Course Hero. "Walk Two Moons Study Guide." Course Hero. 23 Aug. 2017. Web. 16 July 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/>.
Course Hero. (2017, August 23). Walk Two Moons Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 16, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "Walk Two Moons Study Guide." August 23, 2017. Accessed July 16, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.
Course Hero, "Walk Two Moons Study Guide," August 23, 2017, accessed July 16, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.
In the novel hair symbolizes identity, and cutting one's hair symbolizes a crisis of identity.
Because of their partial Native American ancestry, Sal and her mother both have long, black hair. The fact thatSal and her mother have the same kind of hair and wear it in the same style symbolizes how close they are to one another. In Chapter 20 Sal finds her father looking at a picture of himself and his wife, and notes that in the photo, "their hair blended together. They looked like they were connected." This symbolizes the close, loving marriage that Sugar and John had. Margaret Cadaver, on the other hand, has bright red hair, very different from hair Sal's mother's. This symbolizes how Margaret Cadaver is not meant to be and does not want to be a replacement for Sugar, either as a mother to Sal or a wife to John.
In Chapter 15 Sal describes how Sugar cut off her long black hair right before she left. John is upset and tells his wife, "I loved your hair." He asks Sal not to cut off her hair. Sal sweeps up her mother's hair and saves it in a bag underneath the floorboards in her bedroom. Both John and Sal sense that Sugar's haircut signals that she is undergoing an identity crisis and that she is rejecting a certain part of herself and her life because she feels confined by it.
When Mrs. Winterbottom leaves her family temporarily after Mike, the son she gave up for adoption, finds her, she cuts her hair short. Phoebe is particularly offended by this: "Did you notice her hair? She's cut it. It's short." Phoebe understands her mother's haircut as a symbolic gesture of separation. Indeed, when Mrs. Winterbottom returns home, Sal notes Mrs. Winterbottom's new hairstyle and remarks that "she looked magnificent, but she did not look like Phoebe's mother."
Blackberries symbolize Sal's mother. In Chapter 20 Sal describes watching her mother kiss a tree after eating the blackberries that grew wild on their Kentucky farm. Since then Sal has adopted the practice of kissing trees and claims that every tree she kisses tastes slightly of blackberries. Sal writes about this "blackberry kiss" when Mr. Birkway gives her a writing assignment, noting she wrote "about [her] mother, because everything was connected to her." Ben honors Sal's love for her mother by giving her a chicken, which he names Blackberry.
When Sal visits Phoebe's house for the first time, Mrs. Winterbottom is making blackberry pie. Sal "couldn't keep [her] eyes off the blackberries," and Mrs. Winterbottom senses something is wrong. Sal tells Mrs. Winterbottom she is allergic, but in truth, she "could not admit that the sight of blackberries reminded [her] of [her] mother."
In Chapter 6, Sal remembers a time that her mother became sad after her father left flowers at the breakfast table. Sugar felt that she would never be as kind, thoughtful, or good as her husband. The next morning Sugar left dishes of fresh-picked blackberries on the breakfast table for Sal and her father and said, "See? I'm almost as good as your father."
In Chapter 7 Sal describes the emotional confusion she felt after her mother left. She had always mirrored her mother's emotions, matching Sugar's happiness or sadness with her own. When Sugar first left Sal felt numb. One day, a few weeks after Sugar left, Sal watched a newborn calf struggling to walk. When the calf gave her "a sweet, loving look," Sal realized that she felt "happy at this moment in time." It was then that she realized she could feel emotions, like happiness, without her mother there to guide her. The newborn calf symbolizes Sal's "rebirth" as an independent person, capable of feeling emotions—like happiness—on her own.
Every night on their road trip, Gramps comments that the hotel bed "ain't our marriage bed, but it will do." Sal notes that "the most precious thing in the whole world to Gramps" is the marriage bed. This bed had belonged to Gramps' parents, and Gramps and his siblings were born in it. The bed was given to Gramps and Gram on their wedding day, and each of Gramps's and Gram's three sons had been born in the bed. Gramps claims that the marriage bed "will know everything there is to know about" him because it has been there his whole life and he intends to die in it. Sal wonders if she "would ever have a marriage bed like theirs." The marriage bed symbolizes the stability and comfort of tradition, home, and family. Sal cannot imagine the instability and uncertainty that has come to characterize her life ever being replaced with stability—not only has she lost her mother, she has been taken away from her beloved farm in Kentucky and moved to a suburb of Ohio.
On their road trip Gramps insists on taking a detour to visit the Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota. The sign depicts a Native American smoking a pipe, and Gram is dubious: "What do you want to go see an old Indian smoking a pipe for?" At the monument Sal tells one of the quarry workers that she has American Indian blood. A little while later, Gramps, Gram, and Sal smoke "a long peace pipe" with "an American Indian person." When Sal exhales the smoke, she is "reminded [of] her mother." She feels that the disappearing smoke is like her disappearing mother. Gramps buys pipes for him and Sal, saying they're "not for smoking with" but "for remembering with." The pipe symbolizes connection to the past. It allows Sal to connect with her Native American heritage as well as with her deceased mother.