Walk Two Moons | Study Guide

Sharon Creech

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Course Hero. "Walk Two Moons Study Guide." Course Hero. 23 Aug. 2017. Web. 12 Dec. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/>.

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Course Hero. (2017, August 23). Walk Two Moons Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/

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Course Hero. "Walk Two Moons Study Guide." August 23, 2017. Accessed December 12, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.

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Course Hero, "Walk Two Moons Study Guide," August 23, 2017, accessed December 12, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.

Walk Two Moons | Chapters 31–32 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 31: The Photograph

Sal describes how, the following day, Phoebe finds another message: "We never know the worth of water until the well is dry." Sal tries to kiss Ben, but he moves away and she kisses his locker instead.

Mr. Birkway reads aloud excerpts from the students' summer journals. His intention is to use the student's own words to reveal truths about what it means to be human; instead, strife arises between friends as their private thoughts about each other are made public, despite Mr. Birkway changing identifying details.

Phoebe and Sal go back to the police station, and Phoebe presents further evidence regarding to her mother's case to Sergeant Bickle for investigation. When he is dismissive Phoebe storms off. On Sergeant Bickle's desk Sal notices a photograph of Bickle, a woman, and a young man, whom she recognizes as the lunatic.

Chapter 32: Chicken and Blackberry Kisses

Sal and her grandparents rush through Wyoming to get to Yellowstone. Gram is too excited about seeing Old Faithful, the geyser, to sleep, so Sal resumes her story.

When Sal sees Mr. Birkway picking up Mrs. Partridge at her house, she learns that he is Mrs. Cadaver's twin brother.

Sal wants to tell Phoebe about the photo of the lunatic, but Phoebe ignores her. In English class Mr. Birkway reads aloud a journal entry in which a boy describes his affection for a girl. Sal gets a "prickly feeling" thinking Ben wrote this about her but realizes he didn't know her when the journal was written.

The next journal writer complains that her friend is "dumb" because "I told her that [kisses] taste like chicken, and she believed me." Hurt, Mary Lou tells Beth Ann she never believed this. Mr. Birkway continues reading from Beth Ann's journal, which describes her hatred of English class and literary symbolism: "I hate it when people say the woods symbolize death or beauty or sex or any old thing....Maybe the woods are just woods." Mr. Birkway says he loves this passage for its honesty. He shows the class a special picture, explaining it is like symbolism: the picture can be a vase, faces, or even both, depending on who is looking.

Sal is mortified and her classmates giggle when Mr. Birkway reads her description of her mother's blackberry kiss and her own subsequent practice of kissing trees and always tasting blackberries. Mr. Birkway then reads from Phoebe's journal about her concern that "Mrs. Corpse" has murdered her husband and buried him in the yard. When class ends the students gossip excitedly about the alleged murder, and Sal runs after Phoebe.

Analysis

Sal has news that would be of great interest to Phoebe, but Phoebe is so preoccupied with her own anger at the police's unwillingness to investigate her mother's case that she closes herself off to her friend. Phoebe is perhaps also particularly stung by the fourth message as she considers how she didn't appreciate her mother until she was gone, just as one doesn't appreciate water until the well runs dry. The reader may wonder whether Sal has, similarly, denied herself a greater understanding of a troubling situation by refusing to hear what her father has been trying to tell her about how he met Mrs. Cadaver.

The class discussion of symbolism is significant because Walk Two Moons is full of symbols—things that stand for something else. In particular, Sal has been given a heightened awareness of symbolism in her own life because of her mother's disappearance. However, while each symbol in the text has a symbolic meaning, it is also exactly itself. On one level, Sal's blackberry kisses on trees are just a girl kissing a tree because she likes trees and she saw her mother do the same once. But the blackberry kisses are so important to Sal because they symbolize her spiritual connection to nature as well as being a ritualistic means of keeping her mother "alive."

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