It is commonly believed that the only way to overcome difficult situations is by taking initiative in making a positive change, although this is not always the case. The theme of the memoir the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is that the changes made in children’s lives when living under desperate circumstances do not always yield positive results. In the book, Jeannette desperately tries to improve her life and her family’s life as a child, but she is unable to do so despite her best efforts. This theme is portrayed through three significant literary devices in the book: irony, symbolism and allusion. Towards the middle of the memoir, the theme is shown through the irony of Jeannette’s mother’s situation as well as Jeannette’s feelings towards …show more content…
Rose Mary is a selfish woman and decides not to go to school some mornings because she does not feel up to it. Jeannette takes the initiative in making sure that her mother is prepared for school each morning because she knows how much her family needs money. Even though Rose Mary starts to go to school every day, she does not do her job properly and thus the family suffers financially again. When Maureen’s birthday approaches, Jeannette takes it upon herself to find a gift for her because she does not think their parents will be able to provide her with one. Jeannette says, “at times I felt like I was failing Maureen, like I wasn’t keeping my promise that I’d protect her - the promise I’d made to her when I held her on the way home from the hospital after she’d been born. I couldn’t get her what she needed most- hot …show more content…
When the family arrives in Welch, they notice that their newly purchased house is dull-looking and depressing, matching their moods when they first start living there. Jeannette notices that their glum house is contributing to their glum moods so she suggests painting the house yellow, a colour that is symbolic of happiness, to try and boost morale. Nobody in her family is willing to help so she paints by herself and notices an improvement in the look of their house. Unfortunately, she leaves the paint outside in the wintertime causing it to freeze, meaning that she is unable to finish painting the house. One day while playing outside, Jeannette and her brother stumble upon a diamond wedding ring lying on the ground. The wedding ring symbolizes hope to the children because they realize that it can be sold for a substantial amount of money. They bring the ring to their mother and tell her that, “it could get [them] a lot of food” (185), to which she replies, “but it could also improve my self-esteem. And at times like these, self-esteem is even more vital than food” (185). Rose Mary decides to keep the ring because she values her own selfish needs over the welfare of her children. Both the yellow paint and the ring represent positive changes for the family but neither of them ends up actually changing their
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Just like Tom Joad, Jeannette Walls must learn the power of community and its importance on perseverance. However in the Glass Castle, the aspiration of leading better lives leads the children to unimaginable goals. “He carried around the blueprints for the Glass Castle wherever we went, and sometimes he 'd pull them out and let us work on the design for our rooms. . . (Walls 25).” This drive to lead more promising and fulfilling lives results directly from the abusive living conditions Jeannette grew up in. In this way, the Glass Castle differs from the unfortunately difficult lives of the Joads in Grapes of Wrath. “No child is born a delinquent. They only became that way if nobody loved them when they were kids. Unloved children grow up to be serial murderers or alcoholics. . . (Walls 83).” With this realization, Jeannette learns that she must strive to get out of the metaphorical
In this touching, non-fiction memoir by Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle recounts the story of her vagabond upbringing in the 1960‘s. Walls notes her parents lack of conformity while also showing their unconditional love, in rather unconventional ways. While touching the bases of alcoholism, poverty and child neglect, the author still maintains the point of a passionate determination to preserve the alliance with her siblings through it all.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a memoir about Jeannette’s childhood experiencing many difficult situations. It is an excellent example of contemporary literature that reflects society. This story connects with social issues relevant to our time period, such as unstable home life, alcoholism, and poverty. Many of these issues, as well as others, are also themes of the story. One major theme of the story is overcoming obstacles, which is demonstrated by Jeannette, the Walls’ kids, and Rex and Mary Walls.
If one is unreliable, the child will turn to the other. Unfortunately, Jeannette Walls did not have any parent to rely on. Similar to her father, her mother was selfish, irresponsible, and insensitive. Rose Mary was a writer, a teacher, and an artist. Wall’s mother instilled creativity, an attitude of free spirit, and the love of reading upon her children. However, Rosemary spent countless hours sitting in front of her typewriter and a canvas. Whereas she had no interest in cooking a meal for her children which would disappear within minutes, she could make a painting that would last forever. Jeannette‘s mother could not bear to put her children before herself. While being given the opportunity to provide for her family on multiple occasions, Rosemary answered self-indulgently to each and everyone of them. From the scene in the book “where we kids had gone without food for days and my brother caught Mom secretly chomping away on a giant chocolate bar” as stated by Edna Boardman while quoting Walls, to callously denying Jeannette the opportunity to make money for food after miraculously finding a real diamond ring. Rather than allowing her children to pawn the ring, she simply states “[T]hat’s true, but it could also improve my self-esteem. And at times like these, self-esteem is even more vital than food” (183). Jeannette’s displeasure with living in a broken down house with no running water, no food, and parents who neglected
In the memoir The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, the author's earliest memory is her injury at the age of three, and in this memory she is all but unhappy. Jeannette's childhood was full of inconveniences. The Walls family had a hard time conforming to society and shaping their future life for success. Rex and Rose Mary had different morals than others when it came to raising their children: Brain, Lori, Maureen and of course Jeannette. During her childhood, Jeannette was dealt with hardships, but showed maturity and independence throughout it.
