How does Sal compare Moody Blue's behavior to her mother's? What do you learn about Sal's mother?
Moody Blue, the dog that Sal had on her farm in Bybanks, Kentucky, had puppies and protected them fiercely. She would not let anyone, not even Sal, touch them when they were first born. When it was time to wean them, however, Moody Blue pushed them away, seeming to reject them. Sal thought the dog was being hateful, but then she learned that the mother wanted them to grow up, to be on their own, and to survive. If they stayed too close to their mother, they would become vulnerable to predators. They had to learn to be strong the hard way.
Sal saw her mother’s departure reflected in Moody Blue’s behavior. Sal believes that she desperately needs her mother, that she cannot survive without her. She begins to learn the hard way that she needs to be independent from her mother. This is the process of growing up. Her mother left in part out of her love for Sal. She wants Sal to learn to be independent. Since Sal was an only child, she has only her parents and grandparents, grown-ups who will eventually die before Sal does. She has to become prepared for life without them. Sal begins to see in her mother’s leaving that her mother did indeed love her.