The Glass Castle

By: Jeannette Walls


Two themes of The Glass Castle were faith and disappointment. Faith represents Jeannette always believing in her father, Rex. Disappointment represents Rex always letting Jeannette down.


Introduction: At the beginning of the book, Jeannette is 3 years old and she is boiling hot dogs. She catches her dress on fire and severely burns herself. Jeannette's mother, Rose Mary, takes Jeannette to the hospital. Later, Rex breaks Jeannette out of the hospital because he doesn't think the doctors know what they're doing.

Rising Action: Jeannette and her sister, Lori, and brother, Brian, move around a lot with their parents. Her father, Rex, always does the "skeedaddle" when leaving one place and going to the next.

The family moves into Rose Mary's house in Phoenix that was left to her by a family member. The children love their life in Phoenix and for once things seem to be going good.

The family then moves to Welch, West Virginia. When they arrive, they live with Rex's mother Erma, the children's grandfather, and their Uncle Stanley. Their life in Welch was extremely difficult. Eventually the family moves into a run down home on Little Hobart Street.

After Lori graduates high school, she moves to New York. Jeanette then starts planning on moving to New York after she graduates as well.

Climax: Rex walks Jeannette to the bus station and watches her get on the bus to New York to join her sister, Lori.

Falling Action: Soon after Jeannette gets to New York, Brian comes too. Then, Maureen also goes to New York. Rex and Rose Mary decide to move to New York as well to be a family again. However, Rex and Rose Mary end up becoming homeless. Maureen suffers from mental illnesses and moves to California. Rex then suffers from a heart attack and passes away.

Resolution: Jeanette re-marries to John and they invite Lori, Brian, and Rose Mary to their home for thanksgiving dinner. At the end of the book, they all give a toast to Rex.


Jeannette: Jeanette is the daughter of Rex and Rose Mary Walls. Finding a better life motivates this person. Jeannette puts too much faith in her father, only to be disappointed by him. Jeannette is the narrator.

Dad: Dad is Rex Walls. Making a better life motivates this person, although he never succeeds. Rex is an alcoholic and is constantly letting his wife and children down.

Mom: Mom is Rose Mary Walls. Making art and appreciating the Earth motivates this person. Rose Mary does nothing to better her childrens lives and she is extremely lazy.

Important Quotes

1. “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.” This quote is significant to the novel because it represents what Jeannette was taught growing up.

2. “Life is a drama full of tragedy and comedy. You should learn to enjoy the comic episodes a little more.” This quote is significant to the novel because it represents the antics that Jeannette lived through over the years with her family.

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