Walk Two Moons | Study Guide

Sharon Creech

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Course Hero, "Walk Two Moons Study Guide," August 23, 2017, accessed November 19, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.

Walk Two Moons | Chapters 27–28 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 27: Pandora's Box

Sal continues her story. When Phoebe learns Mrs. Cadaver left her father a note that her mother called "to say she is okay," Phoebe says Mrs. Cadaver "probably killed her and chopped her up." Phoebe tells Sal she is going to call the police or go to the police station.

In class Phoebe gives her report on Pandora. She criticizes Ben's earlier report on Prometheus and claims Pandora was sent to man as a reward rather than a punishment. Phoebe claims the gods showered Pandora with gifts, including a box that contained "cholesterol...brain tumors and sadness, lunatics and kidnappings and murders," along with hope.

Sal considers the story of Pandora's Box and wonders if another box exists that contains everything good in the world as well as "one bad thing....Worry." Sal reflects that her family was fine "until the baby died," but that Phoebe's family "had not seemed fine" before Mrs. Winterbottom disappeared. She wants to tell Phoebe her mother left for her own reasons and there is nothing Phoebe can do.

When Sal tells this part of the story, she realizes "for the first time" that her mother left for reasons that had nothing to do with her, and that perhaps she and Phoebe might turn to hope to get through the difficult times.

Chapter 28: The Black Hills

Sal wants to skip the Black Hills, because it's now the 18th of the month. Two days remain before her mother's birthday, and they have many miles more to travel. Sal considers leaving her grandparents to rush to Lewiston on her own. Although she already knows how to drive, Sal is afraid of driving since her mother left.

Sal recalls how much her mother always talked about the Black Hills. Sal knows they were stolen from the Sioux Indians, and if it were up to her, she'd give the Black Hills back to the Sioux. Seeing Mt. Rushmore, Sal wonders "why whoever carved [the presidents' faces] couldn't have put a couple Indians up there too." Her grandparents seem disappointed at Mt. Rushmore, and Sal imagines her mother must have also felt the same. They drive on into Wyoming, and Sal is nearly convinced they can make it to Idaho by the 20th but then Gramps and Gram announce they want to stop at Yellowstone to see Old Faithful.

Analysis

Phoebe is clearly a master storyteller who uses stories to reflect her feelings and make sense of the world. It is through the stories she tells herself, of the lunatic, and of Mrs. Cadaver, that Phoebe makes sense of what she cannot otherwise explain. Her intense personal connection to stories is made evident in her retelling of Pandora's Box. Phoebe takes creative license as she retells Pandora's story because she understands Pandora as a symbol for her own mother. Her mother's presence used to feel like a punishment, but now her return would feel like a reward. Phoebe alters the legend to convey this by claiming Pandora was a gift rather than a punishment to man when, in fact, the legend says the opposite. Phoebe learned fear from her mother, so in Phoebe's version of the Pandora story, Pandora's Box is full of Phoebe's own personal fears. In her search for peace for herself and for Phoebe, Sal finds a clue in the Pandora story: perhaps it is hope that will save her and Phoebe from being completely consumed by the difficult parts in life.

Sal doesn't understand why Native Americans were not represented at Mt. Rushmore, although her mother did impart in her an awareness of the Black Hills as stolen Native lands. Sal's awareness of history is largely either personal or grounded in traditional legends. Her identity as a Native American person is just coming into being, and she has not yet fully awakened to all the political implications of the history of white settlement in North America.

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