Child Neglect In The Glass Castle

1548 Words7 Pages
In both Kaye Gibbon’s Ellen Foster and Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle the protagonists have to endure life growing up with minimal support from their parents or guardians. Both explore the difficulties they have to face growing up alone and how they overcome it. Child neglect forces children to learn and do things themselves. This level of independence at such a young age causes them to become more responsible than their peers and gives them determination to be different from their parents and learn from their own and their parents mistakes.
When parents are absent from a majority of the childs life means that the child needs to provide their basic needs for him or herself. They are forced to figure out how to perform these tasks on their
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Implementing this duty at such a young age makes these tasks seem regular to the child. This is clearly shown in Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle. At age 13, when Jeannette is left home alone for two months to take care of her younger siblings; her mother gives her $200 to pay for expenses. When first given the money she focuses on paying for utility bills and food. Jeannette comes up with a well organized budget plan to finance themselves. “I did the math. It came out to twenty-five dollars a week, or a little over three-fifty a day. I worked out a budget and and calculated that we could indeed squeak by if I made extra money babysitting.”(Walls 209) This is the total opposite of her father, who would selfishly blow all the money on cigarettes and alcohol for himself. Typically, a 13 year old girl would not be given such a huge responsibility of taking care young children for a long period of time. Jeannette is also going to work to provide extra money for her family. By doing this she already understands the value of money and…show more content…
Ellen knows that she is not going to live with her abusive father forever, she believes that she will find a loving family that will take her in and a place to call home. When Ellen goes to Church she notices a foster mother with many children. “I went to church and figured that the woman with all the girls lined up by her had to be the new mama for me and then I looked up and thanked the lord for sending me that dress. I said I look like I am worth something today and she will notice the dress first and then me inside it and say to herself I sure would like to have a girl like her”. (Gibbons 98) Ellen has now set a goal for herself, she wants the foster mother to take her in, she will do anything to impress her, by showing how well behaved and clean she is. She is going to try her best. Comparatively children her age would not be worrying about dressing the best, and acting the most well behaved, because they have their parents to take care of them, but this is a huge deal for Ellen because it will make a big difference of how she will live. This puts Ellen ahead of the rest of her peers. Even though there is a possibility this may not happen she still holds onto hope. She holds on to hope, telling herself that things will get better in the future,
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