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Course Hero, "Walk Two Moons Study Guide," August 23, 2017, accessed September 21, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.

Walk Two Moons | Quotes

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1.

If people expect you to be brave, sometimes you pretend that you are.


Salamanca ("Sal") Tree Hiddle, Chapter 3

Sal describes one of the lessons she learned as the result of the painful experiences she undergoes during the novel. At her new school in Ohio Sal acquires a reputation for bravery because she is unafraid of spiders. However, she doesn't feel brave because she is scared of many other things—especially since her mother's death.

2.

This was Phoebe's power. In her world, no one was ordinary.


Salamanca ("Sal") Tree Hiddle, Chapter 4

Sal explains the attraction she feels to her new friend, Phoebe Winterbottom. Phoebe has a wild imagination and is constantly making up fantastic stories to explain the things she is afraid of. Sal knows that most of what Phoebe says is improbable but finds her way of looking at things compelling nonetheless.

3.

When my mother had been there, I was like a mirror.


Salamanca ("Sal") Tree Hiddle, Chapter 7

When Sal's mother leaves on her bus trip, Sal realizes that she relied on her mother's cues to know what emotions were appropriate for any given situation. Without her mother there Sal doesn't know what to feel. However, after two weeks Sal feels happy when she sees a newborn calf and realizes that she can feel things on her own without her mother there to guide her.

4.

Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins.


Mrs. Partridge, Chapter 9

This is the first of several written messages to mysteriously appear on Phoebe Winterbottom's front porch. It is not revealed until the end of the novel that Mrs. Partridge, the blind elderly neighbor, is the person leaving the messages. This proverb encapsulates the primary theme of the novel: one shouldn't judge others unless one has been in their position.

5.

My mother and I liked this Indian-ness in our background...it made us closer to the land.


Salamanca ("Sal") Tree Hiddle, Chapter 10

On her mother's side Sal has an ancestor who belonged to the Seneca tribe. Sal and her mother share a deep love of and connection with nature, which Sal's mother attributes to their partial Native American ancestry.

6.

Everyone has his own agenda.


Mrs. Partridge, Chapter 11

This is the second mysterious message that appears on Phoebe Winterbottom's doorstep. Many of the novel's characters demonstrate the truth of this message—they are all deeply involved in their own problems and they approach the world from the perspective of their own struggles.

7.

Well, this ain't our marriage bed, but it will do.


Gramps, Chapter 12

Gramps makes this remark each night during the road trip he takes with his granddaughter and wife to Idaho. His marriage bed belonged to his parents, and he and all his siblings were born in it. When he married Gram, the bed became theirs, and their three sons were born in it. The marriage bed symbolizes the security of familial ties and the importance of tradition and home.

8.

I had had my own agenda that day...I couldn't see my own mother's sadness.


Salamanca ("Sal") Tree Hiddle, Chapter 17

Sal connects the message about everyone having an agenda to a memory she has of her mother. Before her mother left she begged Sal to go walking with her; Sal repeatedly and rudely refused. Sal reflects on how her own desires had prevented her from seeing the internal conflict that was soon to take her mother away from her.

9.

In the course of a lifetime, what does it matter?


Mrs. Partridge, Chapter 17

This is the third mysterious message that Mrs. Partridge furtively places on Phoebe Winterbottom's doorstep. It prompts Sal to reflect on what is really important in life and what is trivial. Sal decides that how one treats one's mother becomes important if one's mother leaves. The underlying message is that since everyone leaves or dies eventually it is important to always treat others well.

10.

I didn't want to blame her. She was my mother, and she was part of me.


Salamanca ("Sal") Tree Hiddle, Chapter 18

Sal recalls the day, after her mother's death, that she and her father left their farm in Kentucky and moved to Ohio. On that day she wished she could blame her father for her mother leaving—but she knew that he was too good, and it was not his fault. Sal had trouble accepting that her mother might leave for her own reasons.

11.

I ended up writing about my mother, because everything was connected to her.


Salamanca ("Sal") Tree Hiddle, Chapter 20

Sal's English teacher, Mr. Birkway, gives her an assignment to write about anything she chooses. Sal writes about her mother and their home in Kentucky, centering on the time she saw her mother eating blackberries and then kissing a tree—a practice that Sal herself adopted thereafter.

12.

A person isn't a bird. You can't cage a person.


John Hiddle, Chapter 22

Distraught, Sal tells her father they should have prevented her mother from leaving. He points out that her mother was free to do as she wished, and that she intended to come back but that unforeseen tragedy prevented her intention from being realized.

13.

But you can keep them from nesting in your hair.


Mrs. Partridge, Chapter 24

This is the second half of one of the mysterious messages that appears on Phoebe's doorstep. The first half is, "You can't keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head." This message speaks to one of life's great truths, which Sal comes to realize as a result of her experiences: difficult things inevitably happen throughout life, but one doesn't have to cling to the suffering and grief.

14.

We never know the worth of water until the well is dry.


Mrs. Partridge, Chapter 31

This is another of the mysterious messages that appears on Phoebe Winterbottom's doorstep. Phoebe thinks it is a clue as to the location of her supposedly kidnapped mother, but the message in fact captures one of the lessons Phoebe has to learn: she didn't appreciate her mother until her mother was no longer there.

15.

For now...I have a chicken and a singing tree, and that's the way it is. Huzza, huzza.


Salamanca ("Sal") Tree Hiddle, Chapter 44

The book's closing lines sum up the changes that Sal has experienced. She has accepted that her mother isn't coming back. Although Sal misses her mother, Sal is connected to her mother through the tree on their farm that sings with birdsong. She is also connected through the new life signified by her pet chicken, Blackberry, a gift from Ben. Sal accepts that life is full of tragedy as well as joy, and her closing lines, "Huzza, huzza," are an expression of approval that her Gram often used.

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