Walk Two Moons

by; Sharon Creech

Summary

Salamanca Tree Hiddle's mother has left her home in Kentucky and gone to Idaho. "Walk Two Moons" is about the journey Salamance takes with her grandparents from Euclid Ohio to Lewiston, Idaho to find her mother. Before she leaves Euclid, Sal meets Phoebe Winterbottom and she discovers that Phoebe's story with her mother is not so different from her own. While Sal travels in the car with her grandparents, she tells them the story of Phoebe and how her mother also unexpectedly left home.

Thesis Sentence: Judgements

Characters in the novel misjudge people because they fail to "walk two moons in their moccasins"; these judgments are later proven wrong.

Mrs. Cadaver

Mrs. Cadaver is often misjudged because of her actions and her physical appearance. She is the lady with the wild red hair. When she met Sal, Mrs. Cadaver "nearly fell over herself" (pg. 10) trying to be nice to her. Phoebe Winterbottom is Mrs. Cadaver's neighbor, and one day, when Phoebe is walking Sal home after having dinner, she begins to describe Mrs. Cadaver as being as strong as an ox. "I've seen her chop down trees and lug the remains across her backyard. Do you know what I think? I think maybe she killed Mr. Cadaver and chopped him up and buried him in the backyard." ( pg 32 ). Also, Phoebe explains the problem with Mrs. Cadaver's name. "You know what cadaver means. It mean dead body," said Pheobe (pg 22). This is one of the reasons Mrs Cadaver is judged as being a murderer. Pheobe thinks that she killed Mr. Cadaver and chopped him up and buried him in the backyard. Sal also thinks that Mrs. Cadaver is trying to get too close to her father. In the end, it turns out that Mrs. Cadaver is a kind hearted and generous person. First of all, her husband died when a drunk driver hit him. Mrs. Cadaver happened to be the nurse on duty when they brought her husband to the hospital where he died. She was also sitting next to Sal's mom on the bus crash that took her life. "They were strangers to each other when they got on that bus, but by the time they got off, six days later, they were friends." (pg 270) Sal's dad was holding onto this friendship with Mrs. Cadaver because she had held onto his wifes hand during the last moments of her life.

Mike Bickle

Mike Bickle is misjudged by Sal and Phoebe throughout the book. Phoebe and Sal first meet him when he comes to Phoebe's house looking for her mother - Mrs. Winterbottom. Phoebe's mom hates when strangers come to the door, and "She is convinced that any day one of them will burst into the house with a gun and turn out to be an escaped lunatic." (pg. 43) So, since Mike Bickel is a stranger, and he's dressed a little differently, Phoebe at once detected a sign of lunacy. Since Phoebe has a vivid imagination she thought maybe he had a knife tucked in his socks, since there didn't appear to be any place he could be hiding a gun. However, he is not a lunatic. When Phoebe and Sal go to the police about Phoebe's missing mom, Sal sees a photo on Sargeant Bickles desk . "The third picture was of Sargeant Bickle, the woman, and a young man - their son I figured. I looked closer...it was the lunatic." (pg. 104) Mike Bickle was adopted as a baby by Sargeant Bickle and his wife, but when got older he wanted to meet his birth mother. He didn't want to cause anyone harm.

Mrs. Winterbottom

Mrs. Winterbottom is judged by many characters in the story. She is described as a plain and ordinary lady. There didn't seem to be anything exciting about her and her family tends to take advantage of her, expecting her to do the cooking, the laundry and the house cleaning. Phoebe and her sister Prudence were not that kind to her, and her husband barely talks to her. When Mike Bickle came over to the Winterbottoms residence asking where she was Mrs. Winterbottom became deeply sad. One day Mrs. Winterbottom leaves without telling anyone where she is going. While she is gone, her family starts to realize everything she does and they miss her so much. Sal and Phoebe have been searching for Mike Bickle and when they find him, he is with Mrs. Winterbottom. "On the bench was Pheobe's mother, and she was kissing the lunatic "( pg 235 ). In this part of the story Sal and Pheobe had gone to the college where supposedly Mick Bickle, the lunatic, was going to school. They ended up finding Pheobe's mom kissing the lunatic. Eventually Mrs. Winterbottom came home, except she brought Mike Bickle with her. Mrs. Winterbottom also looked different. "Her hair was not only short but also quite stylish. She was wearing lipstick, mascara, and a little blush on cheeks, and her clothes were altogether unlike anything I had ever seen her in..." (pg. 245) Mrs. Winterbottom tells them her story, about how she had given Mike up for adoption, and she never told Mr. Winterbottom because she didn't think he would respect her. In the end, everything turns out exactly right - Phoebe, Prudence and Mr. Winterbottom have a new respect for her, and Mike Bickle is now a part of their life.

Conclusion

This story is a journey. It is a journey that shows that you cannot know a person until you have walked "two moons in their moccasins." That is, you shouldn't judge people before you actually get to know them. Mrs. Cadaver was judged to be a wild, wreckless and perhaps a murderer. After Sal got to know her, she learned was a kind and thoughtful person, who was with Sal's mother when she was dying. Mike Bickle was supposed to be a crazed lunatic, when in fact he was a college student looking for his birth mother. Finally, poor Mrs. Winterbottom was judged to be plain and ordinary, with nothing exciting in her "tiny" life. The real person came out when she was reunited with her birth son.