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The Glass Castle

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Megan Ungerman

on 26 January 2014

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Transcript of The Glass Castle

The Mojave Desert
Welch, West Virginia
While visiting Rex's mother in Welch, the readers learn that when Rex was a boy, she had molested him. As soon as he could, Rex fled, hoping he would never have to return. This conflict has been buried in his problems with alcohol.

Brian's and Lori's characters also develop at this time. Brian, strong and adventurous, joins Jeannette against the bullies who pick on them because the Walls' don't have the same basic tenets as most kids. Lori, shy and intelligent, comes to realize she cannot live a life of poverty and hardship. Once she graduates high school, she leaves for New York.
Phoenix, Arizona
When Rose Mary's mother died, she left the Walls family a house in Phoenix. It seemed thing were stepping up. Not only did they have a wonderful, clean place to live, but also each child was able to receive a great education. But of course, in a time of contentment, something must go awry. One night, Rex fell back on his usual habits. He came home late from a night of drinking, smashing his belongings as well as his family. Torn with the fact she loved her father and was his number one supporter, Jeannette didn't know how to react. This internal conflict is placed throughout the book, for she doesn't want to betray her father, but at the same time she doesn't what to live with him, cleaning after his messes.
New York
"'Things usually work out in the end.'
'What if they don't?'
'That just means you haven't come to the end yet'" (Walls 259).
Battle Mountain, Nevada
"'Years from now, when all the junk they got is broken and forgotten,' Dad said, 'You'll still have your stars'"(Walls 41).
The Glass Castle
Jeannette Walls
Las Vegas, Nevada
San Francisco, California
"If you don't want to sink, you better figure out how to swim" (Walls 66).
"'Life is a drama full of tragedy and comedy,' mom told me. 'You should learn to enjoy the comic episodes a little more'" (Walls 129).
The Glass Castle, written by Jeannette Walls, is a memoir that tells the story of a girl who grew up in poverty and hardship. Remarkably, she was able to overcome her squalid conditions, becoming the successful writer she is today.
Jeannette was three years old. While cooking hot dogs on a stove outside, her dress caught fire. Her mother (Rose Mary Walls),father (Rex Walls), and her two sibling at the time (Lori-older and Brian-younger) rushed her to the hospital. Unlike anything she had experienced before the hospital was clean, with TV and nurses who cared for and paid attention to her. Unfortunately, the Walls family didn't believe in this kind of 'non-sense.' Before she could stay another day, they checked her out 'Rex Walls style,' running down the hallway with nurses and doctors chasing after them.
The Skedaddle
At the beginning of the story, one can conclude that Rex and Rose Mary care for their family, but they are oblivious to the fact they are hurting them at the same time. By not settling down in single area and going without jobs that can sustain a healthy way of life, Jeannette's parents are not setting themselves, or their family, up for a prosperous future.
Because the Walls family only stays in one place for so long, the reader often finds them doing the 'skedaddle' to escape bill payments, or as they like to put it, to go on an adventure.
The thought of the Glass Castle kept Jeannette optimistic for a better future. Rex had plans to build the Glass Castle once he struck gold. From time to time, Jeannette and her siblings would be able to pull out the blueprints and work on the designs for their rooms.
For a month, the Walls family lived in a small motel room in Las Vegas. Of course, Rex pushed his luck in the casino. Although a few games paid off enough so they could have an extravagant dinner, the dealers at the black jack table soon figured out his 'strategy.' Once again, they did the skedaddle.
Now in San Francisco, another fire incident almost cost Jeannette her life. The hotel her family was staying in was up in flames. Jeannette had wondered if the fire was out to get her, or if all fires were somehow connected, "I lived in a world that at any moment to erupt into fire. It was the sort of knowledge that kept you on your toes" (Walls 34).

