Explain how the title Walk Two Moons relates to specific events in the novel.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The title of this book is taken from an Indian adage which reads,

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

In a nutshell, this saying is a call to look at things from the perspective of others before judging them. The book is filled with examples where characters make erroneous judgements of others because they have not taken the time to look at situations from those others' points of view. Examples of this include Salamanca's belief that her father is insensitive towards her mother's disappearance because he seems to be taking such an interest in another woman, Margaret Cadaver, and Phoeby's fear that the strange young man who has come to her house is a lunatic with sinister ties to her mother's disappearance. In reality, Salamanca's father is interested in Margaret Cadaver because she was with his wife when she died, and Phoeby's mother has disappeared of her own volition because of the return of the mysterious stranger, who is her son.

The most significant event in the novel which explains the title's importance is Salamanca's trip with her Grandparents, following the route her mother took on her last journey, which led to her death. Salamanca must literally "walk...in (her mother's) moccasins," physically following her trail across the country from Bybanks, Kentucky to C'oeur d'Alene, Idaho. It is only by doing this that Salamanca can understand what drove her mother to leave her home. The journey Salamanca's mother took was something she had to do to discover her own identity and regain her peace of mind, and by "walk(ing) two moons in (her) moccasins," Sal is able to accept this, along with the reassurance that her mother loved her to the end.