The Glass Castle
The glass castle
Parenting is far more difficult than people make it out to be. According to Carol Gioia, a Senior Community Advisor for Helium Network, “Being a parent is potentially one of the most rewarding life experiences a person can have. It might also be the most difficult, for parenting is a round-the-clock endeavor filled with demands and obligations”. Gioia makes a point that not everyone will live up to be “good parents” because no parent is perfect, but they can be good by enforcing a never-ending supply of unconditional love.
In the article “What Makes a Good Parent” Robert Epstein provides that some parenting skills have been proven to conduct better out comes in children’s happiness, health, and behavior. In the memoir The Glass Castle, the Walls’ parents are not perfect when it comes to their methods of parenting, but both Rex and Rose Mary do to teach their children valuable life lessons. Even though Rose Mary and Rex Walls’ are seen as unfit parents they both provide evidence of “good parenting” throughout events in the memoir.
They demonstrate what it means to be good parents because of their abilities to provide love and affection, independence, and knowledge. Good parents believe that giving their children lots of love and affection is the best thing for them. Like typical “good parents” today, Rex Walls, in his love, allowed his children to have faith in him by showing them love and affection. Rex Walls often bragged about his past and his future: “When Dad wasn’t telling us about all the amazing things he had already done, he was telling us about the wondrous things he was going to do. Like build the Glass Castle” (Walls 25). In this quote the glass castle is one of Rex Walls’ dreams and was thought of in such great detail that he would carry the blue prints around with him. He showed affection toward his children by enriched their minds with his stories and ideas like the glass castle to keep them optimistic during their family’s difficult times. At one point, Jeannette goes on to describe how other children spend their Christmas talking about how those kids are brainwashed into believing the myths of Santa Clause.
Rex Walls after losing his job responds with “Years from now, when all the junk they got is broken and long forgotten…you’ll still have your stars” (Walls 41). Even though Rex has lost his job and had no money to spend on his children for Christmas he gives them any star that they choose. Although it is not humanly possible for one to claim a star as their own, Rex gives his children a shot at a good Christmas. Showing them love and affection by giving them hope given that they are living a hard life as their parents struggle to earn money. According to Bridget Coila, “Parental affection comes in many forms. Parents can offer plenty of hugs, kisses and cuddles to young children, and babies”. While other parents might offer their love and affection through hugs and kisses; Rex Walls’ shows his affection through family projects and inexpensive gifts. Parents that provide love and affection will not only help nourish a parents’ relationship with their child, but to also achieve happiness in child’s life. Good parents will often allow their children some independence to have those experiences that will help aid them in growing up. In the article “Helicopter Moms vs. Free-Range Kids” Skenazy, a New York columnist, was provoked by criticism for letting her grade-schooler ride the sub-way alone. Skenazy stated in her blog—Free Range Kids—that “modern children need some of the same independence that her generation had. In the good old days nine-year-old baby boomers rode their bikes to school, walked to the store, took buses—and even subways—all by themselves”.
According to the article Skenazy believes that helicopter moms reject the idea of freedom and hover their child’s safety by having a needless overprotective security detail on their child at all times. Rosemary Walls, unlike typical “helicopter parents” today, allows her children to learn from life without parental help. Rosemary Walls felt that “it was good for kids to do what they wanted because they learned a lot from their mistakes” (Walls 59). This showed that Rose Mary did not worry herself about hovering over her children that caused other parents to make every decision for their children. Rose Mary encouraged autonomy and independence above all because throughout The Glass Castle, she never helped her children with anything and told them to do whatever they wanted without rules or guidelines. Rosemary was working on a painting a few days after Jeanette returns from the hospital (from the burns of cooking hotdogs). Jeanette asked her mother if she would cook her a hotdog; Rosemary said no. “‘Good for you,’ Mom said when she saw [Jeanette] cooking. ‘You’ve got to get right back in the saddle. You can’t live in fear of something as basic as fire’” (Walls 15). This is a great case in point that Rose Mary lets her child, Jeanette, at the age of three have the independence to cook for herself.
A parenting technique used to help a child make their own decisions and be more self-sufficient by not burning themselves using fire to boil hot dogs. Children that are allowed more independence and freedom to make mistakes and to better learn important life lessons by making their own decisions. In his article “What Makes a Good Parent” Robert Epstein discusses the Scientific American reports: research revealing ten essential parenting skills that were determined most important to bringing up healthy, happy and successful children. Epstein reveals one of the top ten is Autonomy and independence, “You treat your child with respect and encourage him or her to become self-sufficient and self-reliant” (49). Epstein is expressing the importance of allowing a certain amount of freedom for children to make their own mistakes and decisions in life. Although it might seem like the Walls’ are negligent at times, Rose Mary, allowing her children to go out and make life decisions by learning many life’s lessons to be more self-sufficient in the future. Parents that do not hover over their children about every little thing in a child’s life sets an example of being better parents.
Good parents will promote and help educate their children to gain an educational advancement for a successful life. Unlike typical parents today, both Rex and Rose Mary Walls top parenting priority is to provide an education for their children. At one point, both the Walls parents decided to enroll their children in school at Mary S. Black elementary school. [Rose Mary and Rex] had already taught [Jeanette] nearly everything Miss Page was teaching the class. (Walls 58) This shows that both Rex and Rose Mary main priority was giving their children an enriching intellectual education, even though they were enrolled in school late. Children who are found to be educated by their parents allowed them more a model of learning and to becoming successful in the future. In the article “What Makes a Good Parent” Epstein discusses the importance of parents educating their children. Epstein found, “that parents are far better at educating their children and keeping them safe than they are at managing stress or maintaining a good relationship with other parent…” (49).
Epstein is expressing the importance of parents educating their child can promote learning and provide educational opportunities for the child’s future success. Although Rex and Rose Mary Walls priorities were mixed up their best parenting skill was at educating their children. Parents that educate their child provide a pathway to success because the children pick up on what their parent’s morals and generally repeat when they later have children.
One might object to Rex and Rose Mary Walls’ being represented as “good parents” because they lack common parenting skills such as how they show their love and affection, and how they provide a healthy lifestyle for their children. For Rex Walls’ it was his overuse of alcohol that led him to neglect his children when they were in dire need of tender love and affection instead of a consistent stir-crazy drunk. Rose Mary Walls’ suffered through her depression of not becoming a full time artist, although she still focused more on her art than she did her own children. Rose Mary believes that “fussing over children who cry only encourages them, [she told her children]. That’s positive reinforcement for negative behavior” (Walls 28). Some argue that Rose Mary was introducing her morals of how to raise a child by not coddling them with love or affection. This quote argues what some readers see as neglect by Rose Mary for not caring for her children when they were hurt or in need of a little motherly affection. While Rex Walls’ was the provider of the house Rose Mary was a stay at home mom, a mom that could do the cleaning, the cooking, and the raising of their children.
Although she was hardly ever up to the challenge of feeding her kids, she asks the children “Why spend the afternoon making a meal that will be gone in an hour, [she’d ask the kids], when in the same amount of time, I can do a painting that will last forever” (Walls 56). Rose Mary’s question to the children foreshadows the events in the memoir when she puts her dreams of being a painter ahead of taking better care of her children. As one of Epstein’s ten competencies to predicting good parenting you must “model a healthy lifestyle and good habits, such as regular exercise and proper nutrition, for your child” (49). Epstein makes a valid point that parents should promote healthy life for their child by feeding them and encouraging physical fitness. Parents that do not demonstrate good health or proper love and affection for their child, for example the Walls’, are ranked as unfit parents. Even though the Walls’ demonstrate bad parenting by the misuse of love and affection, and healthy lifestyle they still show some parenting skills that can be recognized as “good parenting”.
