The Glass Castle

Jamie Seward

Theme

Forgiveness; Jeanette spends her whole life forgiving her parents multiple times for the bad choices that they made that affected the children. Even when Jeanette and her family had no food in their stomachs, no roof over their heads, or even no heat, Jeanette forgave her parents even when they didn't deserve it. Jeanette and her siblings always found some way to bring their parents back into their hearts and forgive them.

Maturity; The Walls children have to learn to fend for themselves and protect each other while living with a mother and  a father that either have a drinking problem or left them to raise themselves.

Plot

Introduction: Jeanette was sitting in a taxi on her way to a party, and as she looks out the window she notices her mom wearing dirty, old clothes while digging through the trash can. Jeanette tries to hide herself because she is embarrassed that her mom is living like that, so she goes home and skips the party. She met her mom for lunch and they started a conversation. Rose Mary told Jeanette that Jeanette's values were all confused and that she got embarrassed to easily and she had to accept the fact of who her mother and father were.

Rising Action: When Jeanette was 3 years old, she was cooking hot dogs and started a fire. After this incident, the family moved to Phoenix. The family was making steady money and then Rex's drinking addiction started to cause problems, leading to abuse of Rose Mary, the mother. They left Phoenix and went to stay with Erma, the grandmother, in West Virginia.

Climax: Erma tried to molest Brian which lead to a fight with Lori and Erma. Erma kicked the family out of her house. The family had to move to a small house on Hobart St. The house didn't have any insulation so there was no much heat in the house. The yard was very junky. This was supposed to be the foundation for the glass castle that Rex had promised his children, but he didn't stop drinking which made the plan of building the glass castle, a promise that was never kept.  This made Jeanette look at her father as a liar.

Falling Action: The children all ended up moving to New York to start their new lives. Jeanette pursues her writing career and attends Columbia University. Rex and Rose Mary eventually move to New York to try and become close with their children, but their plan failed. After looking for places to stay and jobs to work at, the parents became homeless.

Resolution: Maureen decided to move to California. Brian becomes a cop and gets married, but later got divorced. Jeanette graduated college and finds a rich husband but figured out that it wasn't the right choice. After she divorced her husband, she found her parents living in a squat building. Jeanette's father ended up dying and Jeanette found a new husband with two kids, from his previous wife. At the end, they made a toast to Rex.

Characters


Jeanette Walls

Jeanette Walls was the narrator in the story. Jeanette was the daughter of Rex and Rose Mary Walls. Jeanette was adventurous, crazy-hearted, and she was dad's favorite child. During middle school, Jeanette was bullied. She had to become independent because of her mom and dad's resentments. Eventually, Jeanette got her life together and got enough money to pursue her dreams. Jeanette is motivated by success and better chances in the real world. She uses her intelligence to move away from her parents.

Rex Walls

Rex Walls was the father of Jeanette, Lori, Brian, and Maureen Walls. Rex was a skilled electrician and an engineer. Rex spends his spare time coming up with an creating new inventions. During his childhood, he got sexually abused. Rex was a really bad alcoholic. Therefore, he cared about his alcohol more than he cared about the living conditions of and health of his family. He is motivated by alcohol and his desire for his family's self-sufficiency.

Rose Mary Walls

Rose Mary Walls was the mother of Jeanette, Lori, Brian, and Maureen Walls. Rose Mary is a very irresponsible mother. When Jeanette was three, Jeanette was cooking hot dogs and she burned herself. Rose Mary is extremely selfish. She believes that her children are standing in the way of her pursuing her dreams. Rose Mary also believes that people have the ability to make their lives whatever they want it to be. She is motivated by her own desires and values.

Setting

Tuscon, Arizona- Jeanette's birth place. When Jeanette was three, she caught on fire while she was cooking hot dogs.

Las Vegas, Nevada- The family moved here and lived in a hotel. The family has to "skedaddle" and get out of the town quick. On the way there, Jeanette fell out of the car while they were going over the railroad tracks but her parents came back and got her.

San Francisco, California- The family moved into a hotel there. The hotel caught on fire, so they had to leave.

Midland, California- The family moved to a small town in California.

Blythe, California- The family moved here and lived in an apartment. Jeanette goes to school. The students picked on her a lot because she was skinny. On the way home from school, a group of Mexican girls jump her and beat her up.

Battle Mountain, Nevada- The family moved into a depot station that didn't have any furniture. The children slept in refrigerator boxes.Rex got a job at Barite mine and stopped drinking heavily. The family left Battle Mountain because of a conflict between the children and another kid named Billy.

Phoenix, Arizona- The family stayed in their grandma's old house.There was 14 rooms in the house. All of the children went to school and they were all put in gifted reading programs. Lori had to get glasses and Rose Mary needed glasses as well but she didn't want them because she thought that her eyes needed to get better on their own.Rex got a job as an electrician and bought the children bikes. The house was infested with termites and roaches.The house started to fall apart and then Rex started to drink again, and then they started to run out of money.

Welch, West Virginia- The family decided to go immediately to the home of the Rex's family. The children met their grandparents and their uncle. The grandmother was called by the name of Erma. When Rex and Rose Mary left, Erma tried to molest Brian which leads to a fight between her and Lori. The family moved out of the house and they got their own place that they stayed in, until they children graduate.

New York, New York- Jeanette moved to New York at the end of her high school years and lived with Lori. Jeanette went to college at Columbia University and she had her first job as a reporter. Rex and Rose Mary moved to New York to try and be closer to their children. Even though they got there, they had nowhere to go so they became homeless. They didn't seem upset, however, they thought of it as an adventure.

Important Quotes

"If you don't want to sink, you better figure out how to swim" (Walls 66). Jeanette's dad says this to Jeanette as a life lesson. This is important because it is her dad's way of letting her know that if Jeanette doesn't learn how to live on her own, she won't ever make it in the real world without her father.

"The most important thing about life is learning how to fall" (Jeanette 123). This is important because Jeanette went through a lot of tough challenges throughout the book but she never gave up. Jeanette is saying that life gets better and once she falls, she can get back up and try again and  she will be even stronger than she was before.

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