Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
It is the expectation of every child that they grow up in a family that offers protection and care. Walls’s family, according to Jeannette, is far from being loving where fights between Mom and Dad take precedence instead of taking care of the children and providing for the family. Jeannette and siblings’ childhood are full of hardship, neglect, and abuse. It is through experience and hardship that Jeannette becomes what she is in her adulthood. Dad and Mom are in constant arguments and fights while neglectingto provideregular meals for the kids.Dad brings the constant fights in the family and does not do any good in solving shelter and clothing issues affecting the family. From her first memory, Jeannette remembers being left alone to fend for herself because her parents are busy or absent in her life.
Jeannette’s first incident happened when she was three years old; she was cooking hot dogs when she accidentally caught fire. Although Mom was around, she did not prevent Jeannette from catching fire. After recovery from the fire incident, Jeannette started cooking hot dogs again without parent supervision; she has the freedom to play with matches and lights small fires in the yard. Jeannette shows the level of neglect that the parents had on her in her childhood. The parents are aware of the dangers of fire but allow young Jeannette to cook hot gods and play with fire. Jeannette parents do no ensure that the children have buckled up their belts; in one incident, Jeannette goes flying off the backseat after Dad drove over some railroad tracks – this shows neglect on the part of parents.
Jeannette and her siblings were subjected to hardship by their father, whose character is derived from the hardship situation in which his parents brought him up. Dad forces the family to sleep outside without pillows for them to have good posture. When Jeannette is young, she envies her father because of the bedtime stories he narrated in which he was the hero in most of them. Jeannette did not understand that Dad’s stories were a cover-up for his mistakes and flaws while in the family. The family is subjected to a nomadic lifestyle by Dad, who drunkard and on the run from tax collectors. Jeannette and her siblings learn how to survive amidst hardship; they learn mathematics and reading from Mom and Dad and learn at a tender age how to shoot pistols and hunt for food. The family cannot afford regular decent meals, nor do the children have shoes or use toothbrushes.
During Christmas, the parents do not provide gifts to the children because Dad has spent all the family earning on alcohol. Jeannette is skinny due to malnutrition, and other children make fun of her. When Dad wants Jeannette to learn how to swim, he throws her into a spring of water and let her sink continuously. The swimming lessons terrify Jeannette and get infuriated by Dad’s behaviors, who insists that the adversities teach her independence“If you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim” (Walls 53).The nomadic life that the children have been subjected to by Mom and Dad in Glass Castle Memoir exposure them to life hardships and how to defend and learn by themselves.
When Jeannette meets Billy Deel, she is exposed to child abuse by seeing Billy’s father genitals – Mom does not counsel her after she reports the incident. When Jeannette is molested at Phoenix to the parents leaving the doors and windows of their house open, no action is taken to salvage the situation. Uncle Stanley also molests Jeannette by touching her inappropriately when doing an obscene act. Mom is indecisive in dealing with accusations leveled against Uncle Stanley; she tells Jeannette that sexual molestation is a matter of discernment. The children are eager to learn what goes on at green lantern – this should provide the level of child abuse that Jeannette and her siblings were exposed to by their uncaring parents.
Dad had promised to build the family a glass castle in the future when he strikes gold; however, his behavior and actions are contrary to his promises. Dad is always poor and, on the move, to avoid the tax collectors, which leaves the family with nothing to spare for his dream. In the nomadic life, the family is forced to sleep in the car. At some point, the family had enough wealth from Mom’s inheritance; however, poor planning and recklessness put the family back to poverty. The family car breaks down on the way to Grand Canyon, and the family has to walk back home. Although the family is poor, the children have acquired enough knowledge due to constant movements searching for a good life. Nonetheless, the teachers place Jeannette and her siblings in remedial classes because they think they have learning disabilities.
Constant exposure to abuse, neglect, and hardships characterizes Jeannette’s childhood. Her first accident memory was as a result of neglect due to fire. Hardships were part of Jeannette’s life due to Dad’s alcoholism and nomadic life – the family could not afford decent regular meals and clothing. Jeannette pointed at molestation and sexual harassment that engulfed her life while she was growing up on different occasions. When she reported the incidents to her mother – she did not take any discerning action.
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