Rex and Rose Mary show affection towards their children by creating a relationship of promises and stories of their adventures. They give their children independence and respect to encourage them to be self-sufficient and self-reliant requiring them to grow up sooner than later. The children are also provided an education by their parents, molding them into intelligent individuals at a young age to understand that knowledge is far more important than any parenting skills that predict good outcomes for their child’s life.
Shattered Glass – Analysis of The Glass Castle
As said by Mitch Albom, “All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair. ” The tightness of our parents grip upon us kids can reflect the way we function for the rest of our lives. Too tight, and we crave freedom and indulge in rebellion. Too loose, we become lost souls, hopelessly searching for that one constant comfort in a sea of disappointment and solitude.
In the case of Jeanette Walls, her brother, and sisters, their parents grip is unbalanced and sporadic, smashing the innocent glass of their childhood and warping their extreme way of living into a facade of normality. Jeannette Walls, The author of The Glass Castle, wrote this revealing memoir in 2005, and it is her most notable work to date. She previously wrote in a number of newspapers, including New York Magazine, USA Today, and Esquire, where she was a gossip columnist.
The Glass Castle brings the personality of Wall’s father to the forefront. Rex Walls knew how to slither his way around tight situations.
His deceptive charm and charismatic attitude landed him jobs that he could not maintain, and his knack for telling convincing false promises left his children clinging to any sort of truth. Because of his skills as an electrician and an engineer, Rex was constantly developing inventive contraptions that he hoped would bring great wealth to his family; thus instilling the illusive dream in his children of one day living in a glass castle – a glorious house made entirely out of glass. The paranoia that engulfed the Walls family stemmed from his total disbelief in the U. S.
government, providing the excuse that their nomadic lifestyle was because “conspiratorial FBI agents” were after them, when in fact, they were running from demanding bill collectors. Despite his brilliant mind, Rex suffered from severe alcoholism. Because he continually fell short of the expectations of fatherhood, he was overwhelmed with depression and sought drinking as a way to disconnect himself from his parental issues. Rose Mary Walls, a free-spirited painter and writer, heavily promoted self-sufficiency, and therefore led to her light parental control and lack of provisional care.
She taught her kids the power of resilience and gave them an appreciation of nature, literature, and art. However, her inability to hold down a job for extended periods of time evoked resentment in her children and caused their food supply to be as irregular as a place they could call home. Most mornings the kids would attempt to awake their mother and force her to attend her teaching job in vain, while at school they were bullied for their oddness, and would dig through the garbage after lunch, looking for scraps.
The combination of these two dynamic personalities caused their children: Lori, Maureen, Jeanette, and Brian, to suffer an unimaginably rough childhood, though their innocence hindered them from seeing it as so. At only the age of 3, Jeanette was trying to display her independence through cooking hotdogs without guidance, when her dainty pink dress caught aflame, insinuating harsh burns all over her body. After spending six weeks in the hospital and requiring skin grafts, her father “rescued” her by running out of the building before doctors could stop him.
This left Jeanette with troublesome scars and a case of pediatric pyromania, a disorder in which an individual purposely sets fires to relive stress or tension. Additional appalling events for a child ensued, forcing Jeanette to turn these situations into comedic incidents to cope with them. In one of their many hasty getaways from the “FBI agents,” Dad decided to throw Jeanette’s cat out of the car window, for according to him, “anyone who didn’t like to travel weren’t invited on our adventure.
” Lori was then bitten by a scorpion and writhed through terrible convulsions while Jeannette was accidentally thrown from the family station wagon and had to wait in the grueling desert heat until her family realized she was missing; later rubbing off dried blood as her dad plucked pebbles from her face with pliers. When Jeanette was a teenager, a neighborhood pervert molested her. Later, her parents decided to move from the Southwest area where their children had grown up to West Virginia, home to Rex’s family.
Near their impoverished household lay a river that supposedly had “”the highest level of fecal bacteria of any river in North America”, an obvious hazard for children. Hinting that Rex’s mother had done the same to Rex when he was younger, she sexually abuses Brian while an uncle of Jeanette’s molests her. These unnerving occurrences forces each of the Walls children to eventually escape from their deprived childhood and find refuge in different places, especially the vast city of New York. The appealing and creative style of Jeanette Walls offers an
entertaining story with an extremely heavy undertone. Her writing clearly shows how she and her siblings were thoroughly convinced that their unsettled, destitute childhood was an adventurous rollercoaster, full of excitement at what is around the bend, and never questioning what had previously transpired. In one symbolic scene, Jeanette tells her mom that she would water and protect the ancient Joshua tree they spotted in the desert from the wind so that it would grow from its gnarled, bent self into a tall, straight tree.
However, her mother replies, “‘You’d be destroying what makes it special. ’ She said. ‘It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it it’s beauty. ’” The challenges the Walls children faced in their youth make their ability to lead normal lives in adulthood even more inspiring. By writing with the non-judgmental approach of a child, Jeanette Walls weaves a classic tale of despair with the beneficial lessons she took from her past to evoke sympathy and anger towards Rex and Rose Mary for their parental choices.
Her descriptive vocabulary and complex sentence structure captures the reader’s attention and stimulates his or her imagination. Overall, readers will marvel at the strength and perseverance of the Walls children. The story is largely captivating, though dry at points and similar to plotlines of other books full of childhood despair. This memoir is not only a good read, but also an important lesson for all parents: be aware of the grip you have on your children. The amount of influence you have on your kids is similar to Goldilocks: it has to be just right.
That’s just Selfish
Parents who are selfish have a big effect on children. The way children are raised all depends on the parents. If they aren’t a good parent to your children and let selfishness get in the way of raising their children the right away it can have a large impact on the children’s lives in the future. When becoming a parent your job then becomes being a parent first over everything. Having a family means you do everything you can for the family even if it involves putting other things before your personal wants and desires.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a perfect example of selfishness in parents having a large affect on their children in the long run. The Glass Castle isn’t just a story but it is someone’s actual life that was affected by selfish parents. The story is told by Jeannette Walls and is the story of her life and the ups and downs that she went through as a child with troubled parents and how it affected her life.
Jeannette was the middle child out of four siblings. She had an older sister Lori, a younger brother Brian, a younger sister Maureen, an alcoholic father and a mother who was only focused on perusing her dream of becoming and artist.
The selfishness started at an early age with Jeannette and her parents. Jeannette was three years old when she was alone in her kitchen in a trailer park in Arizona, standing on a chair cooking hotdogs over a stove when next thing she knew she was on fire. Her father was not home and her mother was in the other room distracted and working on one of her paintings. She was only three years old and her mother who should have been watching her small child was too busy working on a painting to notice that her daughter was over a stove cooking her food. The father was not home and when Rosemary Walls heard her daughter yelling and saw her in flames she wrapped her up and ran to the neighbors to call for help. Jeannette was hospitalized with severe burns. The nurses questioned, why a three year old was left alone cooking over a stove with no supervision. Rex and Mary Walls knew the nurses were asking questions and did not want to pay for a medical bill so they claimed that Jeannette did not need the hospital to get better, then they picked her up and ran out of the hospital without looking back while the nurses tried to stop them.
