The Glass Castle

a story of one family's madness and resilience

Themes

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a key part of this novel, and it pertains to pardoning family members, especially Rex. Jeannette and her sister Lori had been saving money to move to New York, when one day they come home to find all their money has been stolen by their father, Rex. Rex shows no remorse and even taunts the girls about the incident, but Jeannette and Lori forgive him, and start their saving over again.

Loyalty

This theme means devotion to your family. In the book Rex is constantly losing the family's money, yet they always stay with him. In one chapter Jeannette confronts her mother about the situation and suggests that the family leave dad, but mom profusely refuses to consider the idea as a possibility.

Plot

nIntroduction: The book starts out as Jeannette sees her mother rummaging through the trash on the streets of NYC. She is ashamed about this so she goes back home and does not go to the party she was on her way to attend. This shows that even as an adult Jeannette is still very affected by her parents.

Rising Action: The rising action includes the insane and tragic events of the author's childhood. Examples of these events include: Jeannette being burned while cooking hot dogs on the stove, their dad ruining Christmas, Lori fighting with their grandmother Erma, and Rex stealing Lori and Jeannette's money.

Climax: The climax is when Jeannette finally decides to leave. She buys a bus ticket to New York City to find Lori and live with her.

Falling Action: In this book the falling action starts with Jeannette inviting Bryan to live with her and Lori in the city. After a while of the three children living together they ask Maureen to live with them as well. It isn't long before Rex and Rose Mary, their parents, move to New York to live as squatters.

Resolution: In the end of the book Jeannette is married to her second husband John and they live in a farmhouse outside of the city. The author's family comes over for Thanksgiving, including: her mother, Lori, Bryan, Bryan's daughter, and Jeannette's step-daughter. They have a nice time during dinner, and in the end they all toast to Rex.

Characters

Jeannette: She is the author and main character of this memoir. Jeannette is motivated by her desire to be a writer and to overcome being the daughter of the town drunk. Her main baggage is her parents, she is ashamed that they are homeless and like to live the way they do. Jeannette is significant because the story is told from her point of vie, and she is the main character.

Dad: Rex is the author's father. His motivations are  money and alcohol. Rex has to deal with the baggage of not being able to provide for his family. He is significant because he is both an antagonist and protagonist in the lives of Jeannette and her family.

Mom: Rose Mary is Jeannette, Bryan, and Lori's mother. She is married to their father Rex. She is motivated by her desire to be a well known artist. Her baggage includes her mood swings, and the dreams she lost after marrying Rex. She is significant because she influenced the children's lives by staying with Rex even though he wasted all the money, and she caused therm to live in poverty by not selling her land.

Setting

This is where Jeannette was born, and was burned while cooking hotdogs on the open ranged stove.

This is where the Walls' lived and it was one of the happiest times for the family. they lived in a hotel and Rex developed a way to beat the house at blackjack which angered the casino owners so they had to leave town.

The Walls' lived in the LBJ hotel, which caught on fire while they lived there.

. While in Midland the children often play in the desert which surrounds them. One night Jeannette and her father go on a "demon"  hunt after she hears something under her bed. This is significant because it shows the bond with her father.

While in Blythe, Jeannette attended school. She was jumped in an alley after school one day, because she was one of the best students, and she was an outsider.Brian comes to her rescue the next day by helping to fend off the girls.

During their stay in Battle Mountain, the family lived in a decommissioned train depot.The children would go explore in the desert and Jeannette accumulated a large rock collection.

The Walls' house in Phoenix belonged to Rose Mary's mother. It was a nice,m big house and the Walls' had money for a while. Rex stopped drinking and they had money for luxuries such as bikes and a washing machine. Rose Mary bought art supplies and painted or wrote most of the time, while the children rode their bikes to school or the library.The family also has a failed attempt at visiting the Grand Canyon which results in abandoning the car and many possessions. 

Welch is the home of Rex's family. The Walls' go stay with his mother Erma when they arrive in town. Rex and Rose Mary decide to go back to Phoenix during the winter to retrieve their lost possessions. While they are gone Lori gets into a fight with Erma after she attempts to molest Bryan. After Erma dies Jeannette and her mother are at her uncle Stanley and grandfather's new apartment when her uncle tries to molest her. The family moves to a decrepit house on little Hobart Street and that is where they stay until moving to New York.

Lori is the first to move to New York and Jeannette follows her after her junior year of high school. The pair then invite Bryan who agrees to move and later Maureen moves into Lori's apartment and attends high school in the  city. Once the children have settled into their new home, none other than their parents arrive.They live with their children for a while before moving out onto the streets to live as squatters, which is where they remained until Rex dies.

Quotes

1. "It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty." In this quote Jeannette's mother spots a large old Joshua tree and when Jeannette suggests they move a smaller tree nearby somewhere else than the desert. This is significant because the children have had to endure many struggles and this has contributed to the great people they have become.

2. "A wind picked up, rattling the windows, and the candle flames suddenly shifted, dancing along the border between turbulence and order." This quote is from the scene in which the was last time that Rex spoke to Jeannette. The ending about turbulence and order is a great representation of the lives of the Walls'.

Comment Stream