Themes and Characters
Although growing up, first kiss, and moving are all aspects of the main character's journey, loss of a parent is the overriding theme of Walk Two Moons. Sal must accept that her mother will never return to her and her dad. Through Sal's trip with her grandparents as they retrace her mother's steps to the bus accident, and to her mother's grave, Sal comes to the realization that she must let go of her dream of having her mother back.
Sal is confused about why her mother needed to take the trip that ended her life. She feels somewhat that her mother's leaving is connected to the love or lack of love between her mother and her. However, Sugar's need to leave can be loosely connected with her feeling of being dead to whom she was. The story reveals Sugar's insecure feelings about herself and her need to find herself. Mr. Biddie adored Sugar, was crushed by her leaving and devastated by her death. Mr. Biddle's unending goodness compared to Sugar's ways contributed to Sugar's feeling of inadequacies. Sugar also lost an unborn baby. A struggle exists for Sal since the baby was lost after Sugar carried Sal from a fall. Sal feels guilty about the baby and yet, doesn't understand why her mother needed another child to love.
The move from the farm to the city takes Sal from all she holds dear, but is necessary for her father to begin healing. Sal is angry with her dad because of the move and she seems to remove herself as much as possible from her dad's life. Margaret Cadaver, who became a friend of Sugar's and is the only survivor of the bus accident, advises Mr. Biddle to move to Euclid. Unaware of the full meaning of this friendship, Sal reveals displeasure for his friendship to Margaret. In time Sal comes to understand and appreciate Margaret in their lives.
Margaret's brother, Mr. Birkway is the English teacher, and according to students, he is not the typical teacher. In fact, Mr. Birkway reminds Sal of her own mother, and he becomes the catalyst for many of the issues that growing Sal, Phoebe, and other students discuss. Another member of Margaret's family who plays an important role is her mother, Mrs. Partridge, who is blind. It is Mrs. Partridge who leaves the mysterious messages on Phoebe's doorsteps, which unintentionally connects with what is going on in the Winterbottom household.
Sal's new group of friends begins with Phoebe Winterbottom. Her family "appears" fairly normal although her mother "works a little too hard" at being the perfect mother as if she were trying to overcome something. The family has come to have certain expectations of Mrs. Winterbottom, often taking her for granted. Mrs. Winterbottom and her family's world are rocked when an illegitimate son finds her. At first, the young man doesn't identify himself and Phoebe who often makes something of nothing, makes him...
(The entire section is 745 words.)