It was irresponsible of them to take their daughter with severe burns out of the hospital without having the nurse’s permission. The parents were only thinking of themselves and how this would effect them; they were not thinking of their daughter. The parent’s selfishness also impacted in the way the children were raised. The family was living in a town called Battle Mountain. The mother Rosemary Walls had a teaching job at the Battle Mountain Intermediate School. Rex Walls was unemployed and they live in a run down house with barely any food or clothes for the children. They were staying in the desert sleeping under the stars before Rosemary got the job at the school where the children were also enrolled. Rosemary believed that rules and discipline held people back and believed the best way to let children fulfill their potential was by giving them freedom. At the school Rosemary was teaching for, other teachers and even the principle started to become curious about the way Mary was teaching the students. Rosemary put her hardheaded beliefs first when it came to teaching instead of teaching the right way to keep a steady job to provide for the family.
Rex would use the money Rosemary made to take the family to the Owl club, a local diner, to eat steak every Friday instead of doing the responsible thing and using the money to buy a week worth of groceries. Rex was selfish with the money and used it for what he wanted without thinking of the family. The children would go days without lunch for school and Jeannette would often wait for everyone to leave the cafeteria to get uneaten food out of the trash. Rex’s selfishness also effected the children’s feelings and the way they viewed their parents. There was a place called The Green Lantern in Battle Mountain where a girl named Ginger worked. The Green Lantern was a whorehouse. One night Rex took Brian, and Ginger from the green lantern to dinner, after dinner Rex bought a hotel room where the three of them went. Rex and Ginger went into a bedroom leaving young Brian in the room by himself with his comic book. Brian knew what was going on but Rex put himself before the rest of the family and even betrayed Mary. Rex and Mary Walls put their selfishness first, not thinking at all about the needs of his son. The parents selfishness impacted the children’s life because they never did have a place to call home.
The Walls family just up and left Battle Mountain allowing the children to bring only one thing and to leave the rest of their belongings there. Mary enrolled the children into a public school in Phoenix the parents didn’t have any past record of their children or even their birth certificates. The house in Phoenix belonged to Jeannette’s grandmother who had passed away. Mary didn’t even mention to her children that their grandmother that they used to visit occasionally had passed away. Her mother left the house for Mary. Mary figured she would turn the front bedroom of her house into her art studio; she spent money on canvas’s, paint, and pastels for her studio when they could have used money for the children. Rex and Mary let the house go, they didn’t care and the house got cockroaches and termites. Phoenix was filled with gypsies and perverts. At night the parents wouldn’t even lock the doors or windows to their house letting the perverts look into Jeannette’s bedroom window at night.
The father’s selfishness ruined holidays that were meant for family. That winter the Walls wanted to have a good Christmas, they had presents under the tree. Rex was out drinking the night of Christmas, when he came stumbling home Rex used the new lighter Mary got him and lite the Christmas tree and all the presents and watched as it went up in flames. Rex sat and laughed as the family put out the fire and tried to save the presents. Rex ruined Christmas for the family because of his selfish ways and putting alcohol before his family on Christmas, a holiday meant for spending time with family. That Christmas was one Jeannette and her siblings would never forget. The parent’s selfishness was teaching the children that instead of facing the problems, you run from them. The family moved to Welch, West Virginia in a run down house they bought after getting kicked out of living with Rex’s parents because his mother touched Brian inappropriately and the Rex and Mary didn’t believe the kids because they were being selfish and just wanted somewhere to stay and have someone to watch the kids.
The family lived in a run down house with no electric or heat. “The cold weather kills the germs”, Mary would say. They hadn’t had clean clothes in months and Lori and Jeannette were getting fed up with living that way. They knew they would never have a chance at a happy life unless they left. They worked all summer to save money for a bus ticket to New York; they saved up enough money to send Lori there the day after she graduated. One day Jeannette came home to their hidden piggy bank broken on the floor. They knew it could of only been one person who took the money. Rex didn’t come home for four days and when he did he claimed to know nothing about the money witch was a lie. Rex had stolen his own children’s money to go out and blow it on booze. Lori was devastated but landed a babysitting job that would put her on a bus to New York at the end of the summer and that’s just what she did. Jeannette would shortly follow Lori to live in New York and go to college. The parent’s selfishness taught the children not to let their parents take advantage of them and to make something of themselves.
Jeannette and Lori were finally in New York and away from their parents. The best part was, they did it all on their own. Lori decided to have Brian and Maureen come live in New York with them. Jeannette got her own apartment. A few months later they received a call from Rex and Mary who had decided to move to New York as well. They were living on the streets but that’s where they wanted to be. Jeannette was embarrassed of her parents now that she had a nice life she created for herself. Jeannette went to an Ivy League school in New York and her parents were living on the street right around her. Jeannette never told anyone about her parents and would even lie about them if necessary, she was ashamed. Later Jeannette found that her mother owned land in Texas worth a million dollars. Rex and Mary had many chances to make life better for their children growing up. They never did, they were selfish and it caused their children to leave their parents and to later be embarrassed of them. All the years of Jeannette and her siblings cold and hungry and the whole time Mary had a million dollar land she owned.
That wasn’t the only time Rex and Mary Walls put themselves before what was best for their family and children. The children once found a diamond ring in some dirt when they were playing one day. Instead of pawning the ring to get groceries or clothes for the children Mary decided to keep the ring and wear it in place of the wedding ring Rex had once pawned. Rex even took Jeannette to a bar where he won money from a drunken guy playing pool and in exchange let the man take Jeannette up to his room. Selfishness in parents has a big affect on children. Usually the person you grow up to be is all determined on your childhood and how you were raised.
Your childhood makes you who you are and it can either make you or break you. Stronger people don’t let it break you. Jeannette and her siblings did just that, they decided they shouldn’t be treated or raised the way that they were so they did something about it and they made a life for themselves. Jeannette’s childhood will always be apart of her and haunt her. Childhood is something a person doesn’t forget. The actions of Rex and Mary Walls made Jeannette into who she is today because one day she decided not to let her selfish parents give her an unhappy life anymore and she did something for her and her siblings and that was getting away from Welch and not letting her parents take advantage of them any longer.
This is a picture of Welch West Virginia where Jeannette Walls and her family lived together last. This is the place when things really started getting tough for Jeannette. Welch was the last straw for Jeannette and her siblings and being in Welch is what pushed them to get away from the not so great life their parents had provided them and for Jeannette and Lori to follow their dreams and make a happy life for themselves.
This is a picture of New York. Without the dreams of living in New York they would have never made it out of Welch and away from their parents. New York pushed them to make a happy life for themselves and not to let their selfish parents use them any longer.
In “The Glass Castle” we see several possibilities referring to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Requirements. We see the father, Rex and one of the daughters, Maureen, who come down with Maslow. Then there’s Jeanette and the mom, Rose Mary who have both seemed to accomplish self-actualization despite their difficulties. Traditionally, Maslow’s Hierarchy is believed to be accomplished by developing from the bottom of the pyramid to succeed. However, in “The Glass Castle” this is not especially real. All the characters mentioned in this essay lacked security and security, love and belonging, and mental requirements at some time during the novel.
How they handled this though varies. “The Glass Castle” gives you a different view on this subject entirely. We see that whether Maslow’s Hierarchy is achieved, depends solely on the private themselves.
