Rhetorical Devices In The Glass Castle

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“If you don 't want to sink, you better figure out how to swim” (41). Although Rex Walls was not always an admirable father and role model, he did make an essential point while teaching his daughter, Jeannette, how to swim. In life, not everything comes without resistance. As Jeannette Walls describes throughout her life story, sometimes people are forced to face hardships that make them question their whole life. However, as seen in her book, it is important to learn to take those hardships and use them to shape one’s future for the better. In her memoir, The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls describes her unique childhood through motifs, complex symbolism, and progressive tones in order to demonstrate how one’s past positively influences their future. Throughout her writing, Jeannette implements the rhetorical device of a motif in order to demonstrate to her audience how the recurring themes affected her future. Beginning when Jeannette was only three years old and continuing into her time as an adult, the Walls family used the phrase, “doing the skedaddle” (10) to represent their need to move. Seeing as most children and families do not move as frequently as the Walls did, “doing the skedaddle” was their way of turning a normally tragic thing into something lighthearted, if not almost humorous. When Rex Walls would announce that they had to leave, the children would not become irritable because, to them, this meant a new adventure was ahead. As she grew up, Jeannette brought
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