Raising Children In The Glass Castle By Jeannette Walls

965 Words4 Pages

Everyone has different beliefs when it comes to raising children and what parenting methods lead to the best outcomes. The Glass Castle (1989), a memoir written by a well-known novelist and best-selling author of historical fiction, explores the topic of parenting. The author, Jeannette Walls, writes about her unconventional upbringing in the American West and West Virginia during the 1960’s and 1970’s. The memoir details the Walls family’s frequent moving to avoid bill collectors and their time in casinos, bars, and brothels. Along with the innappropriate places they visit throughout the memoir, the parents continuously showcase their questionable sense of responsibility. Contrary to what some readers think, the negative and irresponsible …show more content…

“ ‘But we were just protecting ourselves,’ “ I said. “ ‘Brian’s a man, he can take it,’ “ (147).
This exchange between Rex and Walls shows a clear sense of neglect and carelessness on the parent's part as they couldn’t be bothered to care about their son who had just been through something very traumatic. In addition to that, other similar instances occur several times throughout the course of the memoir. Further along in the memoir, a similar scene takes place between Walls and her Uncle Stanley when he begins to touch her inappropriately. When Walls tells Rose Mary about what happened, Rose Mary has almost the same exact reaction as Rex. To top it off, Rex uses Walls as a way to keep a man he hustles from being angry by letting the stranger take Walls to the bedroom and do as he pleases with her. A parenting style that advocates and is negligent toward situations like the ones above is not good for any children and should not be used as an excuse to toughen them up for the real …show more content…

In addition to everything negative that happened in the memoir on the parent's behalf, some readers view these negativities as lessons being taught by Rose Mary and Rex to better their children. This argument can be explored in the memoir when the Walls family is living in Welch and the kids choose to get jobs in order to earn money for the things they need and want. As a result of Walls’ parents refusing to get jobs and save money, Walls and her siblings learn to take responsibility and get their own jobs. For example, when Walls is in charge of taking care of her two siblings Brian and Maureen for the summer Rex spends the money Rose Mary gave her on himself and leaving little for taking care of the kids. To solve the problem Rex created, Walls decides to get a job at a Jewelry store to earn money, her reason being that, “Mom still had more than a month in Charleston; we were about to run out of grocery money; and my babysitting income wasn’t making up the difference” (214). By making their children get their own jobs, Rex and Rose Mary teach them that you have to work for the things you need and want in life if you are going to be successful. Although it may an unconventional way of doing so, Rex and Rose Mary do convey the lesson about the importance of one’s work

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