Course Hero. "Walk Two Moons Study Guide." Course Hero. 23 Aug. 2017. Web. 11 Dec. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/>.
Course Hero. (2017, August 23). Walk Two Moons Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 11, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "Walk Two Moons Study Guide." August 23, 2017. Accessed December 11, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.
Course Hero, "Walk Two Moons Study Guide," August 23, 2017, accessed December 11, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.
The narrator, 13-year-old Salamanca ("Sal") Tree Hiddle, describes how, the previous year, she reluctantly moved with her father from her beloved rural home in Bybanks, Kentucky, to Euclid, Ohio. In their new neighborhood, Sal notices a girl looking at her out of the window of a neighboring house. This is Phoebe Winterbottom, who becomes Sal's friend. During the road trip that comprises the novel, Sal tells Phoebe's story to her grandparents.
After Sal's mother left Sal and her father that April, her father "started chipping away" at a plaster wall in their Kentucky home. When they learned Sal's mother would not be back, he "pounded and pounded on that wall with a chisel and a hammer," and uncovered a brick fireplace. Sal compares Phoebe's story to the plaster wall and her own story to the brick fireplace: "beneath Phoebe's story was another one. Mine."
Sal doesn't want to meet their new neighbor, Margaret Cadaver, a woman her father is eager to introduce her to.
Sal's paternal grandparents, Gramps and Gram, take her on a 2,000-mile road trip from Ohio to Lewiston, Idaho, where Sal's mother is buried. Her father stays behind, "want[ing] to be alone" with their neighbor Margaret Cadaver. Sal is desperate to reach Lewiston by her mother's birthday. Sal explains she was named Salamanca after "the Indian tribe to which [her] great-great-great grandmother belonged." Later, her parents realized the tribe was the Seneca, but the name Salamanca stuck. Sal's middle name is Tree because her mother loved trees.
Sal is "terrified of cars and buses" and begins the trip by praying to trees, because it's "easier than praying directly to God." When Gramps and Gram ask Sal to "spin [them] a yarn," she decides to tell them "an extensively strange story" about Phoebe Winterbottom.
Sal's grandparents call her "Chickabiddy," a term of endearment that means chicken. Sal and her family frequently use colorful expressions.
Sal's connection to nature is well established in these first two chapters. Her family shares this connection, evidenced by her mother naming her Tree and her grandparents and father using nature-based idioms. Sal is upset to have been moved from the farm in Kentucky where she grew up and spent her time outdoors to a cramped suburb in Ohio. Her connection to nature is spiritual: she prays to trees instead of praying to God because trees are always present and visible. It is easier for Sal to connect with physical nature than an immaterial God. This connection to nature might have something to do with Sal's Native American ancestry. It is clear, from the way Sal's parents misremember the name of their ancestors' tribe, that the family has lost much of its connection to their indigenous culture. What remains is a deep connection to nature, but Sal feels this is threatened by the move to the suburbs. Not only has she lost her mother, she has also lost her home. Sal's father seems to be trying to heal from his wife's death by moving to Ohio, where he can experience the companionship of another woman, Margaret Cadaver.