Little Miss Sunshine trailer: http://youtu.be/VWyH_twcMl0
The term, coming of age, generally refers to a time when a child matures into adulthood. However, in literature, this term has less to do with a physical growth, and more with an emotional and/or intellectual maturity. This maturity is often marked by a moment of clarity in which the hero becomes aware of a certain truth about his/her life. This newfound awareness ultimately affects the decisions the hero makes bringing the hero closer to a more self-actualized individual.
Coming of age stories often take the shape of a physical journey where the hero must physically travel from one destination to another before the maturity is realized. Enter the road trip, a term that has in recent times been used to describe such journeys. Stories involving road trips have become commonplace in American pop culture pervading every genre of literature and film. Young Adult (YA) literature is no exception to this trend, and Walk Two Moons by author Sharon Creech is a perfect example.
On her official website [ http://sharoncreech.com/meet-sharon-creech ] Creech describes how as a kid she often took road trips with a very “noisy” and “rowdy” family of seven to states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Idaho. It was during a five-day trip to Idaho, in fact, that the seed for Walk Two Moons was planted. In the story, Lewiston, Idaho, would become the final stop for the main character, a twelve year old girl named Sal (short for Salamanca) (Interestingly, Sal was also the name of the main character in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, another story involving a road trip). More importantly, it would also be the place where Sal finally comes face-to-face with a certain truth about her life.
The road trip that Sal takes begins in Euclid, Ohio, and works its way across several states including Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and finally, Idaho. Since she is still too young to drive on her own, Sal’s grandparents, Gram and Gramps Hiddle, accompany Sal. Sal is on this trip to pay a visit to her mom, Sugar, who has for the past two years been on a journey of her own.
The map below tracks the course Gram, Gramps and Sal took in the story.
Each day of their journey, the trio visits a familiar destination for tourists. These destinations provide the backdrop for the real drama taking place, the excitement and anxiety that is building up within Sal.
Lake Michigan Surfers – Who needs oceans when lakes, particularly the Great Lakes, will do just fine?!?! Link: http://youtu.be/VUnSLWBMF0A
Politically Correct?: Even though it might be politically correct to use the term, Native American, to refer to the tribes that lived on this land before European settlers came, you might want to ask someone from one of the remaining tribes what they think. The characters of Sal and Grams preferred the term, Indian.
Do You Prefer to be Called Native American or Indian? Link: http://youtu.be/vsb3oHPGkqk
It is on Day 4 of their journey that the reader glimpses the first real conflict and mishap of the story. While getting their feet wet to cool off in the Missouri River, and while in South Dakota, a teenage boy tries to rob Sal and her grandparents of their money and belongings. It is during this robbing that Gram is bitten by a water moccasin, a poisonous snake.
Documentary about the water moccasin (aka the cottonmouth). You can fast forward to minute 6 to learn how the Indians used the water moccasin against American soldiers as a tactic of war. Link: http://youtu.be/i6-5oelx2sg
Old Faithful Video. Link: http://youtu.be/tShhZvvIM84
Glacier National Park. Link: http://youtu.be/lKxhZPnNwjM
LEWISTON TO LONGWOOD