Walk Two Moons Summary: Chapters 13-16

Instructor: Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

Sal and her grandparents make it to South Dakota, where they immediately run into serious trouble. This lesson will focus on Chapters 13 through 16 of ''Walk Two Moons''.


Salamanca Tree Hiddle, better known as Sal, is taking a road trip with her grandparents from Ohio to Idaho. As they travel, Sal tells them the story of her friend, Phoebe Winterbottom, Phoebe's disappearing mother, and the lunatic. But Sal is also remembering her own story and the reasons why her own mother, Momma left.

At her new home in Ohio, Sal has met many people: Margaret Cadaver, who is too close to Sal's dad for Sal's comfort, Mary Lou Finney and her crazy family, and Mary Lou's cousin, Ben Finney, who obviously has a crush on Sal. Sal is confused about her feelings for Ben, who also has a missing mother and is carrying around some secrets of his own.

Chapter 13: Bouncing Birkway

Sal remembers the first day of school. She tells Gram and Gramps all about her new English teacher, Mr. Birkway. He's always bouncing around the classroom, and he adores teaching and his subject. Ben, Phoebe, and Mary Lou are all in Sal's English class. The very first day of school, Mr. Birkway collects the class's journals, and everyone is upset. They thought the journals would be private. Sal doesn't have a journal, since she is new to the school. Mr. Birkway tells Sal he will come up with something for her, which makes her nervous about this. Sal is sure trouble will happen because of these journals.

Chapter 14: The Rhododendron

Now Sal returns to her story about Phoebe. She tells her grandparents about an afternoon she spent at Phoebe's house. The two of them watched Margaret Cadaver dig up a rhododendron bush in her yard. Phoebe remarks that she's sure Margaret is an axe murderer, and that she killed her husband. Her whole backyard is probably full of chopped up dead bodies! Sal doesn't believe Phoebe, but likes thinking badly about Margaret. Sal is still jealous about the amount of time Margaret spends with her father.

Rhododendron Bush
Rhododendron Bush

As Phoebe and Sal watch, a car pulls into Margaret's driveway. Their English teacher, Mr. Birkway, gets out and helps Margaret dig up the bush. Sal and Phoebe watch, wondering what this means.

Phoebe's mother comes back from grocery shopping. Sal thinks that she's been crying, and tells Phoebe that they should help her put away the groceries. Phoebe tells Sal her mother likes doing that, but Sal can't believe anyone likes putting away groceries.

Mrs. Winterbottom, who still looks sad, asks her other daughter Prudence, ''Do you think I lead a tiny life?'' Prudence brushes off the question and asks her mother to hem her skirt. Sal is amazed at Prudence's rudeness, but Phoebe doesn't even notice. When Sal gets home, her dad tells her there is something he has to tell her about Margaret Cadaver. Sal says she doesn't want to know, and realizes that she sounds just like Phoebe.

Chapter 15: A Snake has a Snack

The narrative switches back into the present. Sal and her grandparents make it into South Dakota. They stop at the Missouri River and swim, but a teenager shows up with a knife. He makes them stay in the river while he looks through their clothes for money.

Water Moccasin
Water Moccasin

As they sit in the river, a water moccasin, a very poisonous snake, bites Gram on the leg. Gramps carries Gram to the car, and the boy who had tried to rob them uses the knife to cut into the wound on her leg and sucks the poison out. He spits it on the ground and gives Gramps directions to the closest hospital. It appears he's decided not to rob them after all.

The hospital keeps Gram overnight. Nurses try to kick Gramps out, but he refuses. Sal and the young man stay in the waiting room all night. Sal tries to give him some money, but he refuses it. He tells Sal that he likes her hair.

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