What Is the Conflict & Solution to "Walk Two Moons"?

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"Walk Two Moons" is a young adult novel by Sharon Creech that follows the journey of 13-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle as she tries to find answers about her mother, who left her family. In her search, Salamanca tries to resolve the main conflict of the novel, which is her inability to accept her life the way it is, instead of focusing on how she wants it to be. She eventually finds the answers she's looking for and comes to terms with her identity.

1 Road Trip

Salamanca, whose friends and family call her Sal, takes a road trip with her grandparents from Ohio to Lewiston, Idaho, to find her mother. Sal's mother left the family in search of her own identity, and was killed in a bus accident in Lewiston. The reader doesn't know that her mother has died until almost the end of the book. Sal's journey is about finding answers -- something that can explain why her mother left. Sal cannot accept the new life she is expected to lead since her mother left, which includes living in a new place, going to a new school and adjusting to her father's new girlfriend.

2 Phoebe's Story

During their car trip, Sal tells her grandparents many stories to pass the time. One is the story of her friend Phoebe Winterbottom, whose mother also left her family. Phoebe's story illustrates the conflict that Sal is experiencing. One day, Mrs. Winterbottom left without a note, nor an explanation. Though Sal's mother told her family that she was going to visit her relatives in Lewiston, Sal finds parallels between her story and Phoebe's as she feels she lost her mother as well and does not understand why.

3 An Answer for Phoebe

Soon after Mrs. Winterbottom disappears, Phoebe and Sal find her on a college campus in the company of a mentally unstable young boy. Mrs. Winterbottom explains that the boy is her illegitimate son, and she hid the truth out of fear of the consequences. The family is willing to listen to her and take her back. The resolution shows Sal that even though Mrs. Winterbottom left her family, it was not because she didn't love them. It provides some sense of resolution about her own mother's departure.

4 Final Resting Place

The book ends with Sal finding the wreckage of the bus accident that killed her mother. A police officer drives her to the grave site, and it is there that she is able to make peace with losing her mother. She understands that her mother loved her and that even though she is gone, Sal believes that her mother lives on in her and in nature. She goes home to Ohio ready to embrace her new life and willing to give her father's girlfriend a second chance.

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.