The Glass Castle

Themes

Forgiveness:

Forgiveness - to pardon someone for doing a wrong act towards you.

Jeannette's tone is very matter-of-act and direct.

Her perspective changes as she matures, but her tone is not blame or anger.

Jeannette's biggest message is one of acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness.

Lost Dreams:

Lost Dreams -  goals or dreams that you wanted to accomplish in life but never did.

Rose Mary lost her dream to become a professional artist due to the lack of money, education and motivation.

Plot:

Thanksgiving

After not seeing each other for five years, the family gets together for a Thanksgiving dinner with a lot of things that have changed. Jeannette is re-married to a man named John. Brian has also gotten a divorce and now left with his only daughter, Veronica. Rose Mary is doing good and she actually has a business to attend to later on. They all make toast to Rex, describing him as the man that kept life exciting.

Characters

Jeannette:

She is the narrator and the main character of the story.

What motivates her is her family.

Jeannette is important because she is the one telling the story of how she grew up as a child to an adult.

Dad:

(Rex Walls) is the father of Jeannette Walls. Rex was an alcoholic who manipulates his wife and children for his own needs, but he will always love them and hoping they are loving him too.

What motivates him is his family and alcohol.

Rex is important because Jeannette would not be where she is at right now without him being in her life.

Mom:

(Rose Mary Walls) is the mother of Jeannette Walls. Rose is a selfish person in the family. She also loves her family, but only after her own needs are met.

What motivates her is her family and the hobby she loves, art.

Rose is important because she taught Jeanette so much, like what to do and not to do when Jeannette gets older.

Setting/Map(s)

New York, NY  - Jeannette arrives in New York City, mesmerized by its size and scope. After only a day, she gets a job in a hamburger shop and, soon, she and Lori move out of the women's hostel and into their own apartment in the South Bronx.

Welch, West Virginia - When Jeannette arrived in Welch, West Virginia, she met her paternal grandparents, Erma and Ted, for the first time, as well as their Uncle Stanley. She and Brian are placed in special classes at school. Jeannette is bullied by a group of girls and refused to tell her parents. Jeannette began working for the school news paper.

Southern Arizona (Desert) - At the age of 3, Jeannette was severely burned trying to cook hot dogs. During her hospital stay, one of the nurses introduced Jeannette to chewing gum.

Important Quotes:

Rex - " If you don't want to sink, you better figure out how to swim".- pg. 66

" If you don't want to sink, you better figure out how to swim".- pg. 66

Rose Mary - " Mom frowned at me. 'You'd be destroying what makes it special' she said, 'It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty".- pg. 38

Rose Mary claims that the tree is beautiful not because it grows straight like other trees, but rather because its struggle defines it and makes it unique. Jeannette learns an important lesson about non-conformity.

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