The Importance Of Neglect In The Glass Castle

1320 Words6 Pages

The Children's Bureau publicized in their last pole that every year 754,000 children are abused or neglected by a parent. This consists of abuses such as physical, mental, and neglect. The Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeannette Walls, tells stories that Jeannette remembers as a normality. However, it truly opens the reader’s eyes to a new standard for parental neglect. It seems that Jeannette grew up in cases of extreme abuse and neglect, and this causes her to rely on her siblings and gives her motivation to be successful. Jeannette’s parents, Rex and Rosemary Walls, most certainly had an interesting lifestyle causing short and long-term effects for all four of their children. Throughout the book, Rex’s substance abuse and Rosemary’s neglect …show more content…

A commonly known truth is that one should empathize with those they love. It is almost as if Rex and Rosemary do not love their children, or at least don’t know how to properly show their love and affection, as indicated in Jeannette’s stories. Having a sense of self-worth is essential to a child’s development, meaning that they should feel they matter to those they love, including their parents. Rex and Rosemary are both detrimental figures in all four of their children’s life due to the fact that they make them feel worthless. Both Brian and Jeannette are sexually abused by two family members, Erma and Stanley, and when Rosemary and Rex are made aware of the problem, they approach it as the kids’ fault. “She said that sexual assault was a crime of perception. “If you don’t think you’re hurt, then you aren’t (Walls 184).” Rosemary makes Jeannette feel like she is insignificant to her and doesn’t make the effort to stick up for her child. At this point, Jeannette must feel worthless to her mother, bringing her self-esteem to a low. A similar reaction is taken by Rex when Brian is molested by Erma. “ Dad came stomping downstairs , furious at all of us, me for talking-back to Erma and making wild accusations, Lori even more for daring to strike her own grandmother, and Brian for being …show more content…

Yet, these children, especially Jeannette, have an unending love for Rex and Rosemary. This is not uncommon, and in fact, abused children keep coming back to their parents because they have hope that their parents still love them. This is not to say that Rex and Rosemary did not love their children, but one could make an argument that their actions indicate differently. For example, when Jeannette is a young teenager, Rex “pimps” her up and takes her to a bar with the intentions of using her to make money by offering her to an older man. “ ‘Holler if you need me ,’ he said and winked at me as if to say he knew I could take care of myself, that this was part of my job” (Walls 212). Jeannette described that this experience made her feel used by her father and gave her a sense of self-worthlessness. Rex knew that Jeannette had a soft spot for him and he took advantage of this. Jeannette has a psychological scar from this for the rest of her life, and it produced long-term effects of distrust and diminished self-worth. As a child she had been through more than most adults, and in one case she even wakes up in the middle of the night with a child molester in her bed. “One night when I was almost ten, I was awakened by someone running his hands over my private parts” (Walls 103). This all happened due to the fact that her mother and father refused to lock the doors

Show More
Open Document