Abuse In The Glass Castle

1101 Words5 Pages

In a controversial memoir about an unconventional family, four children suffer as a result of her parents. In the memoir The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Jeannette writes about experiences with family throughout her life. Her parents, Rex and Rose Mary, raise the four Walls children in a unique and traumatizing manner. The kids are almost fully responsible for raising themselves, due to their parents' abuse and neglect. Although the Walls siblings are able to learn self efficiency from their childhood, Rex and Rose Mary Walls’ parenting style endangers their children physically and emotionally. Throughout the lives of Jeannette and her siblings, her parents are unable to provide them with their basic necessities such as food, water, clothing, …show more content…

According to New Jersey law, neglect is constituted as “willfully failing to provide … food, clothing, maintenance, regular school education … medical attendance, and a clean and proper home” (“NJ Law”). The Walls continuously fail to accomplish these requirements throughout the memoir. In one instance when the family runs out of food, Rose Mary Walls encourages Jeannette to “slice off the maggoty parts” of their dinner and tells her not to be “so picky” when she refuses to eat it. (Walls 107). Rose Mary’s attempt at persuading Jeannette to eat around the maggots serves as evidence that the Walls are unable to provide proper food for their children or remain clean. Although Rex and Rose Mary may try their best to feed and care for their children it is not enough to keep them healthy, physically or emotionally. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Jeannette recalls the starvation they faced, and how the children knew “they [couldn’t] turn to [their] Mom and Dad and tell them [they’re] hungry” (“The New York Socialite” 1:29-1:31). Jeannette also explains how her childhood “was disgusting … [and] she had nightmares about it for years afterwards” (1:16-1:19). The effects of Rex and Rose Mary’s parenting are clearly still present in the children later in their lives, even after they get married or have children. While they may have escaped the poor living situation from their childhood, …show more content…

Their youngest child, Maureen, suffers a severe mental breakdown and stabs Rose Mary before moving to California. Jeannette, Brain, and Lori end up as successful adults, with healthy relationships and children. The members of the family who continue to live as they do suffer in the end, although they may have been happy with their own decisions. The Walls siblings certainly learn how to support themselves, yet they continue to suffer from the memories of their cruel childhood. Perhaps if the Walls children were placed into the foster care system at a young age, they could have avoided years of neglect and abuse. While victims of child abuse are able to grow into successful adults, their traumatic experiences follow them forever. As John Balguy states, “Whatever parent gives his children good instruction and sets them at the same time a bad example, may be considered as bringing them food in one hand and poison in the

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