WALK TWO MOONS

by Sharon Creech

Summary

In Walk Two Moons, Salmanca Tree Hiddle is on a journey with her quirky grandparents to bring back her mother before her birthday. After moving from Bybanks, Kentucky to Euclid, Ohio, she meets an enthusiastic girl with a vivid imagination named Pheobe Winterbottom. As they continue to grow close, she finds that their lives are tied in more ways than one. Pheobe helps Sal understand and cope with the hardships involving her mother, and herself as well.

Thesis Sentence: Symbolism

The author uses three examples of symbolism to help her main character, Salamanca Tree Hiddle, overcome personal tragedies in her life.

Tulips

Sal looks to tulips and thinks of the memories that may fade away, but always come back in the spring. Gram sang a song of them as she was being carried across the meadow by Gramps on their marriage day. "Oh meet me, in the tulips, when the tulips do bloom-" This is what they always sing at weddings when the married couple leaves. It is supposed to be a joke, as if Gram and Gramps were going away by themselves and might not reappear until the following spring when the tulips were in bloom"(pg. 78). They sing the song as they are going away, representing that their love will always come back and will never be forgotten.

As the baby laid dead in Salamanca's mother's arms, Sal named her Tulip. "My father came home from the hospital briefly the next day. "We should name the baby anyway," he said. "Do you have any suggestions?"

The name came to me from the air. "Tulip," I said.

My father smiled. "Your mother will like that. We'll bury the baby in the little cemetery near the aspen grove- where the tulips come up every spring"(pg. 149). They decide to bury the baby there because Tulip will never be forgotten, and keeps coming back to their mind like the tulips in the spring.

Blackberries

Blackberries symbolize the good in Sal's life, such as her mother and the sweet taste of the trees. When Sal thinks of blackberries, she is constantly reminded of her mother. "I'm making blackberry pie", Mrs. Winterbottom said. "I hope you like blackberries- is there something wrong? Really, if you don't like blackberries, I could-"

"No," I said. I like blackberries very much. I just have some allergies, I think."

"To blackberries?" Mrs. Winterbottom said.

"No, not to blackberries." The truth is, I do not have allergies, but I could not admit that blackberries reminded me of my mother"(pgs. 21-22). Though she tries not to, blackberries remind Sal of her mother.

Remembering her childhood, Sal recalls the blackberry kiss. "She took several quick steps up to the trunk of the maple, threw her arms around it, and kissed that tree soundly.

Later that day, I examined this tree trunk. I tried to wrap my arms around it, but the trunk was much bigger than it had seemed from my window. I looked up at where her mouth must have touched the trunk. I probably imagined this, but I thought I could detect a small dark stain, as from a blackberry kiss"(pg. 122). Everytime Sal sees a tree, she kisses it. Mixed in with the diverse tastes of all the trees, she could always taste the small hint of blackberries, reminding her of the grace that was her mother.

Singing Trees

The singing trees are the spirit of Sal's mother, from their soft voice to the sweet taste of blackberries. "I stood beneath that tree for the longest time, hoping to catch sight of the bird who was singing such a song. I saw no bird-only leaves waving in the breeze. The longer I stared up at the leaves, the more it seemed that it was the tree itself that was singing. Every time I passed that tree, I listened. Sometimes it sang, sometimes it did not, but from then on I always called it the singing tree"(pg. 100). The singing tree has a soul like Sal's mother, singing through the pain in an unfamiliar sense.

As Sal peers down at her mother's grave, she hears the tranquil melody of a birdsong. "In the midst of the morning with only the sound of a river gurgling by, I heard a bird. It was singing a birdsong, a true, sweet birdsong. I looked all around and then up into the willow that leaned toward the river. The birdsong came from the top of the willow and I did not want to look to closely, because I wanted it to be the tree that was singing.

I kissed the willow. "Happy Birthday," I said.

In the sheriff's car, I said, "She isn't actually gone at all. She's singing in the trees"(pg. 268). Sal's mother is a silver lining who will never die, her spirit walks and dances and sings along with the breeze.

Conclusion

Throughout the novel, Sal dwells over her mother through singing trees, blackberries, and tulips. She fondles the memories of what happened and wavers her interpretations of why her mother left. Over time, her friends and these symbols help Sal find closure and ataraxy from the losses and hardships of her mother.