OF THE BABY NAME JULIE
Julie Dozier is a character in Edna Ferber’s 1926 novel, Show Boat, which was adapted to a Broadway musical by Jerome Kern in 1927, and which has had several revivals and film adaptations. Julie is an actress on the show boat, “Cotton Blossom", who has a huge (for the times) secret – she is of partial African-American descent, and her husband (gasp!) is white. There being laws against this sort of thing, the couple must always be on the alert, as their marriage is illegal. When a crewman makes unwanted overtures to Julie, her husband attacks him, and the crewman goes to the law and rats out the couple, who are dismissed from the company. Julie goes on to make a living as a prostitute, and it is never revealed what becomes of her husband. Bummer. At least in the musical version, she gets to sing “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man”, and that must have cheered her up somewhat.
Julie is a minor character in Alexandre Dumas’ 1844 extremely popular romantic adventure, The Count of Monte Cristo, the story of Edmond Dantes, who is wrongfully imprisoned and wreaks revenge on the perpetrators. He also does good by his supporters, among whom is Julie’s father, Monsieur Morrel, Dantes’ former employer. Julie is an uncomplicatedly good and true daughter and she cooperates with Dantes in recouping her father’s fortune. She does her duty, she reaps her rewards, she gets married, and she doesn’t get too much in the way of this fantastically complex plot. For which we are grateful!
Julie is the main character in Jean Craighead George’s 1972 children’s novel of the same name. Julie is a young Yupik (Eskimo) runaway girl who survives on her own by living with wolves. By watching them intently and gradually gaining their trust, Julie (whose Yupik name is Miyax) is able to survive physically and emotionally. She builds a close bond with them, especially with the alpha male and his son. Naturally, human-kind encroaches upon this edenic existence. A hunting party kills the lead male and seriously wounds his son. Julie nurses him back to health until he can take his place as the pack’s leader. For the good of the pack, she weans herself away from them and returns to her father’s house, sadly acknowledging the modern impractical nature of such close interaction between species.
Miss Julie is the protagonist of August Strindberg’s 1888 one-act play of the same name. She is a twenty-five year old aristocrat who makes a play for her father’s valet, with disastrous results. Julie has all of the inbred haughtiness and arrogance of her social class, yet she longs to be wild and free of her father’s domination. Flinging all decorum aside, she as good as seduces the valet and importunes upon him to run away with her. Jean, the valet, though socially inferior, is more than equal to her demands, and makes a few of his own, as well. He deeply resents his lowly position and has grandiose plans for self-betterment, plans in which he intends to include Miss Julie, plans which go badly awry. The implicit warning is found in Jean’s explanation of his own class’ handling of what her class takes for granted: “Miss Julie… (W)e love as we play – when work gives us time. We haven’t the whole day and night for it as you.” Indeed.