The Glass Castle Essay

1. Discuss the metaphor of a glass castle and what it signifies to Jeannette and her father. Why is it so important that, just before moving to New York, Jeannette tells her father that she doesn’t believe he’ll ever build it? ? I can’t be sure about what the glass castle means exactly to Jeannette, but a few ideas come to mind. The glass castle can symbolize a lot of things about their family. One thing it can show is that they aren’t afraid to hide their life, and what goes on in it. Everybody can see the good and the bad, that’s how life is; it has good and bad.

Something else is that in order to build a house out of something as fragile as glass; they need to start with a really good foundation, the same way with a family. 2. The first story Walls tells of her childhood is that of her burning herself severely at age three, and her father dramatically takes her from the hospital: “You’re safe now” Why do you think she opens with that story, and how does it set the stage for the rest of the memoir? ? I think Jeannette started the memoir with the story of her getting badly burned for a couple of reasons.

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It showed that from a young age she was allowed to experiment with anything and that her parents let her be dependent and I think that made her feel good; even though her parents shouldn’t have let her make hot dogs at the age of three by herself. I think the part about her dad taking her out of the hospital “Rex Walls style” shows a lot about their dad, good and bad. In a way it shows that he wants what is best for his kids even if it isn’t what is technically right. 3. Were you surprised to learn that, as adults, Jeannette and her siblings stayed close to their parents? Why do you think that is? When I found out that Jeannette and her siblings were staying close with their parents I was surprised but also equally not surprised. When they were younger they stuck together and even though they had problems they had faith in their parents. Their parents made them strong and gave them a lot of experiences. Some of which would be being able to pet a real tiger, sleeping under the stars in the desert, and many more. At times it made it seem like the kids were the most wonderful, important part of their parents’ lives, but at others it seemed like they were either too busy to be parents or had better things to do with more important things.

When they were younger they believed that the adventures they were going on were actually that, but it was really the family just needing to move to stay away from certain people and unpaid bills. But for all of the good experiences there was also a not so great experience. Their dad was drunk for a lot of their life and when he was drunk he would yell at them and not be a good father. He took Jeannette to a bar and pretty much let a stranger do anything he wanted with her just to get some money.

Their mom would have mental break-down type of things and the kids would have to do everything around the house. It seemed like at times their dad would do anything just to get some money for alcohol or who knows what; he would even take the money that the kids needed to buy food and pay the bills, which the kids shouldn’t have to be worried about. By staying close to their parents they are, in a way, showing loyalty and what being a family is about. It’s easy to be proud of you family and love them and stay with them when everything is going alright, but staying with them when things are tough is harder.

For all of the things that went wrong for them because of their parents, it would be easy to lose touch with them. But sometimes when they were older they didn’t always have as much contact with them. I think that helped Lori, Jeannette, and Brian because Maureen had stayed with their parents her entire life and she started having a lot of problems and even stabbed her mom. I think they tried staying close because no matter how hard life was they were their parents and they loved each other.


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