The character we most plainly see represent Maslow is the dad, Rex Walls. Throughout the book we see Rex battle alcoholism and struggle to provide for his household.
When the household relocates to Welch we discover that Rex was most likely abused as a kid which leads us to think this is the source of his alcohol addiction. Considering that Rex never ever accomplished the security, and love and belonging chunks of Maslow, he was never able to reach his complete potential. He always spoke of dreams, however never had determination to back them up. “But given that we could not pay for to pay the town’s trash-collection fee, our garbage was truly accumulating. One day Dad told us to dump it in the hole. “However that’s for the Glass Castle,” I stated. “It’s a temporary step,” Daddy told me.” (Walls 155). By seeing his dreams fall through, we can presume Rex never ever attained self-actualization. Rex is never ever able to let his demons from his past go, triggering him to never reach his full capacity.
Another character we see never reach their full potential, is Maureen. Like her father Maureen is not able to let go of her past. Maureen was often neglected as a child, lacking the love and belonging needs of Maslow. “Afterward, I called Brian. “Do you think Maureen’s on drugs?” I asked. “If she’s not, she should be,” he said. “She’s gone nuts.” (Walls 275) Not soon after, the mother kicks Maureen out, and Maureen ends up stabbing her. Maureen is sent to a mental institution for a year then takes off to California.
Unlike her father and sister Jeanette shows us that it is capable to reach your full potential regardless of what you have gone through. Even through the hardships of her childhood Jeanette is set on moving to New York with Lori and becoming a reporter. By putting her past aside she is able to achieve this and finally reaches her full potential. “I still went into the office in the city once a week, but this was where John and I lived and worked, our home—the first house I’d ever owned. Mom and Lori admired the wide planked floorboards, the big fireplaces, and the ceiling beams made from locust posts, with gouge marks from the ax that had felled them.” Unlike any of the houses she lived in as a child, her current home goes above and beyond. If you compare Jeannette to her sister Maureen it’s clear that becoming all that you can be depends solely on yourself. Maureen went through the same experiences as Jeanette, yet Jeanette is the one who decides to do something with her life, while Maureen continues to let her life be the same as it always was.
The last character we see achieve self-actualization is the mother, Rose Mary. Throughout the book Rose Mary is constantly picking out positive from the negative. In the beginning of the book we learn that Jeanette tries to help her mother since her mother is homeless on the streets of New York, but her mother denies it. “I’d tried to help them countless times, but dad would insist they didn’t need anything, and mom would ask for something silly, like a perfume atomizer or a membership in a health club. They said they were living the way they wanted to.”(Walls 4) Rose Mary seems to be comfortable with her lifestyle and is still content with it at the end of the book. “After we sat down for dinner, mom told us her good news. She had been a squatter for almost fifteen years, the city had finally decided to sell the apartments to her and the squatters for one dollar apiece.”(Walls 288) Even though Rose Mary isn’t living in luxury, she is happy. And to be happy with where you’re at in life is basically achieving self-actualization.
Throughout the four examples I provided it’s clear that you are the writer to your own destiny. It’s about personal strength. The stronger a person you are, the more determined you are to make something of yourself. Unfortunately for Maureen’s’ case, she was too reliant on other people to be able to depend on herself. She was never able to break away and do something with her life, the same goes for her father. Rex did at least try to make his children’s’ life better than his own as a child, but he let his alcohol addiction get in the way of giving his kids, and himself the best life possible. Jeanette and Rose Mary however both managed to become happy, regardless. The Walls family most certainly did not have a perfect life, and they’ve been through more than some of us could possibly imagine, but the majority of them turned out pretty well, and that itself is a huge achievement.
To me personally, it seems determination is the key to following Maslow’s Hierarchy. To move up the pyramid you need to be determined, without determination you settle for what little you get, just like Maureen and Rex. The determination to be happy and the determination to do better for yourself is what will make the dream of self-actualization become possible. This however, depends on the person you are, and the outlook you have on life.
Escape From Poverty
Living in a country where people have the freedom to define their own destiny, based on the choices made over a lifetime, means that no one has the power to define who you are and what you choose to pursue in life. Glass Castle, written by Jeannette Walls, is a powerful true story about a young girl who does not allow the challenges of growing up in poverty define who she becomes as an adult. Her childhood was plagued with people defining her worth by what they saw and assumed rather than truly understanding that within the poor, tattered young girl was a bright, creative mind wanting nothing more than to survive and be safe.
Learning was something she believed in and made time for as she was growing up, but it was pure survival that kept her going from day to day. Jeannette’s memoir reinforces the fact that no person should be labeled based on socioeconomic status because wealth does not define character and value.
Pride and self-awareness is something that lives within us. I believe that it is that same pride and self-awareness that feeds us from within and helps us move from one point of social status to another as it drives us to learn and grow. People do not choose to be born into poverty, but those who experience that life and choose to rise above that lifestyle do so by being aware that they have the power to change their life experiences. Jeannette begins her memoir by describing a moment when she spots a homeless woman sifting through a dumpster in search of food and necessary items. Embarrassment and frustration sets in when Jeannette realizes the woman is actually her mother. Rather than stopping to help her mother or ensure her mother’s needs are met, Jeannette continues on to her party praying her family secret will never be shared with others. Even though Jeannette is now considered a respected, educated member of society, what no ones knows is that she was once a child of poverty being raised by the very woman digging trash out of the dumpster. That poor, dirty woman was the same mother who attempted to keep Jeannette and her siblings safe and loved as they moved from one place to another trying to outsmart the welfare system and stay off the radar of others who were judging their existence. At the end of the novel Jeannette reflects on the fact that her parents, even when offered support from their children, did not want to rise out of the life of poverty because it was a life that they knew and understood. I have had the experience of going to school with students who struggle with having their basic needs met at home. Those kids are in my honors classes and working hard to get good grades so a free college education can be an option for them. Those same students share stories of siblings and family members who dropped out of school and choose to live on the system like their parents because that was all they knew and all they aspired to be. I have the greatest respect for those who work hard to overcome their life of poverty and struggle when I speak with classmates who do not feel the need to work for what they have knowing they will be cared for by the system. No matter how I feel, I realize it is not my place to judge.
Throughout the novel, Jeannette reflects on a childhood where she and her siblings never knew where they would sleep at night because her parents would up and move with little to no warning. They were never able to take their personal items with them so they never got attached to what little they had. It was not uncommon to hear the words of their father stating, Time to pull up the stakes and leave this shithole behind, he hollered. (Walls, Page 17) These midnight moves were often based on Jeannette’s parents discussing, in the dark hours of the night, that the government was after them for not paying their taxes. When moving, the family belongings, as well as the five of them, would all fit in the family car. The items consistently moved from one location to another included, A big black cast iron skillet and the Dutch oven, some army-surplus tin plates, a few knives, his pistol, and mom’s archery set. (Walls, Page 17) With each new home came the chance to start over and hope for new adventures. I have been fortunate to live in the same home for seventeen years so I cannot relate to the transient existence of many people living in poverty. I have seen students come and go at my school and have observed those students not connect with anyone in the short time they are in school. After reading about Jeannette’s experiences as a child, I now better understand that many children growing up in poverty live in a state of paranoia, uncertainty and constant change. Unfortunately, the result of this type of lifestyle is poor school attendance, lack of connection with others and behavior problems due to defending your family’s lifestyle, which so many do not understand.
