Literary Analysis Of The Glass Castle By Jeannette Walls

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Everytime Rex Walls gets in trouble, he regains the faith of his family by telling them that they are going to build the Glass Castle. The Glass Castle is described as a huge palace made out of glass that will be built after they get rich from using “The Prospector,” which was a gold panning machine. (Walls 25). Over a period of time, the Glass Castle starts to lose its meaning to children because they know the same thing will happen over again. Eventually the family officially get started on the “Glass Castle” in Welch. The children end up putting more work into it then their parents and move away to New York when it literally starts to fall apart on them.

How or when was the theme introduced in the novel? Identify at least two additional details from the text that shaped the theme. The Walls family never have a true home when they are living on the West Coast. They end up staying at a place for a year or two and then move. They have better luck on the East Coast. Their longest time in one place was in Rex’s hometown of Welch. In Welch, they have the option to get welfare and food stamps but their parents always refuse the charity. (Walls 159). They would rather their children eat one meal a day for their own pride. Their house is a three room shack with no plumbing or electricity that is falling apart but it's still better then most of the other options they had before. Jeannette and her siblings finally get their first real home when they move to New York by themselves. Soon they are followed by their parents who end up squatting in an abandoned apartment building. In New York, all of the children have jobs but the parents still would rather sit around and do nothing as they live with rats.

What is the overall theme of the novel? Cite textual evidence to support this. The overall theme of family is introduced during the first sentence of the book. “Jeannette is sitting in a taxi wondering if she has overdressed for an evening party when she sees her own mother picking through the trash of a dumpster in New York City.” (Walls 1). A few pages later we go back into her childhood when three year old Jeannette sets herself on fire. The reader sees how dysfunctional the family is when “Jeannette admits to the nurses that her parents let her cook for herself because they think she is mature for her age.” (Walls 11). Jeannette still tries to help her parents countless times throughout the book. She is embarrassed to see her mom picking through the trash during the first sentence not because they were forced to be homeless but decided to be homeless for no reason. Family is one of the many reasons the children have such a bad childhood in the first place. The parents own land in Texas that is worth over a million dollars but decide to keep it in the family instead of selling it and being able to afford basic necessities. They still refuse to sell it twenty years later when the parents are homeless in New York City.

Using references to the text, explain the conflict that exists between the central character and someone else in the book. Jeannette has a strong relationship with all of her siblings but it is clear how much she loves her baby brother Brian. She portrays him as nothing but good. Jeannette and Brian would both defend themselves together whether it was against the neighborhood bullies or their own father. Brian is honest about how bad his parents are when Jeannette stays quiet. (Walls 78). At times in the story, Brian is more of a father to her then Rex.

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What evidence from the text shows that the character is working on a solution to the conflict? Rex Walls is always trying to fix things for his family but fails miserably every time. Alcohol is usually the root to this. For Jeannettes tenth birthday, she asks her dad to quit drinking. Rex ties himself to a bed for days and it seems to work. (Walls 117). He ends up being clean for about a week at the most after his car breaks down causing him to relapse. He gets a job and apartment towards the end of his life. He stops drinking once again and it seems like he has taken back his life. He ends up drinking again after his wife convinces him to join her back on the streets being homeless again. Jeannette tried to get him to stop drinking more than his own wife.

Select a moment in the novel to give one of the characters advice. What would it be and why? Select a quote from the novel that exemplifies this moment. Write out the textual support with page number. The Walls kids decide to start saving up money so they can move to New York together. They all put money from odd jobs into the piggy bank named Oz and try to keep it hidden from their parents. Unfortunately, Rex finds the piggy bank and spends all of their money on alcohol. All of the kids are upset but Lori is devastated. “I’ll never get out of here, Lori kept saying. I’ll never get out of here.” (Walls 229). If I actually knew Lori, I would have told her to get out of town no matter the costs. Being homeless for a few weeks is better than living with Rex and having him destroy whatever you end up building.

Select a character from your novel who makes a change. Explain this change and cite evidence from the text that shows this change. Maureen is one of the many characters who makes a change throughout the book. Growing up with dysfunctional parents would affect any child mentally but some more then others. Unfortunately, Maureen is affected mentally the most out of the Walls children and it shows as she gets older. As a child she stays quiet and avoids fights unlike the rest of the kids in the family. She starts to spend most of her time at her friends houses when the family lives in Welch. Maureen starts to outgrow her innocence when she moves to New York City. “The longer she stayed with Mom and Dad, the more lost she became, and after a while she was spending most of her days in the apartment, smoking cigarettes, reading novels, and occasionally painting nude self-portraits.” (Walls 276). Things continue to get worse for her and she attempts to kill her mother with a knife but fails. Maureen ends up moving to California to hopefully better her life.

Choose three character traits to describe the central character. Choose one from the beginning of the novel, one from the middle, and one from the end. Provide an explanation and examples from the text for each. At the beginning of the novel, Jeannette is very naive. Jeannette believes the lies that Rex tells her about how they will all become rich. She is okay with things that aren’t considered normal. “Jeannette tells Lori that they are lucky since they are able to sleep under the star like Indians and would love to do this forever.” (Walls 18). Towards the middle of the novel, she calls her father out on his lies and acts much more realistic. Jeannette hides a check with him from the lease on their Texas land. “The next day when I went to rehide the check, it was gone. Dad swore he had no idea what happened to it. I knew he was lying, but I also knew if I accused him, he’d deny it and there’d be a loud yelling match that wouldn’t do me any good.” (Walls 214). A much older and wiser Jeannette starts to believe in her dad one last time. He decides to be homeless with his wife and tells Jeannette that he will be fine. “Jeannette tells herself that dad will be alright, that they can look after each other but in the spring, Mom calls to tell her that her Dad has tuberculosis.” (Walls 260).

What point of view is the novel written in? Use examples from the text to support your response. The novel is written in first person view. It follows the life of the crazy Walls family through the eyes of Jeannette as a memoir. After her first day of school, she writes ““It was good”, I said. I didn’t want to tell Mom the truth. I was in no mood to hear one of her lectures about the power of positive thinking.” (Walls 140).

How does the narrator's point of view influence how the events are described? How would the story be different if another character were telling the story? Choose a moment from the story as an example and elaborate on how it would be altered. Use specific textual evidence from the novel with page numbers. The first person point of view from Jeannette influences the events because you see how crazy things actually are. If the story was told from Rex’s perspective, things would seem like he was the only normal one due to manipulating the reader when in reality he was one of the craziest. Jeannette confronts him and rather then getting an actual conversation, he assaults her. “Why don’t you act like a dad? I could see the blood surge into his face. He grabbed me by the arm. Dad shoved me up against the wall.” (Walls 220). If the memoir was from his perspective, he would probably have described this differently.

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