male of the pack. But it's not without difficulty. Kapu is injured in the hunting incident that kills Amaroq, and before he can take over the pack, he has to heal under Miyax's care. She really is his big sister, huh?

And part of being a big sister is letting go, so when Kapu takes his rightful place as leader of the pack, Miyax turns to her bird friend Tornait and says, "Kapu's leading the hunt. All's well […] and now we must leave them" (3.180).

Although he's like a brother to Miyax, Kapu has his own wolf-life to live. And unfortunately, we'll never learn anything more about him because he and Miyax have parted ways for good.

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