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Walk Two Moons

Sharon Creech

Chapters 21–24

Summary Chapters 21–24

Analysis

While stories serve as a path to truth and understanding in Walk Two Moons, Sal and Phoebe also use stories to hide from the truth. They both lie to friends about their mothers, Phoebe clings to the idea that Mrs. Winterbottom has been kidnapped by the lunatic, Sal tells herself that her mother will come back, that her mother has amnesia and is wandering around Lewiston, Idaho, and even goes so far as to try on Phoebe's kidnapping formula, when she suggests to her father that perhaps someone forced her mother to leave. Sal explains the purpose of these unlikely stories when she admits that she and Phoebe are actually trying to understand what reasons could possibly motivate their mothers to leave them. Fantastical stories provide the girls with a desirable answer, and they imagine scenarios where their mothers did not want to leave or were forced to leave. Sal feels especially conflicted, as she connects her broken leg with her mother's miscarriage and ensuing depression. She can build a logical chain of events that connects her actions with her mother's desire to leave, but she hides this chain beneath wild hopes and stories.

Part of Sal's coming-of-age journey involves learning to see her mother in more than her role as mother. Her mother is a complex being who can love Sal at the same time as needing to be away from her. Just as children strive to define and assert their independence from their parents, so must parents strive to maintain their emotional and personal independence from their children. As Sal endeavors to break away from her dependence on her parents while at the same time maintaining a strong and affectionate relationship with them, she must learn to see her parents as complex and often internally divided individuals with competing loyalties and visions of themselves.

Myths and dreams, another form of self-contained narrative, populate these four chapters of the novel. The two myths, that of the Native American god Napi and that of Prometheus, are alternate but thematically similar stories of man's origin. The Napi myth explains man's mortality, whereas the Prometheus myth depicts man being punished for trying to snatch power from the gods. Both myths illustrate that man's place is upon the earth, not among the gods. Man must give up any claims to godlike power over the elements or over death. These myths resonate with Sal, who is struggling to reconcile herself to the great losses she has suffered. In her dream, she tries to process the contradiction between the beauty and incredible generosity of a lifetime on earth with the suddenness and irrevocability of death. Slowly, Sal is learning to leave behind her childhood notions of permanence. She realizes that life itself, in all its manifold forms, from stories to myths to messages on the doorstep to the events of her life, reminds her that circumstances and emotions change and people die. Her dream reminds her of the suddenness and irrevocability of death and change.