The Glass Castle Symbolism

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As a child, Jeannette Walls moves around constantly with her family. The Walls family would move to different desert towns and settle as long as Mr. Walls can hold a job. When sober, Mr. Walls represents a charismatic father who loves his children and teaches them important life skills. He encourages imagination inside of the Walls kids and often captures their dream and creativity. Together, the family had planned to build a glass castle that contains all of the family’s hope and inspiration. However, at the same time, Mr. Walls is the biggest problem in the family. Mr. Walls is a heavy alcoholic that drinks all of the family’s money away. When desperate, Mr. Walls would even steal money from the family. The drunk Dad would curse at Mom and…show more content…
Throughout the novel, readers can constantly find symbols with a deeper meaning behind it. Every one of the symbols in the novel is Jeannette’s treasured memories. As the title of the book, the glass castle is one of the main symbols mentioned throughout the novel. The glass castle is a house that the family planned to build together. “It would have a glass ceiling and thick glass walls and even a glass staircase. The Glass Castle would have solar cells on the top that would catch the sun’s rays and convert them into electricity” (Walls 25). The glass castle represents the family’s hope and dream towards the future. The castle represents Mr. Walls’s hope for an idealistic life where he could provide for his family and have a safe, stable roof above their head; the castle also represents all of Jeannette’s wonderful wishes and aspirations growing up. The glass castle is a powerful tie shared by everyone in the Walls family. “[Mr. Walls] [carries] around the blueprints for the Glass Castle wherever [he] went” (Walls 25). Though the glass castle never became a reality, the idea of glass castle bonds the family close together. In addition to the glass castle, another symbol in the book is the mountain goat. Mountain goat is a nickname Rex Walls gave to his favorite daughter Jeannette. There are numerous times in the novel when Rex calls Jeannette mountain goat. “What’s up, Mountain Goat” (Walls 36), “That’s enough, Mountain Goat” (Walls 92), or “ Me and you, Mountain Goat” (Walls 107). Mountain Goat implies Jeannette’s persistence and endurance during times of trouble; Jeannette will never give up, she will keep on trying like a mountain goat. The use of symbolism makes the novel more lively. With the use of symbolism, readers can easily make connections with Walls’s memories. Furthermore, the use of symbolism is a way for Jeannette Walls herself to preserve all the precious
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