The Glass Castle

How do the parents affect each child when they move to NYC?


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Three years after Jeannette left Welch, Rex and Rose Mary Walls arrive in New York in a white van, declaring they have moved permanently to New York to be a family again. The couple is kicked out of two apartments before they begin living in Lori's home. However, Lori is fed up by her father's drunken fits and her mother's aloofness and she is forced to kick them out of the apartment.

Rex and Rose Mary live in the van for a time until it is towed. They become homeless. Jeanette protests her parents' new lifestyle but Rose Mary insists that "being homeless is an adventure" and refuses to do anything to change the situation.

The awareness that her parents are homeless wears on Jeannette's conscience but she is unable to appease her guilt without exposing her past to classmates and professors.

After Maureen graduates from high school she goes to city college but she drops out and begins living with their parents in a squat and working temporarily as a bartender or a waitress. As always, Maureen depends on others to take care of her. Jeannette becomes concerned about Maureen's health when she begins exhibiting eccentric behavior. Her fears are confirmed when Maureen stabs her own mother after Rose Mary tells Maureen to move out of the house. Maureen is arrested and sentenced to time in a hospital in upstate New York. When she gets out Maureen catches a bus to California without saying goodbye to her family.