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Jeannette Walls: The Symbolism Of The Glass Castle

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Jeannette Walls also uses the symbol of the Glass Castle, which develops throughout the memoir to show how she slowly loses trust in her father as she realises that she can not depend upon him or anyone else for happiness. The symbolism evolves throughout the memoir as Walls evolves as a person. In the beginning of the memoir, her description of the Glass Castle is naive and hopeful. Her naivety is most apparent when Walls writes, “All of Dad’s engineering skills and mathematical genius were coming together in one special project: a great big house he was going to build for us in the desert… All we had to do was find gold, Dad said, and we were on the verge of that. Once he finished the prospector and we struck it rich, he’d start work on our glass castle” (25). Walls’ innocence and optimism for the creation of the Glass Castle is indicated through her belief that Rex really is on the verge of finding gold and building the Glass Castle. In reality, he was out drinking all day, spending money that could have been used to feed Walls and her siblings. She still thinks that her father will follow through on his promises, and in doing so bring her happiness. She is unaware of his deception, which is becoming increasingly damaging to his family, as they have trouble affording food. Furthermore, Walls’ enthusiasm about the Glass Castle, calling it “special” and “great”, communicates to the reader that this is what she perceives to be her dream in life. She believes that the
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