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Walk Two Moons Summary: Chapters 37-40

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 Idaho and Sal finishes her story, but the present narrative isn't over yet. This lesson will focus on the summary of Chapters 37-40 of ''Walk Two Moons''.

Review

Salamanca Tree Hiddle, Sal, is nearing the end of a cross-country trip with her grandparents, Gram and Gramps. They are heading to Lewiston, Idaho, to see Sal's Momma who left Sal and her father more than a year ago. To keep her grandparents occupied during the trip, and to keep her mind off the destination, Sal tells the story of her friend, Phoebe Winterbottom. But as she tells us about Phoebe, Sal is also remembering her own story, and the series of events that caused her mother to leave.

Phoebe's mother, Mrs. Winterbottom, has finally been located with Mike Bickle, who Phoebe thinks is a lunatic. Phoebe and Sal have taken the bus to Chanting Falls, where Mike goes to college. There, they see Mrs. Winterbottom give Mike Bickle a kiss.

Chapter 37: A Kiss

Sal continues telling Phoebe's story to her grandparents as they get closer to Idaho and the end of their journey. While Phoebe stares at her mother in shock, Sal can't take it. She runs away, deciding to get back to the bus stop. She is upset and runs right past the bus stop, finally stopping in front of the hospital.

Sal knows this is where Ben Finney, Sal's sort-of boyfriend, had been going. Ben was on the bus from Euclid with them, but he refused to say who he was visiting at the hospital. Suddenly, Sal thinks she knows who Ben is visiting.

Sal asks a nurse where she can find Mrs. Finney. Sal's hunch is right; there is a patient there with that name. But Mrs. Finney is in the psychiatric section of the hospital and she cannot have anyone visit. Sal sighs, but the nurse tells her that she might find Mrs. Finney and her son on the lawn.

Sal goes out to the lawn, amazed at the similarities between the college she has just left and the hospital, where people are sitting on benches and walking down neat paths. But here some of the people wear hospital gowns, and Sal doesn't see any books.

Sal sees Ben sitting with a woman who must be his mother. Mrs. Finney doesn't seem to notice Sal. Instead, she wanders around. Ben and Sal follow. Sal is painfully reminded of her own mother after her baby sister died.

Sal looks at Ben with new understanding, and Ben looks back. They kiss, finally. It's a great kiss, and at the end Ben asks Sal if it tasted like blackberries to her.

Sal rushes past the bus stop and ends up at the hospital, where she sees Ben Finney.
Sal rushes past the bus stop and ends up at the hospital, where she sees Ben Finney.

Chapter 38: Spit

Gram interrupts Sal's story to tell her how happy she is Sal finally kissed Ben. She says she's been waiting for that. Then, Sal continues telling the story.

After leaving the hospital, Sal goes back to the bus stop, where she finds Phoebe. Phoebe is very upset that Sal left her at the college. Sal apologizes and does not mention the hospital or Ben. Instead, she asks Phoebe what she is going to do now. Phoebe tells Sal she doesn't care about her mom anymore.

Back in Euclid, Phoebe learns that her mother has called. Mrs. Winterbottom will be home tomorrow and she's bringing someone with her. Phoebe, still upset about what she's seen, does not tell her father or sister where she has been or what she knows.

Sal goes back to her house, where she sees Margaret Cadaver. Margaret Cadaver, who lives next door to Phoebe, has been spending a lot of time with Sal's father, which upsets Sal. Margaret is sitting on the porch with Sal's father. She tries to be nice to Sal, but Sal doesn't respond. So Margaret leaves and Sal tells her father about Mrs. Winterbottom's imminent return. Sal's dad says he is happy for Phoebe, but he seems very sad to Sal.

Chapter 39: Homecoming

Phoebe pleads with Sal to be there when her mother comes home. Sal agrees. When she gets to Phoebe's house, Phoebe's father and sister are cleaning the house. It looks gorgeous, but then they decide to mess it up some so Mrs. Winterbottom knows they need her. Mr. Winterbottom in particular seems anxious about his wife's return. He changes his shirt and paces.

A taxi stops at the Winterbottoms' house and Mrs. Winterbottom and the lunatic Mike Bickle step out. Mrs. Winterbottom looks different: she's gotten a haircut and is wearing nice clothes. She sees her family and bursts into tears. She tells them that Mike is her son.

No one knows what to say, so Mrs. Winterbottom keeps talking. She says that she had Mike before she was married and gave him up for adoption. She never told Mr. Winterbottom or her daughters because she was afraid they wouldn't think she was 'respectable'.

Everyone is stunned at this news. Mr. Winterbottom asks his wife if she's staying, and she says she wants to. So Phoebe's dad shakes hands with Mike and asks him to sit down. Phoebe's sister Prudence flirts with Mike (which is awkward because he is her half-brother) and Phoebe storms out. Sal follows.

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