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The author, Jeanette Walls, shows in the book The Glass Castle that there are a lot of situations that happen in life where people make countless mistakes, but it is very important to forgive these people. The main character spends her life forgiving her father and her mother for many mistakes. She has to cope with many obstacles without her parents’ help. In Jeannette Walls memoir, the reader becomes captivated with Jeannette’s constant struggle between protecting her family and the greatness the main heroine hopes the Walls will come to, and pleasure that her family is based on the counterfeit hope and senseless falsehood with her unbelievable story telling methods. The feeling of forgiveness holds the Walls’ family together. The writer describes Walls’s childhood, relationships with the family, and ability to overcome all the hardships in this book. The children of the Wall’s family are forced to begin the independent lives at an early age. Walls’ father is extremely creative, and applies his inventive skills to his middle daughter. Rex is an intelligent man; he uses every chance to teach his children about the world, and encourages them to create something great. The title of the book is based on his dream of constructing a “glass castle” for his members of the family, even when the Walls were sinking into the extreme poverty.
The narrator depicts seeing her mom rummaging in the trash can and then makes up her mind to have lunch with her at the beginning of the book. All conversations with her mom makes her recall the horrible childhood she has experienced. The author reveals the story of Jeannette who is reflecting on her past. The characters had torturous lives on Little Hobart Street because of lack of heat during the wintertime. They bundled up in the big blankets and hugged together trying to keep warm through the body heat. Jeannette and Brian noticed that there was no insulation in their house, Jeannette told her mother that she dislikes winter months and cold weather. The author wrote such lines about Jeannette’s talk with her mother, “that seemed to be true, because none of us kids ever got sick. But even if I’d woken up one morning with a raging fever, I never would have admitted it to Mom. Being sick might have meant staying home in our freezing house instead of spending the day in a toasty classroom” (Walls 177). When the main character was three years old, the main character tried to cook hotdogs and her mom wasn’t watching her. She stopped picking up her dress on fire and was hospitalized for six days. Her dad carried her away from the hospital without payment and then her mom permitted her to cook again, moreover she said, “Getting right back into the saddle” (Walls 47). Jeannette was not angry at her parents at such a young age and soon the family had to pack their belongings into the bags and “do the skedaddle” as her parents always said. The parents were fleeing from bill collectors. Although Jeannette’s father was an alcoholic, he could get a work almost anywhere, often in small towns. The family was moving because of these things, the main character never complained when they did not have enough food. She always forgave her parents because she understood what her parents were going through.
The writer represents Rex as a reasonable and loving teacher and father through the Christmas time during which he gave the presents’ stars to his children. Jeannette describes the memory with contentment and admiration in her tone. Although the main heroine says, “we had no money at all,” lack of regret suggests the minimal significance of the financial struggles in her family as it is easily adumbrated by the significance of this moment (Walls 39). The capitalization of “Dad” emphasizes Jeannette’s absolute admiration for her father, besides Rex has an ability to brave the cold times because, “the cold never bothered him” (Walls 39).The main reason why Jeannette holds onto her father when other people ignore him is his ability to make her feel unique, as it gives her one of the most important moments of her life. It becomes apparent that the main heroine’s admiration is growing as she continues to depict the experience in the positive terms. The final quotation at the end of the excerpt, as her father tells “Years from now…you’ll still have your stars” is another strong example of her father emphasizing her uniqueness, as he clearly sets the Walls children apart from the others by giving them a present others could have never received (Walls 41). Moreover, her father has a capacity to make her feel special, he states “took each of [the] kids out into the desert night, one by one,” depicting that the stars were “one of the special treats for people like [Jeannette]” (Walls 39). Rex compares their family with the “rich city folks” and makes her think, “We’d have to be out of our minds to want to travel places with any of them” (Walls, 1994, p.39). Moreover, Jeannette depicts her father with the simple diction, as she emphasizes, “Dad said”; she does not use stronger verbs such as “described” and “exclaimed” (Walls 40). Her simple language shows her experience in the lying and leaves only the chastity of her experience. Jeannette’s father dropped her into the water and tried to learn how to swim. S he describes her father’s explanation as his attempts to teach her the life lessons such as “you can’t cling to the sink your whole life,” and “if you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim” (Walls 66). Jeannette takes in his explanations agrees readily and wholeheartedly. The main character even says, “I figured he must be right [because] there was no other way to explain it” (Walls 66). It seems that her father wants the best for her and only a few justifications are able to persuade Jeannette, even if he caused her suffering.
The theme of the American Dream is passing through the dream of the GlassCastle. When Jeanette’s father is sober, he is a capable and brilliant man. His alcoholism also obstructs with his ability to hold a steady job. Rex should bring an income to his family, instead of this, he brings embarrassment, shame, and much anger. He often disappears for days at a time, and his children are aware that they can’t rely on him. However, he is also the keeper of a dream to construct a magnificent building for his precious family and to call it the GlassCastle. Jeannette is very happy about this prospect and she tries to help with its plan. However, as she grows older and little progress on the house is made, she understands that the dream is lost and will never occur.
From the one point of view, her father makes a foundation for the GlassCastle, which gives Jeannette anticipation that it should be built after all circumstances. However, soon the foundation of the house turns into the personal landfill in her family, reflecting the crash of the American Dream for Rex Walls. The same situation occurs when the main character tries to paint their house, but the paint congeals and leaves "a weird-looking half-finished patch job - one that announced to the world that the people inside the house wanted to fix it up but lacked the gumption to get the work done" (Walls 158).. Jeannette, Lori, and Brian gain their own personal variants of the American Dream. They all drudge to leave Welch for New York, where they become homes and jobs and are happy and successful. Therefore, the memoir describes the frequent failure and the potential success of the American Dream, and how hard a person should work to reach such a dream.
All Rex’s children have reached their dreams besides Rex. Jeannette emphasizes how inspirational he is to her before his death. She says, “But despite all the hell-raising and destruction and chaos he had created in our lives, I could not imagine what my life would be like—what the world would be like—without him in it…As awful as he could be, I always knew he loved me in a way no one else had” (Walls 279). These lines show the uniqueness that he makes her feel her affection for him. The main character realizes that she cannot escape from her father’s control and influence over her, even as Rex was dying. The main character knew about his dream but she could not do anything with it. Thus, his dream became a lost dream.
To sum up, the Walls have ideas that they want to come true. The Glass Castle is the best example of mourned and lost dreams. Rex understands that to build a house is a pipe dream that it never has any chance to be fulfilled. A weak character of Dad never come to terms with their lost dreams, while individuals like the main character who have the strength to substitute the impossible dreams with the contentment.