The Glass Castle

What characterizes Jeannette’s family? Use specific examples. Be sure to explain the positive aspects and the negative aspects of her family.

From The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

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Mary Walls commonly seems focused on her aims alone. She loses or quits jobs in order to pursue her profitless career as an artist even at times when her family needs her salary for basic necessities. At times, Rose Mary behaves more like a child than her children, throwing tantrums, refusing to go to work, and creating excuses. Rex Walls tends to create fantastical explanations to keep his children from considering themselves lesser than others because of their lack of money. When the children are young, this seems harmless. He gives them stars for Christmas instead of gifts and makes life an adventure by telling them they are being chased. However, as the children grow older, Rex’s stories are used as a means to protect or excuse his behavior instead of as a means to shield his children from the reality of their condition. Jeannette describes her parents' faults and shortcomings but she does not condemn them for their actions. Indeed, by the novel’s end she appears to have come to an understanding about their way of living. The goal of the work is not to insult or vilify her parents but, in a way, to honor them.