The Glass Castle: Jeannette Walls- Responsibility Haileigh Williams Upon reading The Glass Castle, written by Jeannette Walls, the reader will quickly notice all of the responsibilities Jeannette; the author and narrator of the novel, takes on throughout her life. The book itself is a memoir of Jeannette’s life that takes place from 1963 to 2005 and takes the reader through the ups and downs of Jeannette’s life in poverty and somewhat neglect. While reading the novel, the reader will be shown situations where they will be shocked and heartbroken. Jeannette’s family isn’t the average family from the south.
In The Glass Castle Jeannette Walls faces harsh stuff through her childhood because of her parents. In the beginning of the book she finds her mother digging through trash. She feels embarrassed, so she turns around and goes home without saying hello. Jeanette then calls her mother and asks to have dinner with her. She offers her mother help because she feels guilty, but her mother rejects her help. Jeanette’s mother then tells her that her values are all wrong. Jeanette opens up to her mother about being embarrassed and passing her up in the streets. When her mother asks her why, Jeannette says, “I was too ashamed, Mom. I hid”(5). This quote also relates to her childhood. Jeanette’s childhood was shameful due to her parents careless way of living. Throughout The Glass Castle Jeannette hides her childhood just like she from her mother because she is ashamed of what people might think.
Paul Ryan once said, “Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.” Individuals must strive upon excellence based on the society they are placed in. Watching how others react can help one become the best they can be. Throughout The Glass Castle, Jeannette is exposed to society by her parents. Her parents, Rex and Rose Mary, see society in different means than how others perceive it. They think they can bend the rules and do what they think is necessary. Jeannette is exposed to these understandings, making her the person she grew up to be. Jeanette demonstrates how she struggles with her family throughout numerous portions of the novel: “The Desert,” “Welch,” New York.” These struggles developed and defined who she came to be.
“Life’s too short to care about what other people think” (Jeannette Walls). It is good to not care what other people think, so stay true in life and live it to the fullest. The book, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, is a memoir that tells the story of Jeannette’s difficult family and her poor living conditions, that cause life to be difficult for her. She struggles to move past all the hardships in life and she learns how to overcome the majority of them, so she can develop into her own person. Even though her family can be a little peculiar, they possess a strong bond with each other and they always seek to help one another out.
In this world, there’s learning things the hard way and the easy way; in Jeannette Wall’s world, there’s only learning things the hard way. The Glass Castle is an adventurous story that reveals the painfully miserable story of Jeannette Walls. A selfish mother, a careless father, and terrible social encounters- these are some of the elements of a harsh reality Rex and Rose Mary Walls failed to shield their children from. Growing up poor was already difficult, but growing up with a selfish parent, specifically an unfeeling mom, made life hell for the Walls children. The family barely had one source of income from Rex Walls, and instead of helping out with the family’s finance issues, Rose Mary spent her days at home painting.
Once she moves to New York and reinvents herself, she tries to forget her old life. No one knows who Jeannette truly is and what her life was like before. Firstly, she feels shame from her parents lifestyle and does not want her acquaintances to find out about the way her parents live. “It had been months since I laid eyes on Mom, and when she looked up, I was overcome with panic that she'd see me and call out my name, and that someone on the way to the part would spot us together and Mom would introduce herself and my secret would be out” (The Glass Castle 3). Even though she feels shame because of her parents, she also feels guilty because how ashamed she is of her parents.
In The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls is forced to take care of herself from a very young age. Her parents are mentally unstable, and her dad regularly turns to alcohol. She is forced to move when any problems arise, which is often--from Battle Mountain to Phoenix to the small town of Welch, Virginia. Despite all of this, Jeannette has a memorable childhood, riding around on bikes, petting cheetahs, and declaring ownership of stars. Throughout her whole life, she is consistently the only one that believes in her reckless father. Even still, when their parents and their living situation becomes too much to bear, she and her sister Lori decide that they must get out, and find New York City to be the ideal location. In the end, Jeannette accepts
While some of these skills may have been a little too out of control and could have been harmful for their children at times, some of these skills helped them become more independent and self reliant people. Without the rough childhood that Jeannette went through, who knows if she would have been able to become the successful person that she is
Parental Influence Parents are the biggest influence upon their children. From the time a child is born to the time they leave the household, the values that the parents hold are instilled into their children. Parents are required to make crucial decisions about how to raise their children in order to guide them through the inevitable obstacles and hardships of life. In The Glass Castle, many would argue the lack of care and responsibility the Walls had for their children. The author, Jeannette Walls, uses Rex and Mary Walls to demonstrate that their strong traits of non-conformity, self-sufficiency and perseverance are passed on to their children, allowing them to develop to their full potential.
Most of the information, beliefs, and life skills that one gains in life is gathered during the early years of life. Also during this time, one develops and grows to become the person they will be. Ellen’s childhood forced her be become independent, as well as view herself and others differently as she matured. Ellen’s independence was a result of her lack of a parent figure in her early years of life. She was given the tasks of learning on her own and doing things considered more mature, such as taking care of herself and paying bills, something that one normally is not tasked with until they have grown up.
(115-116). This sedate tone is a clear craft move by the author. She specifically makes Jeannie seem resigned and about to give up. Denials of small, everyday, opportunities like this can have a damaging impact on one’s mental health and can create an inferiority complex. For example, Jeanne starts blaming herself and her race for everything that happens to her.
“Believe in miracles…. Hope is never lost” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland). Believing that the worst is behind them and that they will come upon a better life is the only way that Jeanette Wall’s family is able to stay afloat. In Jeannette Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle, the symbol of hope is portrayed through a Glass Castle: a real home in which everyone is important and loved. The Glass Castle is the one idea that helps the family continue to grow and move forward even though the Castle has different meaning to each of the members of the family. To Jeanette and her siblings the Glass Castle is a symbol of hope, to the mother, it is a symbol of relaxation and what life would be like without responsibilities, and to dad, it symbolizes every broken promise he has made to his children, but in the Glass Castle, he has not broken a single one.
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
That’s the only way to keep the roads clear.” Which was said by Greg Kincaid. This point is very emphasized in the book in most of its plot points from the burning of Jeannette’s body from the hot dog accident to finally running away to New York from her irresponsible parents. The first scene where human resilience is demonstrated is when Jeannette is cooking hot dogs and lights herself on fire.