Education is the key to defining your future because knowledge is the one thing that cannot be taken away from you. Jeannette describes the greatest challenge of growing up in poverty being one of transiency and navigating school and the peer pressure that accompanies school when you come without the tools needed to fit in and learn. As we fought, they called me poor and ugly and dirty, and it was hard to argue the point. I had three dresses to my name, all hand-me-downs or from a thrift store, which meant each week I had to wear two of them twicewe were also always dirty. (Walls, Page 140) As a transient family, the parents often moved without the school records necessary to prove how smart the children were so Jeannette would find herself enrolled in a special education classroom because they assumed she could not read. This assumption was made on first impressions rather than academic data. With each new school placement, social services was probably notified within weeks which would lead to another move in order to avoid the system getting involved and breaking up their family.
What Jeannette learned, as a young adult, is that her mother owned property in Texas that was worth quite a lot of money. Jeannette could not understand why her mother would hold onto that land as a family treasure when they had lived the life of poverty for so many years and were eating out of dumpsters in order to survive. Jeannette and her siblings, as successful adults, had also offered to take their parents in, but both chose to continue to live a life on the streets, because that was the only life they knew. What Jeannette, growing out of a life of poverty and now accessing a world open to her through her education, hard work and connections, may never understand is how her parents could take pride in the life they lived. How can it be rewarding to never know where your next home will be or what your next meal will consist of? What would a life of looking over your shoulder or always assuming the worst in others do to a person over time?
When reading The Glass Castle, a person learns quickly that it is no one’s place to judge the lifestyle or worthiness of another human being. As children, we are at the mercy of the adults who are there to guide and care for us. No child is given the opportunity to pick a parent, nor control the way the parent raise them. This memoir is just one example of how a person in poverty can rise out of that experience by maximizing the opportunities along the way in order to become their very best self.
Walls, Jeannette. Glass Castle. Scribner, 2005.
Similarities And Differences In Walls And Pelzer's Styles
Two childhoods, both plagued by hardships, suffering, alcoholic and neglecting parents–this was how Jeannette Walls and David Pelzer grew up. Their familial situations are only different in that Walls parents were forgivable because they had good intentions and tried their best despite their addictions and financial situations, whereas Pelzerr’s parents are seemingly unforgivable–one parent was a sadist and abusive mother, while the other left the family and never stood up for his son. This essay will examine the similarities and differences in the styles that Walls and Pelzer recount their unusual, and painful, childhoods.
- 1 Identify and then compare and contrast the central arguments of both works
- 2 Compare and contrast the styles of writing that each author utilizes
- 3 Analyze and compare and contrast the evidence and techniques each author uses
- 4 Evaluate the arguments of each text as a whole.
Identify and then compare and contrast the central arguments of both works
The central argument of The Glass Castle revolves around the the theme of unconditional love. As the Walls family moved from the dessert to West Virginia, Jeannette began to understand that her life wasnt a never-ending, fun adventure. When the Walls family switched to a sedentary lifestyle, both of her parentr’s carefree mentalities caused serious damage that consumed the whole family. Jeannette suffered from extreme poverty, bullying, and having to be held accountable to feed her siblings. Though she is anxious to get away from her parents and the circumstances they have made her suffer through, Walls still loves them and never blamed them for anything. When her parents followed her and her siblings to New York and became homeless, the reader sees that she loves them enough to want to help them better their living conditions. She never turns her back on them, though she definitely has enough reasons to do so.
Unlike The Glass Castle, A Child Called It is not a story of a familyr’s unconditional love. The central arguments of A Child Called It try to show readers how a parent can become abusive and how the human spirit can prevail. Pelzer himself states that these are his objectives for writing the memoir in the afterword. Unlike Walls The Glass Castle, Pelzer does not write his memoir to show his parents any forgiveness. His mother was his abuser, and his father was a coward that didnt stand up for his own son. He holds no sentiment for his childhood, save for the few years before his abuse. But instead, Pelzer wishes to tell his experience to show how the human spirit can conquer and survive all as long as it stays strong.
Both Pelzer and Walls wanted to use a type of language and word choice in their works that their characters would have used when when they were young to create the effect that the reader was actually reading his/her thoughts at that particular time. Both use descriptive, but simple, word-choice.
Wallr’s writing style is narrative, developing very complex characters: Her own family. She even used first-person narration and dialogue to show their point of view. All of the book’s chapters are consecutive, therefore the story development is very clear and easy to follow. The book’s syntax uses long sentences with ideas separated by commas (not run-on sentences, but long enough to hold plenty of information). The tone in the book is personal and reflective, as her own reasoning is the bridge between the events in her life and her family and her own actions. Walls uses a mixture of informal diction, with a tad of slang diction for characterr’s words like “skeddadle” and “big ol…” since those were phrases that were actually used by her family. Walls possibly did this to bring authenticity to her work.
Pelzerr’s overall writing style is fairly easy to follow. His diction/language level is generally casual and simple since the story is from his point of view as a child–also narrative like Walls. Pelzer does not use many sophisticated words, and his use of techniques such as figurative language are limited. His writing style is very straightforward and to the point. He does very little to develop his characters, like his mother. All the audience knows is that his motherr’s attitude made a 360 change from loving mother to child abuser. She is antagonized throughout the entire memoir without much explanation as to why she abused David like she did.
The difference in writing styles and sophistication maybe be due to each personr’s background. A Child Called It was Pelzerr’s first book, and he was an amatuer writer. On the other hand, Walls had been writing for a long time, being that she was a writer.
The Glass Castle is mainly divided in two parts: Walls early childhood in the desert and her time in Welch, West Virginia. Walls writes is by using imagery, personification, and detail. Most of the imagery used took place when she was living in the desert, as she often compared herself to object in nature: We were sort of like the cactus. We ate irregularly, and when we did, we’d gorge ourselves (p.22), however, these literary devices stopped when she moved to Welch, since she no longer had the element of wild nature to draw from. She uses long and complex sentences with detailed descriptions of events and places, often using several descriptive adjectives in one sentence. Since this is a memoir, she opts to relay messages by using quotes and diction. Walls includes a lot of dialogue combined with her actual thoughts create an overall feel of authenticity.
Though he is not a sophisticated writer, throughout the book Pelzer does notably implement the literary techniques of tone/mood, motif, allusion, and imagery to illustrate the horrors he faced as an abused child. Take a look at this excerpt, in which most of the mentioned literary elements are exemplified:
At night I no longer dreamed, nor did I let my imagination work during the day. The once vibrant escapes of watching myself fly through the clouds in bright blue costumes, were now a thing of the past. When I fell asleep, my soul became consumed in a black void (p. 77).
The tone here is defeated and gloomy, creating a jaded and depressed mood. The reader feels how beaten down young David feels, how defeated his spirit is. The imagery adds to this mood by describing how his dreams were once vibrant and of him being a superhero, to becoming a black void. The recurring motif here is the image of superheroes. Throughout the book, young David compares himself to Superman as a way to cope and keep himself motivated to outsmart and survive his motherr’s torments. In one scene, David describes in [his] dream, [he] flew through the air in vivid colors [and] wore a cape of red … [He] was Superman (p. 59). This allusion, or reference, to Superman, a character of strength and resilience, is what keeps young David determined to live.
Evaluate the arguments of each text as a whole.
