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The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Transcript of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
-A child in the family in the family is age four or younger.
-The family is socially isolated.
-The family has a history of violence, drug or alcohol use, or chronic health problems.
-The family is poor.
-The surrounding community is particularly violent."
(Melissa Doak, Causes and Effects of Child abuse).
"What poor excuse for a parent can't rustle up a bowl of cereal and a banana?" (Kate O'Beirne, Blame The Poor).
On many occasions, Jeannette and her siblings would go hungry. They didn't have food to eat, clean clothes to wear, or proper housing to live in. Their life was constantly unstable.Even more as they grew older.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
A Woman on the Street
"It had been months since I laid eyes on Mom, and when she looked up, I was overcome with panic that she'd see me and call out my name, and that someone on the way to the same party would spot us together and Mom would introduce herself and my secret would be out."(Walls 13).
Jeannette finds her mother rooting through a dumpster on her way to a formal event. Her current job largely contradicts her mother's lifestyle as homeless. Out of a combination of cowardice and embarrassment, Jeannette ducks away in fear of being seen with Mrs.Walls.
Each Walls child did what they felt was necessary in order to survive. They often were bullied growing up so fights were not all that uncommon. Jeannette does reveal stealing something valuable but other than that, she only "stole" the thrown away lunches of her peers from the garbage.Later on in life, Maureen is the only one who was unable to establish her life.
"Hamilton, Wekerle, Paglia-Book, and Mann (2012) found that youth with child welfare involvement reported more psychological distress and delinquency than those without such involvement." (Commentary: exploring the complex links between violence, mental health, and substance abuse, Mikton, Christopher, Lil Tonmyr, and Debbie Scott).
The small mining town of Welch is a huge disappointment to the Walls children. They go to live with Erma, their Dad's grandma, who is mean and treats them poorly; their teachers think that they are special needs kids; and they are frequently bullied and teased by their classmates for being poor and their Dad always being drunk. Pretty soon, the family is kicked out of Erma's and buys themselves a rickety old house with a gazillion problems that get worse over the years. As Lori, the oldest, is getting close to graduating from high school, the kids save up for her to move to New York. Once Jeanette finishes her Junior year, she heads to New York as well.
"Blame the poor." The Progressive Mar. 2011: 5. Student Resources In Context. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
"Causes and Effects of Child Abuse." Child Abuse and Domestic Violence. Melissa J. Doak. 2011 ed. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Information Plus Reference Series. Student Resources In Context. Web. 28 Oct. 2013.
"Convention on the Rights of the Child." World Geography: Understanding a Changing World. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2013
"Faith Christian Reformed Church." » Blog Archive » A Series on Psalms — June 26, 2011 “Prayers of the Community”. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2013.
Joshua Tree Sunset, Mojave Desert, California. 2012. Photograph. California. Nice & Cool Wallpapers. 2012. Web. 2013
Overture to Swan Lake. N.d. Photograph. Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd., 2007. Web. 2013.
Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle: A Memoir. New York: Scribner, 2005. Print.
"I'd broken one of our unspoken rules: We were always supposed to pretend our life was one long and incredibly fun adventure."(Walls 115)
Joshua Tree in Mojave Desert
For a large portion of her life, Jean's family lived in "dusty mining towns" in the far reaches of the West; California, Nevada, and Arizona. While living in their Grandma Smith's house in Phoenix, Rex tries to quit his drinking habit for the kids, but when tough times come along, he returns to alcohol. As a result, they end up with no money (again), and Mary decides that it's time to move to Welch, the place of the Dad's upbringing.
"While setting rules about alcohol and speaking to children about the risks is a positive step, equally important is that parents understand their significant influence as role models and feel confident to set a good example. " (Rosa Silverman, The Telograph Online).
Rex and Rose Mary walls failed to set a proper example with their children during their life. They were often absent to the point where the Walls children practically raised themselves. Their life decisions were all based on the negative influence their parents set.
"We have parents who are just criminally--criminally negligent with respect to raising children."(Kate O'Beirne, Blame The Poor).
Rex and Rose Mary Walls often shrugged off what a responsible parent would take serious actions for. For example, there were several encounters Jeannette had where she could have been molested and one in which time when her own father put her in that very position.
One by one, Jean, Brian, and Maureen follow in Lori's footsteps and move to New York, eager to get out of Welch and start their own lives.They enjoy a self-dependent life with jobs and a good education... Until their parents decide to join them as a family in the Big Apple. For almost a year, Rex and Mary move from apartment to apartment until they finally are kicked out of the kids' places and become homeless. As the kids slowly move up, earning better jobs and moving to nicer places, their parents move into an abandoned building with fellow "squatters". Then, Maureen, who was never able to be self dependent, moves in with her parents. She collapses; fighting with her parents, smoking, laying around all day and becoming obsessed with beauty, until one day she is sent to a special hospital for a year after stabbing her mother. The family soon begins to take their own paths. Rex dies of a heart attack, which prompts Jean to rethink her life choices.
"I just stood there looking from one distorted face to another, listening to this babble of enraged squabble as the members of the Walls family gave vent to all their years of hurt and anger, each unloading his or her own accumulated grievances and blaming the others for allowing the most fragile one of us to break into pieces." (Walls 437).
"He [Brian] looked at the dishes. I knew what he was thinking, what he thought every time he saw a spread like this one. He shook his head and said, 'You know, it's really not that hard to put food on the table, if that's what you decide to do.'"(Walls 28-288)
"Maybe this was one of Dad's pranks, I thought. Dad must have arranged for the weirdest people in town to pretend they were his family. In a few minutes he'd start laughing and tell us where his real parents lived, and we'd go there and a smiling woman with perfumed hair would welcome us and feed us steaming bowls of Cream of Wheat.I looked at Dad. He wasn't smiling, and he kept pulling at the skin of his neck as if he were itchy." (Walls 131)
Five years after Rex's death, Jean and and her husband John invite Lori, Brian, and their mom to eat Thanksgiving dinner at their house. The group chats about current events and ruminates over their old life. They propose a toast to Rex: "Mom stared at the ceiling, miming perplexed thought... She held up her glass. 'Life with your father was never boring.'"(Walls 288)
The Walls family fit in to each of these scenarios so it is not surprising that neglect occurred.