This quote encompasses one of the themes in this book, that in life you never know what will happen. You must take a risk to find out.
Blythe, California
Here, the fourth addition to the Walls family, Maureen, is born. Again, they check out of the hospital 'Rex Walls style.'
This quote comes from the Walls' Christmas in the Mojave Desert. Instead of presents and trees and decorations, Rex took each of his kids out to pick out their very own stars. Unlike tangible items, the memories of choosing a star to become your own would last a lifetime.
At this part of the memoir, Jeannette and her family are living in Battle Mountain, Nevada. At the time, it seems like they have finally found a place to call home. Each child attends school while the father works as an electrician in a barite mine. Later, the mother also gets a job as a school teacher. The parents are starting to develop into characters that have realized they must work in order to receive the best for their family.
The quote above is taken from a passage in which the Walls family was swimming in a natural sulfur spring. Rex pressured Jeanette to learn to swim, by caring her out to the middle of the spring only to leave her without any support. Jeannette, scared to death, could only flail around in panic. Each time this practice took place, her father only saved her just before the threat of drowning was imminent. After enough times, Jeannette learned to swim, more or less. In life, this quote can be interpreted to mean that if one wants to succeed, they must take action. This is yet another theme in the book.
I chose this song, Family Portrait by Pink, because the lyrics send a message of a family who has many problems that ultimately drive each individual apart from another. Like in the Glass Castle, there are mess-ups and regrets.
In Welch, at 93 Little Hobart Street, things aren't pristine. With holes in the roof, no indoor pluming, or electricity (unless they have enough money to afford it for one month), living is almost impossible. Jeannette is teased at school, and most days she must rummage through the trash cans in the girls bathroom to have any food that day. In spite of all her internal and external challenges, Jeannette never complains. She, along with Lori and Brian, have realized that in her situation things won't be handed to her. She must work for everything. At thirteen, she decided to get a job to pay for a ticket out of Welch.
This quote, taken from a passage when Jeannette is hiding so she won't be made fun of, is Rose Mary's philosophy of life. She hates that her daughter is embarrassed to be seen. She rather her embrace the fact that she is different. In her dialogue, she is reminding Jeannette there are complicated, hard times in life, but the fun, memorable moments make it worth living.
After Lori escaped to New York, Jeannette soon followed. Then Brian, next Maureen, and finally Rex and Rose Mary. Jeannette finished high school in New York, so she could receive in-state college tuition. She attended Barnard and also worked as an editorial assistant at one of the biggest magazines in the city. Lori had a job as freelance artist, Maureen attended high school, and Brian would become a decorated sergeant detective. When Rex and Rose Mary came to New York they would not accept charity and lived homeless, dumpster diving for food, clothes, or presents on holidays. Jeannette almost never saw her parents after Maureen had made a few regrettable decisions and left for California. In a way, Jeannette felt she was to blame that Maureen had gone, thinking she had failed in her promise to protect her. In this time of little communication, Rex had contracted a disease and had a heart attack two weeks later. His last wish was for Jeannette to bring him a half gallon of whiskey. After all they had been through, Rex never changed.
Five Years later, Jeannette had invited her family to her house in the country for thanksgiving. Everyone had moved on to be successful in there occupation, but Rose Mary still didn't accept anything. She believed the way she lived was normal, and better than anything else anyone could offer her. Jeannette's husband, John, has accepted her for who she is and where she came from. In regards to her scar from the burn while cooking hot dogs at three, he believes it to mean that she was-and is-stronger than whatever tries to hurt her. Stronger by Kelly Clarkson encompasses John's theory, depicting another theme in the book: your past is a part of you, and embracing that makes for a better future.
This is a great quote from the end of the Glass Castle. It shows the mother's optimistic attitude for the future.
Jeanette Walls uses imagery and detail to convey her story. Figurative language can be seen throughout the book in order to emphasize these scenes. At points, she also includes comical entries to lighten the mood.
Although Jeannette and her father never got to build the Glass Castle, it still symbolizes her family as a whole. The Walls strive to block out criticism. They don't hid who they are, so in essence, they are as clear as glass.
Writing Style
The Glass Castle would of had similar plans to these.
Jeanette and her husband
Temporary Home, by Carrie Underwood, describes the situation of moving to place to place perfectly. like Jeannette, the characters in the music video know that one day, they will find a place to call home.
"This is my temporary Home
It's not where I belong.
Windows and rooms that I'm passin' through.
This was just a stop,on the way to where I'm going.
I'm not afraid because I know this is
My temporary home."
The mineral barite
A barite mine
It ain't easy growin up in World War III Never knowin what love could be, you'll see
I don't want love to destroy me like it has done my family
Can we work it out? Can we be a family?
I promise I'll be better, Mommy I'll do anything
Can we work it out? Can we be a family?
I promise I'll be better, Daddy please don't leave
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone
What doesn't kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn't mean I'm over cause you're gone
How Rex and Rose Mary lived
Full transcript