The Glass Castle an overview
Renowned American author Jeannette Walls is the name behind the acclaimed memoir The Glass House. In it, the author narrates her interesting yet dysfunctional childhood. The book further details her resilience to overcome obstacles related to her upbringing as well as her father’s efforts to redeem himself.
Granted that their family dynamics were unconventional to say the list, the love that their father gave his brood led to the author and her siblings developing grit and success in life. This book turn movie is in reference to her father’s promise to build a glass castle (their dream home) which unfortunately never came to fruition.
Nevertheless, the memoir enjoyed nearly 60 months on the Best Seller list of The New York Times. The book has garnered countless positive feedback thanks to the well-written viewpoint that included both the positive and negative aspects of her formative years.
A look into the Walls family
Rex & Rose Mary
In general, husband and wife Rex and Rosemary Walls were considered great parents. This free-spirited couple did their best to equip their kids with the right attitude geared towards making them amazing human beings. As parents, they wanted to ensure that the kids would be able to easily conquer problems with ease.
But life was not rosy for this family. When Rex lost his job, instead of admitting the truth to his family, he instead claimed that he planned everything and that it was so he could have more time to search for gold.
Although the family suffered much hardship, Rex and Rose Mary continuously refused to accept any help while others in their neighborhood had no problem receiving support from welfare. Rather than follow the lead of their neighbors on the street, the parents chose not to receive food stamps or clothing from church drives.
There were even incidents of Rex skipping out on paying his bills. One such incident that Jeannette recalls, occurred when the doctor insisted that she needed to keep her bandages on. Her father, Rex got aggressive and had to be removed by security. Weeks later, he returns to Jeannette’s hospital room and tells her they would be checking out “Rex Walls style.” Father and daughter then proceed to leave without paying the hospital bill.
He may appear financially irresponsible but he remains to be the better parent between him and Rose Mary. As a father, he became the guiding force who always showered his kids with positive reinforcements. He was also more inclined to provide his offspring with the education they needed. Unfortunately, this was not enough because he still endangered his children which in hindsight could be easily avoidable.
Even with Jeanette prodding her mother Rose Mary to leave their father in the hopes that the family can avail of welfare benefits, she refused to. Rather, Rose Mary begins to reprimand her daughter, telling her further not to lose faith in Rex.
Second oldest of four children, Jeannette is described as a rational, practical, smart, and thoughtful individual. Unlike her mother, Jeannette prefers sticking to rules but this does not mean she was a stranger to adventure.
Amongst her siblings, Jeannette is said to have inherited her parents’ survival instincts. She can be placed in any situation and still come out of it amazingly. It doesn’t matter if it is an emotional, mental, or physical dilemma, Jeannette overcomes it easily. Lack of food or money does not deter her nor does it dampen her spirit.
When she was a young child, an incident with her pink dress led to her getting burned horribly. After staying in the hospital for days and Rex’s argument with a physician, Jeannette gets whisked out of her room by her father. “The skedaddle” as he calls it, is his term for skipping out on paying their growing hospital bills.
Moving to West Virginia was not met with enthusiasm. Regardless, when mother Rose Mary made up her mind to move everyone, no one could argue. Her kids including Maureen soon learned that the decision was made to help their father whose drinking problems were getting worse. Not to mention, he was having so much trouble holding down a job that it was decided that new scenery could help.
Maureen was not without her troubles though. She ends up stabbing her mother after she is asked to leave. According to Rose Mary, the apartment they were squatting in was becoming too crowded. Maureen who is the youngest of four siblings could not comprehend how her mother could simply put her out on the streets. The incident made her snap, resulting in the stabbing.
Lori was the first of the siblings to move to New York. There she pursued a career in the arts. But before she became a successful illustrator, she had to save up by working in a German restaurant. Many readers link her interest in the arts to her mother.
However, her biggest breakthrough was at the age of 12 when a pair of new glasses allowed her to see more clearly, thus giving her a better appreciation for the world of art. Since then the glasses have held much importance to a young Lori. To her, the spectacles are a metaphor that helps her and her siblings see life more clearly.
As children, Lori and her siblings bought a piggy bank which they lovingly named Oz. The money they saved up collectively came from Brian, Jeanette, and Lori’s work. However, the money the kids had worked so hard to save went missing, only for them to find that it was their father who took Oz and the money.
As a child, Brian had no problem making friends. His sisters always saw him as the one who had no trouble assimilating in Welch.
He corresponded with his sisters, especially Jeanette who eventually invited him to move to the city. Much to their surprise, Brian agrees and takes the bus into New York City, a day after graduating junior high. He took a job in an ice cream parlor and would go home the same time Jeannette would. By the age of 20, Brain joined the police force and enjoyed a successful life.
Why was Glass Castle banned in many schools?
Due to the amount of offensive language, abuse, alcoholism, as well as sexually explicit content, Glass Castle became a banned reading material. Many schools and libraries prohibited the book owing to references about male genitalia particularly in relation to the children. As well as incidents of neglect, and molestation the Walls kids experienced in the hands of strangers and relatives.