The Glass CastleJeanette Walls Megan Lamb English 10 Ms. Leclaire
Quick Summary of The Glass Castle • The Glass Castle was written by Jeanette Walls. It’s about her childhood and Jeanette’s dysfunctional family. Her dad, Rex, was an alcoholic and was unemployed. On the other hand, her mom, Rose Mary, had a college degree and a teaching degree; but, she never took the opportunity to use them. Rose Mary would rather spend her time painting for fun. The Walls family was poor and moved around a lot. Jeanette had 3 siblings who got tired of not staying at the same school and having to make new friends. Jeanette was neglected as a child and took care of herself. Jeanette and her siblings were very independent and didn’t ask for anything. As she grew older she realized she didn’t want to live like this for the rest of her life. Jeanette’s goal as a young girl was to move to New York and become a writer.
Quotes • The memoir starts out with, “"I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster" (Walls 3). • This symbolizes the different lifestyles Jeanette and her mom have. Jeanette is dressed nice and in a taxi going somewhere. While her mom, Rose Mary, is homeless on the streets of New York searching through a dumpster; maybe looking for something to eat.
Quotes continued • The earliest memory Jeanette remembers is when she got burned from cooking hot dogs for her family at a young age. “I screamed. I smelled the burning and heard a horrible crackling as the fire singed my hair and eyelashes…” “When we got to the hospital, nurses put me on a stretcher…One of them squeezed my hand and told me I was going to be okay.” “I know, I said, “but if I’m not, that’s okay too.” “The doctors told me I was lucky to be alive…I would have been happy staying in the hospital forever” (Walls 11-12). • First of all, why is a young girl cooking hot dogs? When I was young I wasn’t allowed to be near anything that was hot. Jeanette loves the hospital because she’s being taken care of. She gets fed three times a day, she’s clean, and feels wanted. It’s weird because normally people today dislike staying at hospitals recovering; they would rather be in their warm home snuggled up in their bed. Jeanette is humble and believes if it’s her time to go; then, she should go.
Quotes continued • Even though Jeanette’s father was an alcoholic; he was a dramatic storyteller. “When dad wasn’t telling us about all the amazing things he had already done, he was telling us about the wondrous things he was going to do. Like build the Glass Castle…it was one special project: a great big house he was going to build for us in the desert…I would have a glass ceiling, thick glass walls, and even a glass staircase…he carried around the blueprints wherever he went…All we had to do was find gold” (Walls 25). • Jeanette mentions the Glass Castle frequently throughout the book. I think the Glass Castle is a symbol of hope and brings light to the Walls family. They want to strive to get somewhere in life; it’s just at a different pace then they imagined.
Quotes continued • At a young age Jeanette never believed in Santa Claus. “None of us kids did. Mom and dad refused to let us. They couldn’t afford expensive presents, and they didn’t want us to think we weren’t as good as the other kids...”Pick out your favorite star,” Dad said that night. He told me I could have it for keeps...I wanted Venus, and he gave it to me…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” (Walls 40-41). • Jeanette mentions the star she chose that night a lot. Even though she didn’t get a lot of gifts from her parents; she appreciated the thought her dad put into it.
Quotes continued • The Walls family had just moved to 93 Little Hobart Street; the house was a dump and a rat live in their house. “The rat was beside Maureen’s (Jeanette’s little sister) bed and our dog, Tinkle, caught the rat in his jaws and banged it on the floor until it was dead. Mom ran into the room and she said she felt sorry for the rat...she said it deserved a name, she went on, so she christened it Rufus.” The Walls family also had a garbage pit on the side of their house, “What are we going to do about the garbage pit?” I asked. “It’s almost filled up.” “Enlarge it,” mom said.” “What are people going to think of us?” “Life is too short to worry about what other people think, mom said. “Anyway, they should accept us for who we are” (Walls 157-158). • This scene reveals that Jeanette’s mother wouldn’t hurt a fly. Rose Mary believes every living animal deserves a place to live and eat. Yet, why doesn’t she think this about her own children? Jeanette knows her house is a dump, but wants to make it look normal, so she isn’t classified as “trash”. Her mom could care less what there house looks like or what is in it. Once again, this illustrates the differences Jeanette and Rose Mary have.
“Don’t Stop Believin’” • This song relates to The Glass Castle because it’s talking about a small town girl who has to keep believing that some day her life will change and she can do something with it. The “girl” in the song is similar to Jeanette who keeps trying to help out her family. Both of the girls seem lonely and independent. Some day Jeanette will win or lose, but she doesn’t care which one.