The Glass Castle is Jeannette Walls’ narration of her family’s experience with a cash and food shortage, which caused them to relocate to various locations in search of a safer place to live. And if the family is unstable, the plot talks without accusing the parents. Furthermore, the story depicts Jeannette’s upbringing and her gradual view of the world by her parents, and the types of lives they led. Throughout the research, Walls perceives her parents to be neglectful, reckless, caring, and nonconformist, but he learns to be self-sufficient, dependable, and hopeful in existence.
Jeannette initially sees Rosemary and Rex as unconventional guardians. Rosemary is a certified teacher but she decided not to work in order to be free to paint. Rex is the nomadic dreamer who drags his family from one place to another via the desert and then across United States. According to Jeannette, dad is an intelligent individual who has an ardor for logic. Moreover, he is experienced engineer and electrician who often spends time inventing contraptions with the hope of making his family rich. His father was much dedicated to the family although the notions of fatherhood and masculinity troubled him since he was driven by particular ideas about the roles as the family head. Although he had the big dream for the family, alcoholism drives him to more despair and irresponsibility.
Secondly, Jeannette observes her parents as loving and at the same time unbearable. Rex showed parental love to his children and was always thinking about making the family rich. Although he did not meet his dream dad hoped for magical and fantastic life where he would provide everything and please the kids. He lays out strategies for the glass castle comprising of a detailed dimension of every children’s house although he did not build the palace. Additionally, Rex illustrated love to his toddlers when he allowed them to seek a star in the sky as the Christmas present (Walls 49). Also, he taught them mathematics, astronomy, and science so that they would understand the globe better. Despite the loving and caring personality, the inability to have the job made him drink hence scaring his children. For instance, Rex tried to leave Rosemary in the desert while the youngsters were screaming at the back seat. Furthermore, he becomes alcoholic and lights the Christmas tree on fire destroying all the presents. On the other hand, his mom was caring when she left two hundred dollars while going to government-sponsored camp so that the family would have enough food (Walls 102).
The unbearable side of the parents can be demonstrated by Rosemary who was selfish and did not love her kids. She refused to work and hoarded little food that the family had for herself. Moreover, she makes the children leave all their belongings when they shift from one place to another but emphasizes on carrying art supplies. The mom allows her in-laws to sexually and physically abuse her kids and does not reveal to anybody about the million dollars property bestowed to her by her mother. Even if the money was available, her children were starving hence making her unbearable. Furthermore, Rosemary resents her toddlers because she views them as the barrier to attaining her dream life in the bohemian artist.
Besides, Jeannette views her parents as irresponsible since they did not provide enough for the family. The Walls kids had to make their money, starve for a night or two or steal food because their parents lacked cash. However, the reason that the family did not have enough money was not the lack of stable job but Rex’s alcoholism and Rosemary’s refusal to work. The drinking of alcohol made Rex irresponsible and abandon his family duties since the only thing that he cared was buying liquor. For instance, when Rosemary left for Charleston, she gave Jeanette money that would keep the family for two months. Jeanette made a budget that was capable of supporting the family but Rex asked for money to purchase cigarettes and alcohol leaving the kids on a tighter budget (Walls 103). The above scenario illustrates how Rex was irresponsible such that he cared more about the addiction rather than the children and need for food. Furthermore, Rex came home in aggression after spending the night at the bars. Jeanette describes that he smashed furniture and dishes as well as breaking the windows until the anger was exhausted (Walls 112). Rosemary left the kids with an alcoholic man without caring if they would eat or get sick for the two months that she was away.
Based on the narration, Jeanette demonstrates both Rex and Rosemary as neglectful parent. Throughout the story, she elaborates various instances how they feed themselves since their parents did not provide food. When they need capital, they walked alongside the pavement taking beer bottles and tins that were exchanged for only two cents (Walls 62). The above illustrates how kids were required to find cash without the boost of the parents. Also, Jeanette states “if I was with my friends at the yard, I would ask if it was possible to use the bathroom where I would sneak the kitchen and grab something out of the cupboard or refrigerator to eat in the washroom” (Walls 68). The parents left their kids to starve as well as not caring about their children’s behavior.
Although Jeanette had different views on her parents, she learned to be self-reliance. Both Rex and Rosemary emphasized the need for the kids to achieve self-reliance. The parent often talked about being dependence when they were unwilling or incapable of providing their children the nurturing and guidance required by toddlers. For instance, Rosemary said “when one goes hungry one should seek food wherever it is accessible” (Walls 52). The words made Brian and Jeanette scrounge tidbits of bread crusts and apples in the trashcans when food was not available at home. Moreover, Jeannette started to work at thirteen so she could provide for her siblings.
During the hardest moment, Rosemary and Rex refused to be charity cases and did not even accept their kids’ help during their old age (Walls 143). Through this, Jeanette learned to depend on herself and not to wait for help from the outsider. Additionally, Jeanette learned to be nonconformity since her parents insisted that their toddlers were special and did not need to adhere to the societal norm. An example of nonconformity was her mom’s struggle to match the teaching job. She preferred to be an artist which did not force her to follow another person’s way of living. Jeanette learned how to be herself and do things that suit her personality without mimicking what others are doing.
Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle. Virago, 2017.