Walk Two Moons Symbolism
by Cooper MD
In the novel Walk Two Moons written by Sharon Creech, Sal travels across America with her grandparents to get to her missing mother before her mother's birthday. Before traveling America, Salamanca Tree Hiddle comes to know a girl named Pheobe Winterbottem who's mother had also disappeared. Sal tells Pheobe's story along the way. In Walk Two Moons, they move away from her parents farm after her mother left, and then leave to begin their search for her mother.
On the journey Sharon Creech creates in Walk Two Moons, Creech uses the symbolism of trees and of blackberries to show how Sal deals with the overwhelmingly issue of hers mother's death. The symbolism shows connections between characters, and allows the story to come alive.
Throughout the book, many forms of trees are mentioned. The idea of a tree becomes symbolic to Sal from a young age "When I was younger, I heard the most beautiful bird song coming from the top of that tree... I saw no bird- only leaves waving in the breeze. It seemed that it was the tree itself that was singing" (16,10) To Sal, trees are more than beautiful things. It seems that trees are a massive part of her own life, and her families life. The symbol of a tree in Sal's life remind her that Nature isn't always kind. Just as real life is not always as easy. When Sal falls out of her tree and breaks her arm her pregnant mother carried her back home to her house. Her mother soon after loses the baby because the umbilical cord wraps around its neck. Sal blames herself. And soon after her mother leaves home. Her mother sends postcards from her journey but suddenly stops sending them and they learn that her mother died in a accident. The Birdsong tree stopped singing. Another example of tree symbolism in Walk Two Moons is when she visits her mothers grave, and the willow tree begins to sing, showing her that her mother has become a part of the willow tree. On Sals way to her mothers grave, she passes by the crash site, and "Prayed to every passing tree, and there were a thumping lot of trees along the way." (41,22) This shows her devotion to the trees, as though they are super heroes. Remembering her mother's love for them even after her death.
Blackberries became a symbol for Sal through her mothers actions. "Her mother, thinking no one could see her, popped a couple of fresh blackberries in her mouth and threw her arms around and kissed a tree." (Spark Notes Chapter 20) In this quiet moment, Sal creates a new bond with not only trees and blackberries but also a lasting memory to her mother. Sal kisses trees to be like her mother and some how she notes that the trees always taste faintly like blackberries. In the novel, Sal is offered blackberries and doesn't eat them. "I just have some allergies, I think to blackberries." "...The truth is, I don't have allergies, but I could not admit that blackberries reminded me of my mother." (Spark Notes Chapter 21-22) Sal not eating the blackberries symbolizes her pain from losing her mother and her longing to say goodbye to her.
Symbolism plays a key part in giving the story a deeper meaning. There are references to grapefruits and winding roads and fear of cliffs and hair and snakes. But to me, the symbolism of "trees" and "blackberries" had the most significance to the connection of Sal to her mother. Initially, these symbols are happy but then very painful for Sal. She constantly sees these symbols and is constantly being reminded of her mother, and it helps her go through the grieving process through the course of her journey. In the end, these symbols are a tangible and bittersweet memory of her mother.