Discussion Topic

The impact of the setting on the novel and its characters in Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Summary:

The setting in Walk Two Moons significantly impacts the novel and its characters by shaping their journeys and emotional landscapes. Salamanca's cross-country trip mirrors her internal quest for understanding and closure regarding her mother's disappearance, while the rural and small-town environments reflect her connection to nature and her heritage.

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In Walk Two Moons, how does the setting impact the novel?

In literature, the setting is where and when a story takes place. Walk Two Moons, a novel by Sharon Creech, essentially has two settings. One setting is in Salamanca "Sal" Tree Hiddle's home in Euclid, Ohio. The other setting is along the road trip from Ohio to Idaho that Sal takes with her grandparents to find her mother's final resting place.

The setting at Sal's home in Euclid, Ohio impacts the novel because it is a reminder to readers that Sal does not consider this home her true home. Sal believes that her home in Bybanks, Kentucky is her true home and where she belongs.

The road trip setting impacts this novel because it acts as a way for Sal to feel connected to her mother. Each place that Sal and her grandparents stop is a place that her mother stopped. Through the road trip readers learn that Sal's mother has passed away and that this trip is a way to let Sal really understand and process her feelings.

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In Walk Two Moons, how does the setting impact the novel?

There are two separate stories in the novel: one takes place in Sal’s new home of Euclid, Ohio, and the other is on the road with her grandparents, traveling to Idaho. Sal makes it clear from the beginning that her real home is in Bybanks, Kentucky, where she had lived with her parents before her mother left home. Bybanks is in the country and a place of wide, open spaces. Euclid is a town where Sal feels crowded in. She misses the trees of Bybanks. She feels this defines her; Euclid does not. Yet her father needs to be in Euclid since they have learned that Sal’s mother is not returning.

On the road, Sal prays to the trees, hoping to get to Idaho by her mother’s birthday to bring her home. Each stop on the way is a place where her mother stopped. She had taken a bus and sent postcards to Sal along the way. The road serves as a link to her mother, Sal feels. Her grandparents (her father’s parents) are eccentric, but she loves them. They remind her of Bybanks.

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What is the setting of the novel Walk Two Moons?  

There are two different settings which can be found in Sharon Creech's novel Walk Two Moons: the literal and the figurative.

The literal setting of the novel is set in between Ohio and Idaho. The protagonist, Sal, travels with her grandparents in order to retrace the final steps her mother took. Sal's grandparents believe that Sal needs to experience the same things her mother did in order to not forget her mother and to see things as her mother did.

The figurative setting of the novel also encompasses a journey. This time, the journey is one which takes place between childhood and adolescence.

With each step, both Sal's literal and figurative journey forces her to reconcile certain aspects of her own life. Given that she has lost an important figure in her life responsible for the molding of her character and life, each journey is symbolic in its importance to Sal's growth from a child to an adolescent.

Parts of her literal journey include visiting the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, Yellowstone National Park, and Coeur d'Alene (all important to her, and her mother's, Native American heritage and culture). As for her figurative journey, it is important based upon the fact that Sal needs to complete her literal journey in order to complete her figurative one.

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How does the setting in Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech affect the characters?

The settings in Walk Two Moons are several. The primary setting frames the others, which are the result of narrative flashbacks into fragmented time. The framing setting is the ever changing surroundings of the road trip that Sal has embarked on in order to find out what happened to her mother. Within this frame, flashbacks introduce the farm, in Bybanks, Kentucky, where she has thus far grown up and where she lived happily with her mother and father; her grandparents town, Euclid, Ohio, where her father moves them after his wife fails to return from her trip; various places within the town that are part of Sal's narrative flashbacks, which give insight into Sal's thoughts and character; and nature, which is where Sal begins to learn the depth of her identity.

On the trip, Sal learns about Gram and Gramps as they tell their own stories and react to her stories and questions. Sal is introduced on the road to the various lessons she has to learn on her coming of age journey. The town flashbacks provide more insight into Sal's character and problems and provide friends and situations that help explain the situation Sal herself is in. Nature is a critically important setting because Sal learns to identify with and embrace as a part of her self the traditions and wisdom of her heritage and of the past her mother was seeking when she started her quest.

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