Jun 4, 2009

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Walk Two Moons is the Newbery winning book by Sharon Creech. The storyline is composed of three different time periods in Sal's life. The novel weaves these narratives together; one is reaching towards the future, one is the recent past, and the third connects to events in the more distant past. Sal is moving forward on a cross-country road trip with her grandparents on her way to see her mother. Along the way she tells stories of her new friend in the town she recently moved to, these connect back to deeper memories of her childhood. While the book deals with a lot of dark themes, it is more concered with the reality of life rather than being a menacing tragedy. The novel explores how we all have struggles in our lives.


One of the moments in that book that explores some themes is when the class reads and tries to understand a poem.

"Mr. Birkway read a poem by Longfellow: "The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls." The
way Mr. Birkway read this poem, you oculd hear the tide rising and falling,
rising and falling" (181).
The book then excerpts a portion of the poem, but here it is in full:

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveler hastens toward the town,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The class continues to discuss the poem, in part showing how a good poem can have a complexity of meanings.

"Mr. Birkway asked for reactions to this poem. Megan said that it
sounded soft and gentle, and it made her go to sleep.

'Gentle?' I said. 'It's terrifying.' My voice was shaking. 'Someone
is walking along the beach, and the night is getting black, and the person keeps
looking behind him to see if someone is following, and a jing-bang wave comes up
and pulls him into the sea.'

'A murder,' Phoebe said.

I went barreling on as if it was my poem and I was the expert. 'The
waves, with their "soft, white hands" grab the traveler. They drown
him. They kill him. He's gone.'

Ben said, 'Maybe he didn't drown. Maybe he just died, like normal people
die.'

Phoebe said, 'He drowned.'

I said, 'It isn't normal to die. It isn't normal. It's terrible.'

Megan said, 'What about heaven? What about God?'

Mary Lou said, 'God? Is He in this poem?'

Ben said, 'Maybe dying could be normal and terrible'" (182-3).


I like how this poem and other moments in the English class deals with the different ways writing can be interpreted. Over the summer the students were asked to keep journals and parts of these were read outloud in the class. Originally I thought that Walk Two Moons was the first book written, but actually Absolutely Normal Choas was written first. It was the journal of Mary Lou, then Sharon Creech decided she wanted to explore what would happen when those journals were turned in. She explains by saying, "This story began as a follow-up to Absolutely Normal Chaos. In that book, Mary Lou Finney writes a summer journal, and as I began Walk Two Moons, I was merely speculating about what might happen when she turned in that summer journal to her English teacher."

I really enjoyed the storytelling of this novel and the way that the plot unfolds slowly. The writing was done in a slight dialect, which I do not enjoy, but it was so slight that it was easy to itgnore. The books had a lot of subplots going on, but they just made the story rich definitely not overdone.

The title of this story comes frim a saying presented early in the book, "Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins."

Do you think that is a good motto to live by?

2 comments:

  1. i think this book is great for kids,i am in the middle of reading it and its great so far.can not wait to find out what happens.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I read this as a child and wouldn't have remembered doing so until I stumbled upon your blog and saw the cover. Thanks for taking me back in time!

    ReplyDelete

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