The story of Jeannette Walls and her dysfunctional family gives insights of hope and growth. To get these points across, author, Jeannette Walls wrote her autobiography using many different literary devices to tell the story of her childhood. She used themes that were apparent her whole childhood. She used symbolism to say the things that needed to be said in a discrete way. And her similes gave her audience insight to the people around her. Devices like symbolism, similes and theme have been used in all great literature to convey information, as well as in this story in a refreshing, thought-provoking way.
In conclusion, the novel The Glass Castle was an attempt to represent the challenges we face throughout our life. Every challenge should be confronted and solved. Family matters contribute to why many individuals have difficulties, but at the end we should know that they’ll always love us. No matter what happens we face the unknown and deal with it. We forgive many people who are significantly associated to us and most of all we take the responsibilities. It is important to always take action and solve the challenges we
In The Glass Castle, Jeannette faced many problems, in which she have to use logics to weight the pros and cons of it and give comprehensive solutions. One problem Jeannette encounter is when her dad steal the money she and Lori been saving for almost nine months to pay their trip to New York. This led them to start all over again, but the money didn’t come rapidly. Jeannette was given the opportunity of spending the summer with Mrs. Sanders in Iowa and being able to earn two hundred dollars by the end of the summer and a bus ticket back to Welch. Instead of taking the opportunity for herself, she let Lori go and ask Mrs. Sander for a bus ticket to New York. In this difficult situation, she weight the pros and cons while anticipating the
Also, as Jeannette recognizes her father's faults later in her life, their relationship progresses to depression, the fourth stage of grief. After Rex dies Jeannette finds herself lost and distracted without him. For months after he died Jeannette felt uncomfortable, "[she] found [herself] always wanting to be somewhere other than where [she] was" (280). Similar to her father, Jeannette starts showing signs of erratic behaviour in an attempt to cope with the sadness she experiences because of his death. Jeannette's feeling of depression after her father passes away is the progression to the fourth stage of
Even though it’s hard to mend broken pieces, it is possible for parents to build strong children despite the problems they face. Jeannette becomes an independent girl inspire of her parents lack of attention which makes her fend for herself.
From being able to save up money to buy a car and move out to West Virginia and then leaving the responsibility of finances and income to her children, Rose Mary Wall’s helped put Jeanette and her siblings through a hard and tough childhood. Although, a debate could be made that with all the awful impacts that the mother had on her children, all she really did was actually positively influence them to be able to conquer any hardship that they may face in their life. In the end, Rose Mary Wall’s character of being independent, unreasonable, and stubborn did both positively and negatively impact her children’s lives through the hardships they all faced
Fire. Neglect. Sexual Molestation. No one child should have to face what Jeannette Walls had to endure as a young child. However, Walls clearly shows this chaos and the dysfunctional issues that she had to overcome while she was growing up. Within her memoir, The Glass Castle, Walls incorporates little things that were important in her life in order to help the reader understand her story even more. These little things amount to important symbolisms and metaphors that help to give the story a deeper meaning and to truly understand Jeannette and her family’s life.
As I read the Glass Castle, the way Rose Mary behaves, thinks and feels vary greatly and differently throughout the memoir. The immediate question that pops up in my mind is to ask whether Rose Mary carries some sort of mental illness. Fortunately, given the hints and traits that are relevant to why Rose Mary lives like that in the memoir, we, the readers, are able to make some diagnosis and assumptions on the kind of mental illness she may carry. To illustrate, one distinctive example is when Rose Mary blames Jeannette for having the idea to accept welfare. “Once you go on welfare, it changes you. Even if you get off welfare, you never escape the stigma that you were a charity case.” (188). In my opinion, Rose Mary is being nonsense and contractive in her criticism, because of Rose Mary’s resistances to work and to accept welfare, it often causes a severe food shortage within the family that all four little children have to find food from trash cans or move on with hunger, which could lead to a state of insufficient diet. More importantly, having welfare as a way to solve food shortage, it can certainly improve those young Walls children’s poor nutrition and maintain their healthy diet, but Rose Mary turns it down because she thinks it is a shame to accept welfare despite their children are suffering from starvation. Another example will be when Rose Mary abandons all of her school work for no reason. “One morning toward the end of the school year, Mom had a complete meltdown. She was supposed to write up evaluations of her students’ progress, but she’d spent every free minute painting, and now the deadline was on her and the evaluations were unwritten” (207). This is one of the moments when Rose Mary shifts all of her attentio...
The author Jeannette Walls of the Glass Castle uses the literary element of characterization to further the theme of the individual chapters. Walls, divides the novel into sections which signify different parts of her life. During one of the last sections in the later half of Jeannette Walls life she comes accross the character by the name of Ginnie Sue Pastor. Ginnie Sue is a single mother who works at The Green Lantern (a local brothel) in order to support her family. When Jeannette first comes across Ginnie Sue she thinks to herself, “It was only on the way home that I realized I hadn’t gotten answers to any of my questions. While I was sitting there talking to Ginnie Sue, I’d even forgotten she was a whore,” (Walls 163). Jeannette is referring to her question she had earlier anticipated on asking which related to her
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a harrowing and heartbreaking yet an inspiring memoir of a young girl named Jeannette who was deprived of her childhood by her dysfunctional and unorthodox parents, Rex and Rose Mary Walls. Forced to grow up, Walls stumbled upon coping with of her impractical “free-spirited” mother and her intellectual but alcoholic father, which became her asylum from the real world, spinning her uncontrollably. Walls uses pathos, imagery, and narrative coherence to illustrate that sometimes one needs to go through the hardships of life in order to find the determination to become a better individual.