Each author tells their own story of a childhood in an untraditional, even dangerous, household, and how they each found their escape in hopes of a better life. In the end, both characters accomplished their goal of having a separate adult life from their family. However,
Family In The Glass Castle
The Glass Castle, a major motion picture released to the box office on August 11th, 2017, is based upon the real-life experiences of now author Jeannette Walls (IMDb, 2017). This film portrays Jeannette and her atypical familyr’s journey to live a stable and happy life in the midst of poverty. Throughout this film, the viewer can clearly see the detrimental impact that the structure of the Walls family has on each of its members.
The following analysis aims to describe the unique story of Jeannette and her family from a sociological perspective in order to highlight the influence of the family on its members and to show how the depiction of this family through the media may influence society.
On paper, the Walls family appears to be a nuclear family with a Mother, Father, and three children. However, upon viewing The Glass Castle the viewer can see that this family is anything but normal in structure. The family functions with Rex, the father, being unemployed, and his wife, ?¬?¬?¬?¬Rose Mary, being the sole breadwinner of the family through her work as a freelance artist. Their three children Jeannette, Lori, and Brian live difficult lives as they constantly move across the country while being abused and neglected by their family members. Despite all of the negative aspects of the Walls family, one thing the viewer cannot fail to recognize is the strong love that each and every member of the family has for each other. Regardless of their motherr’s mental problems and their fatherr’s alcoholism, the parents love their children endlessly.
Upon watching The Glass Castle, the viewer can easily pick up on many issues within the Walls family. One of the first and largest issues within the Walls family that the viewer is presented with is their constant moving. The family frequently relocates to different places across the country, which can be interpreted as Rose Mary and Rex (the Mother and Father) running away from their financial problems rather than facing them head-on. Towards the beginning of the movie Rex returned to the family home late at night and awoke all the children to say Time to pull up stakes and leave this shit hole behind Jeanette then asked Where are we going, Dad and Rex replied Wherever we end up (The Glass Castle, 2017). While Rex and Rosemary probably didnt realize, this constant moving had a large impact on their childrenr’s lives. A study completed by Andre Dupre in order to research the effects of relocation stated, The father and the mother themselves involved in the residential relocation process, are not necessarily sensitive to the problems of their child (Dupre 1985).
This being said, Rose Mary and Rex probably werent even thinking about how their constant moving affected their childrenr’s social lives, education, and development. Additionally, a study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that the more times people moved as children, the more likely they were to report lower life satisfaction and psychological well-being and that those who moved frequently as children had fewer quality social relationships as adults (2010). The viewer can see these findings come to life when the movie jumps ahead to show the childrenr’s adult lives. As an adult, Jeannetter’s first marriage ended in divorce, likely because of her inability to form strong relationships with her husband and his family. Whether the parents realized it or not, the constant relocation of the Walls family put great pressure on the children and the family unit as a whole.
Another major issue within the Walls family is Rexr’s alcoholism. Throughout The Glass Castle, the viewer is shown how this addiction can completely cripple a family. Although he adores his children, Rexr’s life is consumed by his drinking. Rex cannot control his addiction and it leads to a life of constant moving, hunger spells, and inadequate care for the children. Additionally, his addiction leads to Rex abusing his wife, making rash decisions, and self-loathing throughout the film. While sober Rex is a loving and caring father, when he is under the influence he becomes egotistical and tyrannical over his family. Within The Glass Castle during the holiday season Jeannette explains, Hed popped open the first Budweiser before breakfast, and by the time midnight mass rolled around, he was having trouble standing up Hed ruined the Christmas our family had spent weeks planning- the Christmas that was supposed to be the best wed ever had (The Glass Castle, 2017).
This quote shows that despite having planned a great day for the family and having good intentions, Rex was incapable of controlling his addiction. Sadly, this sort of scenario is commonplace throughout The Glass Castle. An article written by Joan K. Jackson titled Alcoholism and the Family explains children are affected by living with an alcoholic more than any other family member.. children must model themselves on adults who play their roles in a distorted fashion.. the child is bound to have problems in learning who he is, what is expected of him, and what he can expect from others (Jackson, 1958). This information explains that Rexr’s alcoholism not only affected the day to day interaction within the family but the development of his children as well.
A final impactful issue within the Walls family is that of child neglect. While Rex and Rose Mary adore their children, they are without a doubt neglectful free range parents. One of the first scenes in The Glass Castle shows a young Jeannette making hot dogs for herself and her mother when she was not even tall enough to reach the stove. While her mother encouraged this action things quickly took a turn for the worst when Jeannetter’s apron caught fire and she was severely burned. After this incident, Jeannette was rushed to the hospital for her injuries and her parents were questioned by both the doctor and social services. Once Rex and Rose Mary realized that the social worker did not find their family stable and that there was likely an issue of child neglect within the family, they hatched a plan in which they kidnapped Jeannette out of the hospital despite the fact that she had not finished her treatment or healing. This theme of child neglect is constant throughout the movie and can be attributed to both Rexr’s alcoholism and Rose Mary being a neglectful mother. Rose Maryr’s selfish need to self-satisfy leads her to be unaware and unconcerned of all the negative issues and experiences that her children were going through. The quote Mom liked to encourage self-sufficiency in all living creatures expressed by Jeannette at the beginning of the film shows that despite loving her mom, she realized that Rose Mary did not believe in having a large active role in her childrenr’s day to day lives (The Glass Castle, 2017).
Rose Mary encouraged her children to fend for themselves, often hid food for herself from her starving family, and had no concern when her children were abused by other members of the Walls family. A 2011 study found that having a disengaged parent with lower levels of parental warmth, involvement, and monitoring.. makes a child more likely to internalize and externalize negative symptoms and that neglect is most problematic for young children, given their high vulnerability couples with virtually full reliance on parents to meet their physical and emotional needs (Mustillo et al. 2011). This being said while Rose Mary loved her children, her actions and behavior had a strong negative influence on their upbringing.
By looking at the structure of the Walls family and seeing all of the different issues they face, sociologically one could explain their family through both the Conflict Perspective and the Exchange Theory. The Conflict Perspective describes how society is saturated with conflict along with opposition and struggle which are necessary for social change and evolution. It also explains how social structure promotes division and inequality between social groups. When looking at the Walls family, it is easy to see how the structure of society was a key factor in their family life being the way it was. Rex, while he was an alcoholic, was also a very smart man. He had plans to develop a solution to reduce emissions produced by bituminous coal. However, due to his families lack of money and support from the government, he was never able to make progress on his ideas and never had money to be able to fund his research.
As a retired air force veteran who was unable to hold a real job due to his PTSD, Rex received little if any assistance from the government to have a financially stable family or work towards being able to make money. The vast amount of inequality between the Walls family and others also pertains to the conflict perspective. This inequality is best understood in one of the opening scenes in the movie. Adult Jeannette is engaged to a very wealthy man who doesnt understand her past because the division is so stark between the higher and lower social classes. Jeannette ends up lying about her past due to embarrassment to people all around her which only hinders the relationships she tries to build. The Exchange Theory can also be easily attributed to the demeanor and function of the Walls family. The Exchange Theory explains how individuals act rationally to maximize reward and reduce cost in their social relationships. This can be seen through how Rose Mary and Rex raise their children. As Rose Mary is a selfish individual, she established relationships with her children in which they essentially raise themselves. The children cook for themselves, play with each other, and for the most part leave her to do whatever she wants. By creating this type of relationship with her children, Rose Mary is maximizing her rewards in the relationship and reducing her costs.
