The Glass Castle: Jeanette Walls Journal

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Journal 3 Prompt: This section examines the coping skills the family, especially the children, use to adjust to the both the physical and emotional violence they face nearly every day. They cheat and steal, get food from a dumpster, and put out the fire their father deliberately sets. This character trait comes to its climax when Rex sets their painstakingly decorated christmas tree on fire; but instead of responding with deserved outrage, the children become stoic and clean up his mess. There are no voices of recrimination afterwards, because they have learned to shut down and to close off from what makes their lives chaos. However, beneath her facade, Jeanette begins to realize that her father doesn’t have the strength of character to stay sober. By the section’s end some of Jeannette’s naiveté has faded. She matures enough to be able to distinguish between the ‘good’ times and the ‘bad,’ instead of the thrilling adventure her parents try to convince her she is living. She knows all families do not live as hers does. Character: Rose Mary: It is hard to take pity on Rose Mary because at this point in the novel she becomes very self-centered. Determined to be an artist, she declines paying jobs even when her family needs the money for survival. Rose Mary’s character also introduces larger concerns about occupations. She does not want to be a teacher or have a “real” job because she delights so much in the creativity and spontaneity of being an artist. This trait is extremely alarming, and is embodied in her own quote when she expresses that she’d rather spend money on paints to create a beautiful painting that could last forever instead of buying food that will only last fifteen minutes. Neither of the parents seem to display adequate strength of character or maturity to raise their children safely. Even though the Walls value self sufficiency they are not

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