In the Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls describes her childhood and her views of the world as she grew up. She pushed herself through poverty to eventually become successful. Throughout the book, Jeannette describes her horrific ordeals and crazy adventures her family had. They moved to dozens of different places and even lived in the family car for some time. The Glass Castle shows Jeannette’s power of forgiveness, a common theme in the book. At age three, Jeannette was cooking hotdogs and burned herself. She had to go to the hospital to get treated.
She really liked the hospital and enjoyed the time away from home. However, towards the end of her stay, her father, Rex Walls, took her out of the hospital early to avoid paying the bills. She does not become afraid of fire, even though it burnt her. Soon after, Rex tells the family to pack up what they can so they can go on an adventure, when in reality they are running from bill collectors. The family packs up and leaves in the car. Thus begins their journey which will make up the backbone of Jeannette’s life. The Walls travel from city to city trying to keep a low profile.
Jeannette’s mom and dad become con artists in order get money to spend selfishly. The children sleep in cardboard boxes in animal and bug infested houses, and are at one point forced to steal from other kids’ lunches in order to eat. For Jeannette’s 10th birthday, she asks her dad to stop drinking; which he does for a few days, then gets drunk and beats the kids. Years later, after the family has moved to Welch where Rex’s family lives, Jeannette is offered as payment by her father, for losing a billiards game at a local bar.
The man who won tried to rape her, but she managed to escape. This instance, among many others, have changed Jeannette’s view of her parents from heroes to crooks, and her showed ability to forgive them for their wrongs. Reaction When Jeannette was burned at age three, I thought her parents were neglectful. When Rex took little Jeannette out of the hospital early just so he didn’t want to pay her medical bill, I was angered by his selfishness and stupidity. However, through it all, Jeannette forgave her parents. When her ather told them to pack up, I was annoyed; because no one should have to be forced to leave everything behind because someone else messed up and wanted to avoid the consequences. Throughout the book, I was confused as to why Jeannette continued to forgive her parents for the bad things they did. They were wrong for stealing and being selfish; and I am glad Jeannette and her siblings didn’t grow up to follow that example. Although the kids had to steal other kids’ lunches in order eat, I believe they grew up knowing right from wrong, given the circumstances in which they were raised.
Another thing I was upset about was when her father gave her up to a man for losing a game of billiards. A child should be able to trust his or her parents to make the right decisions for their kids. Yet, Rex and Rose Mary did not. They taught the kids to be self-sufficient and to be able to survive on their own. Given that the children did learn valuable things that could be used later in life, the neglect shown by the parents is profound. Because of instances like getting burned and being traded for a game of billiards, Jeannette no longer sees her parents as mother and father; they were just people in her life.
If I had gone through these things, I would have not been able to see my parents at all. I would have no contact with them because of the trauma they caused. Jeannette is lucky she didn’t die as a result of her parents’ choices, and has grown as a person to better the world. Analysis The theme I chose for the Glass Castle is forgiveness. Throughout the book, Jeannette has gone through much adversity and has overcome almost impossible odds. However there was a price to much of what happened.
The Walls children were neglected and beaten, and were raised by alcoholic and selfish parents. Yet, after all the strife and turmoil, Jeannette forgave them. She still doesn’t see them as parents now that she is older and can reflect more on her childhood in a more mature way. As they grew up, the horrors the children faced got worse. They faced racism, sexual, verbal, and physical abuse, neglect, and poverty. In class, we discussed the issues related to poverty and how poverty breeds more poverty.
However in the case of the Walls, poverty bred a conviction to get out. Jeannette put herself through college and got an education. She eventually married a wealthy man and now lives comfortably with her family. On occasion, she does speak to her mom, who she calls Rose Mary, because she does not see her mom as a mother figure. Over the course of reading The Glass Castle, I realized there are different forms of poverty. Jeannette’s life is in some cases better than others. She at least had a house for most of her life, even if it wasn’t the cleanest or the safest.
Others, as we learned, have to sleep on the street and do not choose to live in poverty, like the Walls parents did. They chose to survive and barely scrape by, whereas others are victims of misfortune. Those victims of misfortune are possibly the most forgiving ones, because they know how to be humble, unlike Rex and Rose Mary Walls. Forgiveness is important to becoming successful, because anger and blame hinder ambitions and dreams. So forgive in order to live, because what’s a life worth living if it’s full of anger and blame.