The Glass Castle

Adventures First, Explanations Take Such a Dreadful Time 12th Grade

William Yeats said, “I am of a healthy and long lived race, and our minds improve with age.” It’s true that as individuals face the world, they can only gain wisdom from exposure. For a young Jeannette Walls, it’s none other than her troubling life and great number of powerful experiences that mold her outlooks on the world. In her memoir The Glass Castle, she and her family constantly face hopeless challenges like starvation, homelessness, and addiction. From the desert to New York, Jeannette’s attitudes towards her family’s idealistic poverty and nomadic homelessness change over time from naive youthfulness to reflective acceptance.

For the Walls, coping with extreme poverty, haphazard relocation, and virtual homelessness is pretending that their life is an “incredibly fun adventure” (Walls 85), and for young Jeannette, the mere concept of “adventure” is more than enough to eliminate many of her worries about their uncertain lifestyle. Describing one desert night, she recounts, “...we slept under the stars...Dad said that was part of his plan...I told Lori how lucky we were to be sleeping out under the sky like Indians. ‘We could live like this...

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