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Sal, both enthusiastic and personally reflective as a storyteller, narrates Walk Two Moons. She layers her narrative with a complexity that reflects the complexity of human experience and consciousness. Sal tells the story of events immediately preceding her trip to Idaho during the trip itself, and she intersperses both of these narratives with stories. This structure reflects Sal's struggle to come to terms with a painful event in her past, namely the loss of her mother. She can reconcile herself with this tragic loss only gradually, by reliving it through the lives of others, by reflecting on it, by retelling it, and by reliving it through her own present experiences. The complex emotions resulting from her mother's death—guilt, anger, grief, a sense of abandonment, fear—cause Sal to withdraw, and to a small extent, to live within a fantasy world. Sal spends little time with her father and often treats him with suspicion and resentment, and she hides her complicated past, or neglects to share it, with her closest friends. Moreover, she decides to visit Idaho on the basis of a vain hope that her mother is not really dead, or that by wishing hard enough, Sal can bring her back to life. Throughout the novel, however, Sal faces and meets a number of challenges. For example, she attends school and makes new friends, she helps Phoebe understand and solve the "mystery" of Mrs. Winterbottom's disappearance, she reconciles herself to her father's new friend, Margaret Cadaver, she makes a perilous trek down a mountainside to visit her mother's grave, and she stands by her grandfather when her grandmother dies. By the end of the novel, Sal has accepted the fact of her mother's sadness and confusion prior to her departure, and, more importantly, has accepted her death. This acceptance allows Sal to move forward toward new experiences, realizing that grief and loss do not contradict beauty and love, but rather enhance them and, in a way, make them possible.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Walk Two Moons!