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The Glass Castle
Transcript of The Glass Castle
Poverty/ Social Class
Jeanette Walls' memoir, "The Glass Castle", tells a wonderful story of hope, resilience, and forgiveness. In the novel, guided by a dream to build a Glass Castle, Jeanette's father, Rex Walls, promises his children and wife that they will escape poverty one day. However, his alcohol addiction prohibits him from doing so. While being neglected by their alcoholic father and nonchalant mother, Rose Mary, Jeanette, her big sister Lori, and her younger siblings, Brian and Maureen hope to escape their nomadic lifestyle to follow their own destinies. Through tragedy and hardships, Jeanette and her siblings learn to forgive and to be self-reliant so that they can one day, build their own "Glass Castle".
In the memoir, "The Glass Castle", Jeanette Walls (2005) demonstrates the importance of survival, resilience, and forgiveness when affected by a past of chaotic and traumatic circumstances. Walls uses vivid imagery, pathos, and a candid tone to support and illustrate her position. To connect with her audience, Walls uses vivid imagery, pathos, and a candid tone to impact her audience emotionally, to give an account of her real- life experiences, and to demonstrate honesty in order to encourage her audience to let go of bitterness, to accept their past, and to move forward. This memoir was written to deliver a message to people of all ages; Almost every reader, specifically those who are determined, can relate to Jeanette Walls' effort to succeed in spite of hardship.
Throughout the memoir, "The Glass Castle", there were many examples of child neglect. There were also moments where Rex and Rose Mary Walls were very selfish and only cared about their desires and well being instead of their children's. Due to the Walls' poor living situation, there were times where the Walls family lacked food or had none at all. Instead of using money to provide food for his family, Rex selfishly spent money on alcohol. Rose Mary was also selfish due to the fact that she hid food from her children while they starved. In the text it says, "One evening when dad was away and we had nothing to eat and we were all sitting around the living room trying not to think of food, Mom kept disappearing under the blanket on the sofa bed. At one point Brian looked over. Are you chewing something?, he asked... Brian yanked the covers back. Lying on the mattress next to Mom was one of those huge family-sized Hershey chocolate bars... She'd already eaten half of it,"(pg. 173-174). This is very disturbing because Jeanette as well as her siblings were severely hungry. At one point in the memoir, Jeanette had to dig through garbage pails to retrieve other girls' lunches (pg. 173). By hiding food from her own kids, Rose Mary showed no concern or care for her children. This illustrates what Jeanette and her siblings had to go through and how selfish her parents were.
Rex and Rose Mary Walls also neglected their children emotionally. At times, Rex would disappear and come back days later. He would also return home drunk and angry (pg. 122). Rex didn't consider his wife's or children's feelings when doing this.
Another example of child neglect was when Erma, Rex's mother, attempted to molest Brian. Jeanette, Lori, and Brian told their parents what happened. Normally a parent would take necessary and legal action; however, Rose Mary didn't speak on the situation and Rex stated that he "didn't care what happened" and told his children that he "didn't want to hear another word about" it. Due to Rex and Rose Mary's neglect, Jeanette, Lori, Brian, and Maureen weren't protected from traumatic situations.
V.I.P. Analysis #1
Due to their parents' neglect and absence, Jeanette, Lori, Brian, and Maureen had to become self-reliant. When it came to eating or finding food, Jeanette and Brian took food from the trash, while "Maureen always had plenty to eat, since she had made friends throughout the neighborhood and would show up at their houses around dinner time,"(pg. 173). To make money, Jeanette and Brian collected glass bottles and exchanged them for cash. For most of their childhood, Jeanette and her siblings had to look out for themselves. As Jeanette, Lori, and Brian, got older, they found ways to escape their nomadic lifestyle. While still living poorly in Welch, Jeanette worked at Becker's Jewel Box. She saved money while working to keep food on the table and most importantly, to start an "escape fund", (pg. 221). When Lori received an offer to study art in New York City, the escape plan was finalized. Lori went to New York City. After Jeanette and Brian finished high school, they eventually followed her, and moved to New York. To support themselves, Jeanette found a job at a fast food restaurant and Brian found a job at an ice cream parlor. Eventually, Jeanette "became a full-time reporter for "The Phoenix", (pg. 248). She paid her way through college to receive her education in journalism. Brian joined the police force as soon as he turned twenty,"(pg. 274). Lastly, Maureen was used to being taken care of and supported by her siblings as well as other people. However, she was impacted by her parents' neglect as well. For the most part, she was on her own. Jeanette, Lori, Brian, and Maureen had to learn how to be resilient and how to stand on their own two feet. By doing this, they instilled hope into their hearts in order to build their own "Glass Castle".
