Walk Two Moons | Study Guide

Sharon Creech

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Course Hero. "Walk Two Moons Study Guide." August 23, 2017. Accessed July 16, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.

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Course Hero, "Walk Two Moons Study Guide," August 23, 2017, accessed July 16, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.

Walk Two Moons | Chapters 9–10 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 9: The Message

Sal continues her story. She and Phoebe go to Mary Lou Finney's house. Mary Lou lives with her parents, her three rambunctious brothers, and her cousin Ben, whom Sal knows from school. Ben draws a cartoon of Sal and kisses her on the collarbone. Phoebe says the Finneys are uncivilized, but Sal admires the Finneys' liveliness and closeness and believes that Phoebe secretly does, too, but thinks loyalty to her own family prevents her from admitting this.

At Phoebe's house they find Mrs. Winterbottom crying. When Phoebe tells her mother about the lunatic, Mrs. Winterbottom wants to keep it a secret. Phoebe finds this disturbing and resists her mother's hug. On the porch Phoebe finds an envelope containing a message: "Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins." The message worries Mrs. Winterbottom, and Sal thinks Mrs. Winterbottom believes "it came from the potential lunatic."

Chapter 10: Huzza, Huzza

Gramps pulls off the highway in Madison, Wisconsin. As they stroll around the city, Sal expresses her impatience to resume traveling. Gram responds by saying, "Huzza, huzza!" Sal doesn't want to send any postcards because Sugar had sent her postcards along her way; the final one arrived after Sugar's death.

Gram and Sal watch a Native American dance performance. Like her mother Sal prefers the term "Indian" to "Native American," and she believes their Indian heritage gives them a connection to nature. Resting her eyes, Sal hears "rush-rush-rush...hurry-hurry-hurry" in the drumbeat. The dancer's moccasins remind Sal of the lunatic's message. Sal finds Gram, who had disappeared, dancing in the center of the circle, in "flat, white shoes" and a headdress that is too large, chanting, "Huzza, huzza."

Analysis

Sal interprets Phoebe's negative judgment about the Finney family with the generosity of a true friend: Phoebe is merely defending her own family's ways, which Sal sees as a positive thing. Even though Sal finds the Winterbottoms peculiar and excessively fearful, she respects them. Sal understands the importance of family, and she is open-minded about families that are very different from her own. The only person who Sal judges negatively is Margaret Cadaver. Despite Mrs. Cadaver's kindness towards Sal, Sal's heart is closed to her because she is grieving her own mother.

Neither Gram nor Gramps shares Sal's impatience to reach Lewiston, Idaho quickly. For them the journey is just as important as the destination. Gram keeps saying "Huzza," which is an expression of delight. The image of Gram dancing among the Native Americans is poignant because although her costume is mismatched and ill-fitting, her delight and sense of being at home in the middle of the dancers' circle is genuine.

The message left on the Winterbottoms' porch is an exhortation to refrain from judgement because one can never understand the struggles of another person unless they are in that person's position. The meaning of the message seems to be lost on Phoebe and her mother, who are wrapped up in their anxieties about the mysterious visitor who may have delivered it. Even though Phoebe defends her family to outsiders, it seems that she is bothered by the lack of closeness in her family. Mrs. Winterbottom seems to be carrying a big secret, and Phoebe resents her mother's expectation that Phoebe will help her keep this secret.

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