Study Guide

Julie of the Wolves Isolation

By Jean Craighead George

Isolation

Miyax was lost. (1.2)

Well, folks, you can't get much more lonely than that, now can you? Just imagine how you would feel if you were the only human on an expanse of grass that stretches for hundreds of miles in every darn direction.

"Maybe you'll learn to like it so much, you'll travel with me," she said, and threw him another chunk of meant. "That would be nice, for I will be lonely without you." (1.242)

Though she's lost, Miyax manages not to be so lonely after all. Turns out, the tundra is full of friends, as long as you know how to find them. Her bird-friend Tornait is another example of this.

The wind, the empty sky, the deserted earth – Miyax had felt the bleakness of being left behind once before. (2.1)

What a sad, sad moment. The loss of the wolves feels just as awful as the loss of her mother, which just goes to show how important they were to her.

The wind blew across the water, shattering the tips of the waves and shooting ice-sparklets north with the storm. "Kapugen!" she called. No one answered. Kapugen was gone. The earth was empty and bleak. (2.42)

Sometimes it really seems like Miyax is just destined to lose everyone she cares about. Let's tally it up, shall we? Her mother, Kapugen, Amaroq, Tornait. The list goes on.

She walked to the beach, climbed onto the ice, and looked back. No one was on the street but a single tourist who was photographing the sun in the sky. His back was to her. (2.140)

How courageous our heroine must be, if she's willing to brave the Alaskan wilderness all by herself.

"Amaroq," she called again, then ran down the slope and climbed to the wolf den. The site was silent and eerie and the puppies' playground was speckled with bleached bones like tombstones in a graveyard. (3.2)

What an image. The wolves of course have not died; they've only left Miyax behind. But nevertheless, their departure is chilling.

The wind twisted a strand of her hair, and as she stood on the wolf hill she felt the presence of the great animals she had lived with: Amaroq, Nails, Silver, Kapu. She wondered if she would ever see them again. (3.6)

Miyax is probably feeling pretty lonely right now, sure, but do you notice how the presence of the wolves still lingers?

When the eerie feeling of being watched persisted, Miyax began to wonder if the vast nothingness was driving her mad, as it did many <em>gussaks.</em> (3.27)

Being alone isn't just a sad feeling – it's a scary one. Do you think all that nothingness might drive you crazy, too?

Always she listened for her pack, but they did not call. She was both glad and miserable. (3.187)

It sure seems like, for Miyax, being alone is always a mixture of sadness and happiness. Sadness, because there's no one to keep her company, and happiness because she feels secure in her ability to survive on her own.

Ellen went into the kitchen and Miyax was alone.

Slowly she picked up Tornait, put on her sealskin parka, and placed the little bird in her hood. Then she snapped on the radio, and as it crackled, whined, and picked up music, she opened the door and softly closed it behind her. Kapugen, after all, was dead to her. (3.255-56)

Poor Miyax. She has lost her father all over again. She must feel more alone now than ever.