The Glass Castle

"I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster..."


Perseverance: Perseverance is a theme in the novel The Glass Castle because it shows Jeanette's personal achievement throughout the book, even though her parents were a bit indifferent.  When Jeannette was a child she was raised on very little money and very little stability, but throughout the novel she overcame this and made a life for herself. It shows how she escaped from her poverty filled life and unstable environment through hard work.

Instability: Instability is a theme in the novel The Glass Castle because the book shows the life of a young girl who's life is unstable. She and her family are constantly being moved from place to place, leaving all roots behind. From a car chase, moving around constantly, and lack of food to eat these children live a very crazy life.



The book begins with Jeannette watching her homeless mother dig through a dumpster. This is a symbol that Jeannette can never seem to escape from her past of poverty and homelessness. It shows the reader that Jeannette is trying to hide her past from her new life full of friends she has made while living in New York and that she is ashamed of her childhood. This also prepares for Jeannette's story that she is about to tell the reader. This also gives the reader a hint that she escaped her rough childhood and is now successful in New York.

Rising Action-

The Rising action of the story is the anticipation of the future of building the actual glass castle, and building a better life for the Walls family. Once Rex can get the money to finally obtain the family dream with the blueprints him and Jeanette have created, the family will be better off. This dream keeps the family driven, hoping that one day they will have better clothing, enough food, and a happy and content lifestyle.

Falling Action-

The falling action in the story is when Jeanette, Brian, and Lori all move to New York City to get away from their broken family. The main character, Jeanette, moved to New York to pursue her dream of becoming a journalist. Jeannette also becomes the first member of the family to graduate from college. All of the children end up moving to New York City, all having the same goal; escape their crazy family.


In the resolution of the story all the walls children continued to live in New York. Both Brian and Jeanette started their families, while Lori continued to pursue her dreams. Maureen moved to California; which was her dream home. After Rose Mary and Rex become homeless again Rex dies of a heart attack.


Jeanette- Jeanette is the narrator as well as being the second oldest child in the Walls family. Her and her father, Rex, are very close; she is the only one who really has faith in him. Out of all of the children she is her fathers favorite. She is a very hard-working and intelligent child who has many dreams and aspirations. One of which is becoming a journalist in New York City; which she later accomplishes. As Jeannette was growing up, she was forced to become self-sufficient, because of her rough upcoming. As for her intelligence, she is extremely smart for her age and learned to read and write at a young age.

Rose Mary Walls-

Rose Mary is the mother of Lori, Jeanette, Brian, and Maureen. She is married to the children's father, Rex Walls. She is very committed to her art work, and sees that as being the most important aspect of her life. She is constantly working on and comparing her art to other artwork. Rose Mary is a very selfish and irresponsible mother, who never really wanted children. Rather than getting a teaching job to provide for her family, she chooses to work on her artwork. When Jeannette and Brian found a diamond ring around the house, Rose Mary selfishly insisted on keeping it rather than selling it for food for her children.

Rex Walls-

Rex is the father of Lori, Jeanette, Brian, and Maureen. He is married to the children's mother, Rose Mary Walls. Rex is an highly intelligent man, who one day dreams of building his family a glass castle; just like his and Jeanette's blueprints. Throughout the story Rex struggles with alcoholism, and the inability to provide for his rather large family. Jeanette is Rex's favorite child because she has unconditional faith in him and his dreams. He cares more about drinking and alcohol, than the wellbeing of his family. At the end of the story he passes away from a heart attack.  


The Mohjave desert is where the Walls family lived temporarily lived to find gold.  

Phoenix, Arizona is where the Walls family moved, because Rose Mary inherited her mothers house.    

Blythe, California is where Maureen was born.

Welch, West Virginia is where the Walls family lived for a little while, and it is where filmmakers told Lori she should move to New York.

Bronx, New York is where all of the Walls family moved to at the end of the book.

Important Quotes:

“Things usually work out in the end." -Rose Mary Walls; pg 259

"What if they don't?"- Jeanette Walls; pg 259

"That just means you haven't come to the end yet.”- Rose Mary Walls; pg 259

This quote means that even though things don't go your way or how you planned, things always have a way of figuring themselves out. This quote gave the Walls children hope, exspecially Jeanette. Jeanette's mother made her realize that even though their situation seemed bad at the moment, things will always get better.

“…and as Brian and I watched, the hole for the Glass Castle’s foundation slowly filled with garbage” -Jeanette Walls; pg 155

This quote shows that no matter how hard the Walls family trys, something bad always brings them back down. They have always dreamed of building the Glass Castle, and right when they get the chance to pursue that dream it is ripped out of their hands. They tried to dig that hole, but like too many other times, money was a problem. The Walls couldn't afford the garbage componies bills, so their dream of building the castle was tossed down that hole with all their garbage.

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