The pressing issues of constant relocation, alcoholism, and child neglect throughout The Glass Castle clearly had a major impact on the family as a whole as well as other institutional arenas that the family interacted with. Surprisingly, the intersection between the educational arena and the Walls family was incredibly positive. The Walls children Jeannette, Lori, and Brian all attended public school where they excelled in math and reading. This can be attributed towards Rex and Rose Mary teaching the children while they were at home. Despite their constant moving, the childrenr’s educations were not hindered. However, this positive interaction between the family and the educational arena cannot be said about many other social institutions they come into contact with. The Walls family also intersects within many different facets of the governmental arena. As earlier described the family encountered the department of social services many times always in a negative fashion. Additionally, with the family being poor they were often pursued by debt collectors and state personnel in order to pay taxes and debts to the government. The interaction between the family and the governmental arena can be seen as a cause for their constant relocation along with other issues that promoted the negative family environment.
If the family had not been burdened with addiction and debt, things could have been much different for both the parents and the children. If Rex had not been an alcoholic and if Rose Mary had not been a neglectful mother, the familyr’s structure and demeanor could be completely different. The children would probably have different attitudes and perspectives on life if they were raised with present parents who spent time with them and taught them how to grow. The interactions between the different social institutions would be completely different, which could lead to fewer stressors and tension within the family. Arguably, one of the saddest aspects of The Glass Castle is that the family did have a possibility to be normal. At the end of the film, it is revealed that although the family lived in poverty for the childrenr’s entire lives, at some point Rose Mary had inherited land from a deceased relative. This land could have been sold for over one million dollars and could have relieved the family from their financial burdens. Despite this revelation, money doesnt solve all problems and it is likely that the family would still face many issues due to Rose Maryr’s nature and Rexr’s addiction.
The way that the media has negatively portrayed this family with all of its issues and interactions within the social world can influence how people might view different aspects of life such as the role of the family, social class, children, along with violence and abuse. By detailing the life of the Walls family, the media has been able to show viewers the consequences of these issues. While watching the heartbreaking film, viewers see how having abusive, selfish, and addicted parents add such hardship to the lives of children. The Glass Castle also shows viewers the consequences of living in poverty and how being unable to meet oner’s needs can have a tremendous strain on the family and their day to day lives. All in all, The Glass Castle depicts a negative family situation which is not desirable. While the Walls family still functions as a social institution, as all families do, it does not follow the social norms created by society to have a happy and healthy family environment. Due to the heartbreaking way the media portrays the Walls family within The Glass Castle, individuals who view the film may be encouraged to change different facets of their lives in order to improve their familyr’s structure and function.
Through the portrayal of the Walls family within The Glass Castle, the media is telling the story of family hardships that are common in our society. Despite the Walls family having a tremendous amount of detrimental issues that affected their day to day lives, many families across the nation can relate to at least one of the hardships that the Walls family has faced. This can be seen as especially true as The Glass Castle is based completely upon a familyr’s real=life experience. So, while the Walls family may seem like an extremely problematic family, the issues they face are still very commonplace in families across the nation. Through The Glass Castle, the media is reflecting to viewers the hardships that families currently face, they are reflecting back into our culture the issues within families that are already there. Despite the dismal nature of the film, one can hope that The Glass Castle will influence and encourage families that are in similar hardships to make a change for the better.
My Emotions From Reading The Glass Castle
The memoir The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wallr’s was published in 2005. The Glass Castle is an attention grabbing story of Jeannette Walls childhood. This book is a Teen and an Adult book to read.The book is full of vulgar language, drama, and many horrific
tragedies.Through all theyve been through most of the children came out successful except of the parents they still didnt become successful they basically just followed their kids wherever they went.The Wallr’s children came a long way from where they were from the beginning when they were children.
The Glass Castle novel is mainly about Jeannette Walls parents is unable to hold a steady job, so Jeanette’s family were constantly running from bill collectors, living very filthy, unsafe living conditions, and also moving from home to home never knowing when and where their next meal will come from. Jeannetter’s life when she was a kid was atrocious because when she was three years old she was cooking herself some hotdogs on the hot oven top and her clothes had caught fire and so she was rushed to the hospital.The memoir begins with Jeannette being in New York and is riding in a Taxi on her way to a party and she is looking out of the window and she spots her mom looting through the trash, Jeannette immediately panics and goes back home. She is worried about her professional life that someone will see them two together, but on a emotional level that it is her mother and she is in big New york cold and homeless.
In the Memoir The Glass Castle I feel like the author repeatedly proves over and over again that Jeannette hold no bad feelings towards her parents and the disastrous childhood she had to overcome during their neglect. No matter how many times Jeannetter’s parents would betray,frustrate,or belittle her she always finds a way to think it was always out of love. Also, another thing that feel that the author did right is describing what kind of parents they really are especially when they squander money on themselves instead of really seeing what to do with the money like not leaving their kids at home with no food or warm clothing.
In The Glass Castle what I didnt like is the Parentr’s not getting their priorities straight and cant get a job, so they all have to keep running from bill collectors and moving place to place. Another thing I dont like about the novel is the parents just neglecting their kids especially the mom for example when Jeannette had told her that a pervert had snuck into her room and was touching all on her the mom didnt even panic or anything she still left the window up. In the novel it shows that the dad may get drunk a lot and go crazy but when it came to someone hurting his kid she would protect them. When Rex hurt about the man coming into Jeannetter’s room he panicked and went hunting for them all that night and a couple of more nights.
Poverty And The Glass Castle
An estimated 39.7 million Americans lived in poverty according to the official measure (Current Poverty Rate). Poverty has negatively affected people and their families. Sadly, anyone of any age race or culture can experience poverty.
Unfortunately, as Jeannette Walls experiences living in poverty in her memoir, The Glass Castle, poverty can have a big impact on families living conditions and their children’s education. Poverty affects the family for when the parents dont have any job to bring in money for the rest of the family has no one to rely on for basic life needs including food, water, and shelter. Though Jeannette Wallsr’s family had no support to help them while they lived in poverty, tools are available to help families in poverty. There are many tools available to support poverty like Jeannetter’s family in The Glass Castle, including welfare services and food banks.
First, welfare services developed to help support families in poverty like Jeanetter’s family. In the article Welfare programs shown to reduce poverty in America produced by Jana Kasperkevic reports that without tax credits like the federal earned income tax credit, poverty for children under 18 would be 22.8% instead of the official poverty rate of 19.9% (Kasperkevic). With the help of tax credits, the rate of people in poverty has decreased. Tax credits like the federal earned income tax credit are a tax incentive that reduces the amount of money that people owe the government. With this help, people do not pay high amounts of money to the government but are able to pay low amounts that help support their financial struggles.
This is a major help to people in poverty for if they had to pay more money to the government in taxes they would lose all they have that help support their daily lives. This tax credit allows them to eliminate most or sometimes all the money that they owe. In Wallsr’s memoir, she states the although [they] were the poorest family on Little Hobart Street, Mom and Dad never applied for welfare or food stamps, and they always refused charity (Walls 159). Like a few people in poverty, Jeannette Wallsr’s family doesnt want help from the government to help support their family. This is not the best way to approach poverty though because without help from welfare services families are less likely to be able to overcome their financial struggles. In addition, neither parents of the family looked for a job they just learned to live with their lives as they were instead of trying to get help and change the way they live. With the help of welfare services, they would not have to run form the government each time they could not pay tax fines or be struggling for a job. Jeanette’s family could have also benefited from food banks in their quest to relieve themselves from their hunger.