Rex and Rose Mary were very "care free" when it came to parenting their children. They "went with the flow". Although Rex and Rose Mary Walls were extremely neglectful parents, they instilled some necessary values into their children. Rex was his children's first teacher. Rex taught his children the basics of physics, calculus, logarithmic algebra, and told them about the magic qualities every number has and how numbers unlock the secrets of the universe," (pg. 23). Jeanette and her siblings also learned how to build things as well. By the time Jeanette, Lori, Brian, and Maureen got into school, they knew most of the curriculum. Rex also taught his children important life lessons. For example, when Rex and Rose Mary couldn't afford to buy their children presents for Christmas, Rex gave them "stars" for Christmas. By doing this, he gave them a present they could keep forever. In the text it says, "We laughed about all the kids who believed in the Santa myth and got nothing for Christmas but a bunch of cheap plastic toys. 'Years from now, when all the junk they got is broken and long forgotten,' Dad said, 'you'll still have your stars," (pg. 41). By giving them this timeless gift, he taught them not to invest their happiness in materialistic things. Rex had great potential to be a successful man and parent. His addiction to alcohol stopped him from reaching his dreams. However, by passing his knowledge down to his children, he prepared them for life. I can infer that this is why Jeanette, Lori, Brian, and Maureen survived and never gave up. Rose Mary had a weird way of showing love and compassion toward her children. However, I believe Rose Mary as well as Rex, loved their children; unfortunately, their parenting style caused them to have a complicated relationship with their children.
Jeanette and her siblings went through many chaotic situations. These experiences made their lives extremely difficult. Surprisingly, Jeanette and her siblings never became bitter towards their parents. Instead, they chose to forgive them. Rex and Rose Mary were very selfish at times. Frequently, Rex came home drunk; but, Jeanette, Lori, Brian, and Maureen continued to forgive him.
On page 273, Rose Mary asked her children for forgiveness after eating a family-sized chocolate bar, while her children were starving. In the text it says, "She told us we should forgive her the same way we always forgave our father for drinking,"(pg. 174). This shows how the children constantly forgave their parents; they even forgave them after their parents placed them in painful situations. In one part of the book, Rose Mary revealed that she owned land that was worth a million dollars. In the text it states, " You mean you own land worth a million dollars? I was thunderstruck. All those years in Welch with no food, no coal, no plumbing, and Mom had been sitting on land worth a million dollars? Had all those years...been a caprice inflicted on us by mom?"(pg. 273). Even after discovering this appalling secret, Jeanette didn't remain angry or bitter. At the end of the memoir, Jeanette as well as her siblings, seem to accept their past and the circumstances in which they grew up. It seems as though they hold no anger or bitterness in their hearts. Instead, they look at their past as a learning experience. From these experiences, Jeanette shares her wisdom with her readers and encourages them to forgive.
"The Glass Castle", symbolizes hopes and dreams. Throughout the memoir, the Walls family remained hopeful when it came to the idea of escaping poverty. Unfortunately, Rex's dream didn't come true. Towards the end of the memoir, Jeanette has her last conversation with her father before he dies. Rex stated, "Never did build that Glass Castle. No. But we had fun planning it," (pg. 279). If you think about glass, it is very fragile and can be easily broken. Dreams are the same way. If you don't follow your dreams, they will be broken. Rex hoped and dreamed of building a "Glass Castle". However, Rex was overcome by his addiction to alcohol and the idea of his Glass Castle was shattered. It takes hope and courage to build an unbreakable Glass Castle. Jeanette Walls used the theme of hope and the reoccurring motif of the Glass Castle, to encourage readers to build their own Glass Castles and to make sure that NOTHING stops the process of success.
V.I.P. Analysis #3
V.I.P. Analysis #4
V.I.P. Analysis #5
Jay Z grew up in Brooklyn. He grew up in a crime filled neighborhood. Eventually he became involved in criminal activities. To make ends meet, he sold drugs. Later on in his life, Jay Z followed his dream and pursued a rap career. Today Jay Z is worth 550 million dollars +.
Oprah Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother. Oprah Winfrey faced many hardships as a child. She was raped at the age of 9 and became pregnant at 14 (her son died in infancy). Eventually Oprah Winfrey moved to Tennessee with her father, where she began her journalism career and became a news anchor. Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful women in the world and is said to be worth 2.9 billion dollars.
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Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle: A Memoir. New York: Scribner, 2005. Print.
"You know very well who you are
Don't let em hold you down, reach for the stars
You had a goal, but not that many
'cause you're the only one I'll give you good and plenty."
-Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie)