The Glass Castle

Survival at its finest


One theme is forgiveness. It is a theme because throughout the story the mom and dad neglected the children and should be punished, but the children also need to understand that they try their hardest to keep them alive with the conditions their in.

Another theme is, sometimes the most mature and most responsible people in the family are the children, not the parents. Just like whenever the dad gets a lot of money, which is rare, he spends it on alcohol and doesn't always think about the family. The mom however is irresponsible with her mothering because even though the kids are struggling with food and all, she keeps telling them that it's a big adventure like it's suppose to happen.


The Walls family were dirt poor and living every second for survival. They move from place to place to find a better life for themselves. Dad had a couple jobs, but then got fired and mom, found a job for teaching, but then ended because of New York. Throughout the story the family were struggling, but then Jeanette and her sister Lori moved to New York for a better life. Jeanette found a job of being a reporter and made a great living, once the family heard how well Jeanette and Lori were doing, the mom and dad moved in with them. After a while Jeanette told mom that she has to leave the house because it wasn't working out, and she then became homeless.


Jeanette: She is the youngest kid in the family that had to grow up with a lot of struggles. What motivates Jeanette is that she wants to find a better life for her and the family. The baggage she carries is to work hard for her family even though she is the youngest. The significance in this character is that the story is based on her actual life.

Mom: She is the mother of Jeannette, Lori, and Brian. She also is hard-working and tries to survive. The motivation she has is to do as much as she can to keep the family alive, she even got a job as a teacher. The baggage she carries is her husband, that's an alcoholic and all of her children's lives in her hands. The significance of the mother is that she never thinks about leaving her husband and she wants to always stay a family no matter how hard it is.

Dad: This is the father of the kids, and also an alcoholic. The motivation behind this character is the fact that it's pretty much up to him to keep the family alive. He also teaches the kids certain ways of survival because he has lots of experience. The baggage the dad carries is that he's always getting drunk and not helping the family, but also when he isn't drunk he has to work as hard as he can to keep the family together. The significance behind this character is that he gets in many arguments, but he still loves his family and works hard to teach the kids and to keep them alive.


Phoenix, Arizona- Jeannette's grandmas house, the children go to school while living there. Lori is told she needs glasses and Rex gets a job as an electrician and buys the children bicycles. There was an insect problem, the house was infested with roaches and termites. And finally, their neighborhood was filled with gypsies and perverts.

Tuscon, Arizona- Jeannette's birthplace.

Blythe, California- The family lives in an apartment and Jeannette goes to school. She was one of the smartest kids in the class and one day, on the way home, 6 Mexican girls jumped her. Brian tries to help by using a branch but the girls were not scared. With teamwork from Brian and Jeannette, the girls finally leave.

Las Vegas, Nevada- The family lives in a hotel in here. Rex develops a winning method for blackjack and buys everyone vests, cowboy hats and numerous dinners out, the most fun to everyone was in an old west themed restaurant which tops off the evening with a flaming ice cream cake. Rex's gambling method is finally discovered by casino staff the next day. The family has to perform “the skedaddle” and get out of town fast.

New York City, New York- The kids finally follow Lori when she moves out and goes to New York. All of her siblings follow her, eventually deserting their parents. Then both Rex and Mary move to New York in an attempt to be closer to their kids. Although they show up, they have nowhere to go and are homeless. The consider it nothing more but an adventure.

Important Quotes

“You should never hate anyone, even your worst enemies. Everyone has something good about them. You have to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that. Pg. 144 said by, Jeannette Walls. This quote is an important life lesson and it shows Jeannette's intelligence.

"Life is a drama full of tragedy and comedy. You should learn to enjoy the comic episodes a little more.” Pg. 129 said by, Jeannette Walls. This quote is also an important life lesson and what's saying is to enjoy the good moments in life while you have them and to make the most of them.

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