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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

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The Glass Castle is a book written by Jeannette Wall. She is an accomplished author who makes use of this book to narrate the story of her life. The beginning of the book captures the reader’s attention instantly as it narrates the author’s journey back to the true life events of her past. One evening, as Ms Wall is heading for an evening function in New York, she spots a destitute lady foraging the dust bins and discovers that the woman is indeed her own mother. To anybody attempting to read this book, the spectacular start creates so much awe and apprehension.

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A laconic explanation of Jeannette’s early days can only be described as itinerant. By the time she was four years old, she had already shifted homes eleven times. Her father could only be viewed as being so weird and her mother utterly naive. It is their directions that always made Jeannette and her three other siblings to shift homes in an unplanned way. But this was to avoid the so many debts that the family had accumulated in the years or for some other offenses committed. This actually saw them crisscross the entire United States, Arizona to California, to mining towns and even into the desert of Mojave. While this happened, the poor little children had no alternative options but to shift at unpleasant times and notice packing whatever little belongings they had.

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Rex was the father of the house. He had been badly affected by alcoholism and had faced difficulties getting and retaining jobs. Despite this, he was a vey wise and knowledgeable man and always educated her lovely daughter Jeannette. In fact, her knowledge in engineering, mathematic and history was passed to her by her father. Rex promises her daughter that he was going to build them a glass castle. This was with the hope that he would one day be lucky to find gold with the prospector that he had made. How sad that this was just an elusive delusion that would never come to materialize?

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Rose Mary was the mother of the house too. She too could be described as weird in some sort of ways, though artistic. She ensured that her kids understood the importance of nature, art and literature. In addition, she made them know that flexibility and toughness was a virtue that they needed to possess in their lives. One day as they drove in the Mojave Desert, they came across a Joshua tree. The tree looked old having survived a lot of years and was eternally bowed though so strongly rooted. Jeannette later found a shoot of an aged tree and decided to take it and plant it at home. When Jeannette told her mother that she would take care of the tree until it grew tall and straight her mom said, “You will make it loose its special features. It is the struggle that that tree goes through that makes it beautiful!” (Walls). One can not help but notice that the Joshua tree symbolizes the Wall’s life struggles in some way.

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Alcoholism is a thematic statement that has to be checked in this book. It gives a very vivid picture of the troubles and instabilities that alcoholism can cause in a family set up. Many families around the world have at once suffered the effects of alcoholism or are still suffering. Due to Rex’s alcoholism, we are told that the entire family was left struggling in extreme and abject poverty. In this vivid narration of her life, Jeannette recalls the many days that she had to go to bed on an empty stomach. Even in school, she would go through the trouble of rummaging the garbage bins in search of food. To them, electricity became a luxury that they could not afford and therefore missed showering for days. A crude hovel is what they understood as a home.

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Jeannette’s mother was a very depressed woman and existed in her own very strange world. Her hands off approach in taking care of her children frequently caused the kids to look after themselves. Whatever job she got could not last as she was always lazy. At times the children would force her to work but it bore no fruits. Despite this, the children were the complete opposite of their parents. Perhaps it was as a result of having experienced hard times in their home. They loved reading and gave exemplary performances at school. In addition to this, they were very close to each other and dedicated to their family. Just at their tender ages, they had to learn how to accommodate each other despite the short comings of their parents. Although Jeannette’s family might have lived in poverty, they were very able to build very robust relations and a high spirited passion for life.

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The Wall’s might have gone through a very hard life but their mother always built strength in them. One can not help but notice her very strong statement one day. It was winter and icicles had created hangings on their kitchen ceiling. Jeannette explains to us just what her mom said about it: “life has different seasons and they all have a gift to offer, chilly condition is nice for you. It destroys all the germs” (Walls).

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My view about Jeannette’s parents lies entirely on how she portrays them in her book. She gives us a loving portrait of them even though they had failed in life. In her narration, she chooses to forgive, endure and have a hope for a new and better life for her family. In the end however, Jeannette and her siblings have a successful a better life in New York.

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In light of this narration of resilience and perseverance to a very profound and satisfying end, I can not help but relate it to an experience I have witnessed. I knew John since we were young. Though he was several grades ahead of me at school, I always wondered how he managed to be on top of his class despite the obvious poverty at their home. I was even more shocked when I learned about his father’s attitude towards their situation. John’s mother had died while giving birth to his younger brother and his father became alcoholic afterwards. He normally directed all the money he earned as an unskilled laborer to the local drinking joints. Yet despite all this John never gave up. He went to school and took care of his younger brother. He was very bright and always topped his class.

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John’s dedication was noticed by the school board who took the task of paying for his college fees after he graduated from High School on top of his class. In return he would work as a library assistant at the school whenever he was out of college. Today, the boy we used to call John Single Shirt, is a practicing lawyer with a small but struggling firm. The young firm has secretary and a paralegal clerk, who happens to be his younger brother. People with painful but beautiful stories like Jeannette and John are not exceptionally gifted. They simply fight back to adversity and lack with everything they have.

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Works Cited

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Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle. New York: Scribner, 2005. Print.

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