The Glass Castle

Rough Life



Jeanette and her family are always on the run looking for places to live. During this time, Jeanette's parents search for jobs to make ends meet and put foot on the table. Sometimes the family can't afford food for a week. Survival is one of the major keys to her success later in life and it allowed to build herself stronger. Jeanette's strive of survival led her to New York and her new and improved lifestyle.


During the struggles in her childhood, Jeanette managed to forgive her parents every step of the way. Forgiving her parents allowed her and her family to calm each other down and be a family during rough times. Every time her dad came home drunk she forgave him. Being able to forgive her family for wrong doings allowed them to survive and be some what happy along the way.



The Glass Castle is about a little girl named Jeanette and her family's rough times growing up. This story tells about Jeanette's childhood struggles to her adult life success.

Rising Action

Jeanette, a little kid, was grilling hot dogs by herself when her dress caught fire. This caused her to get severe burns and a hospital trip.

Jeanette and the family all go swimming, however, Jeanette doesn't know how to swim yet. Her father then takes her and throws her into the water. Jeanette then scrambles trying to catch her breath nearly drowning before her father pulls her out. As a result Jeanette learned how to swim.

To earn money, Jeanette's father takes her to a bar and uses her as a distraction to beat a guy in pool. This causes tension between the two because this makes Jeanette feel used and betrayed by her father.


The climax of this story takes place when Jeanette back talks her mother causing Jeanette's dad to become upset. He then took his belt and spanked her with it. This causes Jeanette to to become very upset and determined to leave.

Falling Action

Jeanette realizes her only chance to get away and make a life for her self is to move to New York. This eventually causes the rest of they family to move up there with her.

Jeanette and her sister are saving money so they can escape to a new life. They end up  hiding all their money in a little piggy bank. Their father, however, finds the money and steal it all. This frustrates Jeanette and her sister.

After a couple years of the new life in New York, Jeanette's father gets sick and eventually dies. This causes the family confusion and separation. After a while, the family gets together for thanksgiving and toast to Jeanette's father.


In the end Jeanette marries a guy named John who has a kid, and her mom chooses to continue living her life on the streets. Brian becomes a police officer and Lori chooses the life of an artist in New York.


Jeanette Walls

Jeanette is the narrator of The Glass Castle and tells the story of her life growing up. Thought the story Jeanette learns multiple lessons from her father and her mother and uses them to become a strong woman. Jeanette is a forgiving person and is always trying to improve.

Rose Walls

Rose is Jeanette's mother and the wife of Rex. She loves her family deeply, however, she is very selfish at times. She grows as a person but continues the life on the streets.

Rex Walls

Rex Walls is Jeanette's Father, which is always trying to provide for his family. He never lets them down and always puts food on the table. He has a drinking problem but the family learns to live with it. Rex eventually dies and causes the family to remember all of his amazing times.


New York City is where Jeanette and her family eventually moved to. Jeanette found work and was able to improve her ways of living in this city.  

Important Quotes

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

This quote was stated by Rex, Jeanette's father. It shows that the only way to learn something is to experience it first hand.

"They love to frighten people, but the minute you stare them down, they turn their tail and run." -Rex pg.43

This quote again was spoken by Jeanette's father. It means never back down and face your fears because it is the only way to overcome the things your scared of.

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