Sing Down the Moon

by Scott O'Dell, Odell Gabriel Scott

Start Free Trial

In Scott O'Dell's Sing Down the Moon, what did the character Tall Boy learn?    

Tall Boy is a warrior in the tribe who is considered a strong and powerful member. After his injury, he has trouble adapting to his new role because of his pride. He learns to value himself for the positive inner qualities that make Bright Morning marry him. In a few lines: Tall Boy had been a respected warrior in the tribe until he was wounded, which left him paralyzed and unable to fight. His wife, Bright Morning, still marries him because she loves him for more than his fighting prowess. Tall Boy has trouble adapting at first, but learns to value himself for more than his ability to fight and becomes more open to helping others as well.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Tall Boy learns to value himself not for the characteristics that made him prideful and successful before his injury, but for the positive inner qualities that make Bright Morning marry him.

Before Tall Boy is shot, he's a leader for the warriors in the tribe. The position gives him a...

This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

lot of power in their community and makes him arrogant. This arrogance comes from his strength and fighting prowess; they're what give him pride. However, he loses all of that as soon as he's paralyzed.

The paralysis happens as he's trying to rescue Bright Morning from slavery. He's successful, though after it's clear that he won't be able to fight anymore and he's relegated to the status of a woman in the tribe, she still decides to marry him. This is because it isn't his warrior strength that she loves—it's his heart and the devotion he has to the people he cares about.

After their marriage, Tall Boy learns to value those qualities in himself. Where at first he had trouble adapting to his new role, he finds new ways to be fulfilled. It tempers his haughty pride and makes him more open to others as well. Of course, it takes some time for this to occur. Tall Boy is very depressed about his injury at first. In the end, though, he still reveres the idea of a man as a warrior—since he makes a lance for his son.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Sing Down the Moon, tells the story of Bright Morning, a young Navajo girl living in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona in the mid-1860s. Early in the novel, we meet Tall Boy, who Bright Morning hopes to one day marry.

A pivotal moment happens in a battle with Spaniards when Tall Boy is shot and ends up losing the use of one arm. This disability relegates Tall Boy to the low social status of a woman because he is no longer able to perform the duties expected of a Navajo man as a hunter and warrior.

O’Dell is known for his strong female protagonists, and this novel is no exception. Despite how he is viewed in her culture, Bright Morning sees past Tall Boy’s physical limitations, and marries him anyway. She shows that she values who he is as a person and teaches him to also value those qualities in himself, showing that strength of character is more important than physical strength. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team