Food banks were developed to help support families in poverty like Jeannetter’s family. In the article, Hunger in America states that Millions of people struggle to get by because of underemployment, stagnant wages and rising costs of living. In fact, more than 46 million people still turn to the Feeding America network each year for extra support (Hunger America). With the help of food banks, people can get the support they need to keep their families from starving. Food banks are widely known in America as locations where food is given out for free to families in need. These food banks are extremely important because they allow families to eat when they might have starved otherwise. With this help, people living in poverty dont have to worry about if they will have a meal that day or not. Food banks help people in poverty more than people would expect because they are allowing people to not have to worry about finding money to buy food but can keep saving and live better lives. In Wallsr’s memoir, she states Mom gave me a startled look. Id broken one of our unspoken rules: We were always supposed to pretend our life was one long and incredibly fun adventure (Walls 69).
Like a few people in poverty, Jeannette Wallsr’s family does not want to believe that they are in poverty and are having hard times they try to pretend that everything is okay and that their lives are great. Though the children are starving and there is nothing the parents can do because they do not have the money to pay for food. With food banks, families like Jeannetter’s family dont have to worry if family members are going to have food that day and parents dont have to feel guilty when their children ask them for something to eat and they have nothing to give them and no money to buy anything with. Jeannette Wallsr’s family had so many opportunities to have a better life it was just whether they were taking the chances they had been given.
In conclusion, there are many tools available to support poverty like Jeannette’s family in The Glass Castle, including welfare services and food banks. Welfare services offer a lot of support for people in poverty and help them on their path of recovering. Each type of Welfare service whether its public housing programs, tax debt relief or credit card settlement enables people to get the support they need to be able to maintain healthy lives. In addition, welfare services make it possible for families to be able to save the little money they make so that it can help them when they need it. Unfortunately, Jeanetter’s family refused to get support from the government and therefore they did not have funds to support their daily lives. Even though Jeannette’s family was able to save some money for food and shelter, without major tools they were not able to have enough money to support the family.
One of the major tools available for someone in poverty is a food bank. Food banks are extremely helpful to people in poverty for they make it possible for families to have something to eat when they would have starved otherwise. With the help of a food bank, Jeannetter’s family would have been able to have food for the whole family and the children would no longer have to find thrown away food at school to be able to eat. Sadly, the family’s mistrust of the government and not allowing themselves to be helped did not allow them to get the help they needed and the remained in poverty. Finally, though Jeannetter’s family never got help from the government, a hunger-free and financially supported life is possible, and there are many tools and supports that are available to help people in poverty live better and healthier lives.
The Glass Castle And Literary Theories
The Glass Castle and Literary Theories
If you dont want to sink, you better figure out how to swim. (Walls, 66) Although this quote was said by Rex as he was teaching Jeanette to swim, it stands out because it wraps up the whole theme of the book in that one little line. Not only is this the strategy that represents the way Jeanette and he siblings were raised but it shows the way they were often presented with challenges, some life threatening, but nine times out of ten those challenges were always out of their control.
The two literary devices that I found to be most evident share the common theme of what you put in, is what you get out, those being the analysis of both the marxist theory; taking a deeper look into the way social class affects different aspects of the Walls family and the archetype theory looking at the typical main characters and their situations that are suspected to represent universal patterns of human nature.
There were many characters that had archetypes tied to them, but the one that I think had the biggest influence on everyone at the end of the day was Rex, the father or head honcho of the Walls household. He was seen as a mentor at first but also the villain. Rex was very intelligent and he taught his kids many important life skills throughout their lives. The only downfall was when he drank, which was often, he became short tempered and extremely manipulative. As a mentor he was able to teach his kids many skills that set them apart from other kids their age, things they may not learn in school but just going through the motions of life.
Rex taught them the essentials in life. He really drove home the values of objects and the priorities in which they came. The children placed very little value on objects and more so on things that will last their whole life, We laughed about the all the kids who believed in the Santa myth and got nothing for Christmas but a bunch of cheap plastic toys. Years from now, when all the junk they got is broken and long forgotten, Dad said, youll still have your stars. (Walls, 41) That quote shows that he was a successful mentor in the aspect he taught his kids the values he believes matter. On the flipside Rex also fulfilled the villain archetype when he drank. He often lost jobs because of his alcoholic-like issues and in the bigger picture, that lead to no constant flow of income for the household. On one Christmas when the family was doing well they chose to celebrate Christmas on Christmas instead of celebrating a week later when everything is cheaper and on sale as they had done in the past. Later that night Rex came home drunk and thought to really light up Christmas (Walls 115) by burning the Christmas tree down. His actions ruined Christmas for the entire family but no one says anything to him because of his abusive behavior when intoxicated. Many times throughout the story there are small hints that Rex abuses his wife, yet she wont leave him. Rex ultimately puts the family in tough situations by not bringing in enough money, spending it all on alcohol or causing discomfort for everyone at home with his abusive behavior.
Throughout the story Rose Mary and Rex represent the lower class of society and utilize what they think are goods in their situation as a way to influence their social standing. Regardless of the childrenr’s well-being, both parents attempt to move up in society through valuing in their minds what are the right things to value. Another word for this is commodification, which is the idea of valuing things not for their usefulness but for their power to impress others or for their potential resale opportunities. Rose Mary displays this through her constant artwork that she takes so much pride in and would rather do than raise her own children. At one point she poses the question, Why spend the afternoon making a meal that will be gone in an hour, she’d ask us, ?when in the same amount of time, I can do a painting that will last forever? (Walls, 56). Rose Maryr’s question indicates her attitude that her paintings will impress others later on proving her commodification values. Her desire to impress others with her art pieces reveal her attempt to increase her social standing. Her concerns with how she is viewed in this aspect show how peopler’s socioeconomic situations play a role in how they do certain things.
Along with the commodification values seen through the parents actions, the childrenr’s reluctancy to remain in the lower social class show how they were able to actually take their experiences and better from them, especially Jeanette. Jeannette continuously attempts to raise her social standing but she was stuck in the lower class due to her father who would always ruin their attempts with his outbursts of anger, non-present source of income and his alcoholism. Just because he was suffering in the lower class he tried to make it seem like his children were incapable of making themselves into something more. For example, Jeanette planed to sell her rocks and create a business when she was younger. She wanted to create a business in which she had, …rock sales I explained that all my rocks were incredibly valuable and I’d rather keep them than sell them for less than they were worth (Walls, 59-60). Jeannette tries to raise herself out of her horrific situation from a young age knowing her full potential. When Jeannette moves away from her father into the city, her standards of living as well as other aspects improve, only because she worked for it. That is one of the key messages all of the children did take from their situation, if they wanted something they needed to work and sacrifice in order to get it.
All in all Jeanette Wallr’s memoir preached the idea of one being their biggest enemy, by illustrating the way Rex lived his life and how it affected those around him in regards to the different character archetypes connected to him and looking into the extreme lifestyle in which the family endured due to the influence their social class had on them. The literary theories within The Glass Castle help to really showcase the different impacts little things have on the way people do certain things or why they choose to live the way they do. Although it may look a certain way to someone, no one will truly know the reasons why, unless really evaluating and taking everything into account, just as in this instance the literary theories helped do.