Study Guide

Julia in The One and Only Ivan

By Katherine Applegate

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Ivan's Agent

George's daughter Julia is the kindest, most generous, and most reliable human in Ivan's life. She is Ivan's loyal companion, art teacher, and muse, and when it comes down to it, she's also his agent. Julia believes in Ivan and encourages him as an artist, and if it weren't for Julia, the world may have never seen Ivan's final masterpiece. She never gives up on Ivan, and is the person who solves the puzzle that ultimately gets Ivan and Ruby to the zoo. Not only is she like his art agent, then, but she's also an agent for change in this book.

She's All Good

As a character, Julia is consistently good. Side by side, Ivan and Julia bring out the best in each other, and though Ivan isn't particularly fond of kids—namely the ones who taunt him and throw things at the glass—he sees Julia as different. She makes him want to be a better, er, gorilla.

Julia recognizes Ivan's isolation. She too hasn't had an easy life, and kids at school tease her about her outdated clothes and her family's lack of money, which makes her feel self-conscious. Julia also understands Ivan's need for comfort, which she gives by spending time near him, since she has a very sick mother herself. It is Julia who gives Ivan the stuffed gorilla (Not-Tag) to keep him company, a gesture that transcends language to communicate to him in no uncertain terms that she understands and cares for him.

If Mack represents humans who fail to respect animals, then Julia represents humans who totally get how awesome and valuable animals are. Instead of being hung up on how animals aren't human, the only distinctions Julia makes are between right and wrong. She might be a kid, but Julia's pretty much a model person in this book.

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