What is the lesson in the book Walk Two Moons?
The title of the book, Walk Two Moons, comes from the proverb that Phoebe finds on her front porch: “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.” This is the primary lesson of the novel.
Sal is struggling with the death of her mother. She encounters many people with their own struggles. Phoebe is dealing with a mother who has deserted her family. Phoebe comes up with the outrageous idea that her mother was kidnapped. Sal has trouble taking this seriously, but she soon sees in Phoebe her own wild ideas in refusing to accept the fact that her mother is not coming back. She learns to see Phoebe’s situation from Phoebe’s point of view, to walk in her moccasins.
Ben is also struggling with the loss of his mother, who has been committed to a mental hospital. Sal learns to accept Ben’s “weirdness” and takes his interest in her seriously.
When Sal at last accepts her mother’s death, she also learns to walk in the moccasins of Margaret Cadaver, who had been with Sal’s mother at her death. She also learns to understand her father’s need for Margaret, not for romantic purposes, but because she is a last link to his wife.
Sal learns the lesson of walking in someone else’s shoes, discovering that every person we encounter is fighting some battle. Walking in their moccasins, we can learn to choose kindness rather than judgment.
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