1. The narrator is fascinated with Aunt Moon, but conflicted by her presence as well. Why is this? 2. What is she facing in her own life that invites this conflict?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Linda Hogan's "Aunt Moon" is a story of the development of the narrator's "inner eye" the soul within the narrator.

1. The young narrator is intrigued by Aunt Moon, who is more dimensional than the other residents of her dusty Oklahoma town. Like the moon, she is "full and happy" but sometimes "small and weak." In addition, mystery surrounds her as she can read tea leaves and mixes medicinal herbs into tonics for various ailments that produce the desired effects. She also talks with the narrator about love and things that her mother will not and has an "ancestral wisdom."

Aunt Moon with her second sight...and managed to break all the rules. She threw back her head and laughed out loud, showing off the worn edges of her teeth. She didn't go to church. She did a man's work, cared for animals, and chopped her own wood.

However, the narrator is also somewhat conflicted about her aunt. For one thing, she disapproves of her aunt's being with the stranger who has won all the men's money, Isaac Cade, who is younger than she. Also, "The small woman inside her eye was full and lonely at the same time." For, she has lost a child in a strange accident. Later, rumors about Aunt Moon's having been an illegitimate child surface after she becomes pregnant and Cade leaves town. Yet, the gossips who have stopped buying herbs and medicines from her rally around her and resume their purchasing of remedies.

2. The narrator is coming of age; she is a teen learning about life and love and when she witnesses the conflicting attitudes towards Aunt Moon, she becomes confused and realizes she "would have to fight hard to keep [her] life." With her aunt's words that "We grew up from mud," the narrator goes off to school in Colorado to make something of herself, and she decides that she wants Jim Tens, who says he will wait for her, to marry one of the Tubbys' daughters instead.

Read the study guide:
Aunt Moon's Young Man

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