The Glass Castle

Jeannette Walls

Author's Purpose

The authors purpose of writing this book was to show people the type of lifestyle she lived. Jeannette knows that the way she grew up would not be considered as normal and that people would be interested in how her parents raised her and her three other siblings. Their family barely got by day to day and they all had to mature at a very young age in order to survive. After watching the video below I realized that another reason why Jeannette Walls wrote this book was so that she could finally tell people who she really was and where she came from. This was an easy way for her to tell people that she did grow up poor and doesn't want to be treated differently based on her past.
Jeannette Walls Lets Go of Her Shame - Oprah's Lifeclass - Oprah Winfrey Network


A. Never listen to what other people have to say about you, just do what you want.

B. You are only young for a short period of time take the opportunity to have fun.

C. You don't need that much to survive as Americans we are very spoiled.

Pg. 264 "By the following......."

This very short chapter really took me by surprise. The reason this chapter shocked me is because her parents are living on the street and the Dad was still willing to give her about 1,000 dollars in order for her to finish off her education at Barnard University in New York. I could not believe that he did that for her especially when they did not really believe in going to school and listening to what teachers had to say. It taught me that being a parent is all about giving your children the opportunity to do what ever they want in life in order to reach their dreams.


I would rate this book a 4 because of how interesting the memoir was and the fact that someones child hood could be like that was shocking. I really enjoyed reading this book even though some of the things I read seemed to be unbelievable. I couldn't get over the fact that her parents were very free spirited and really didn't care what their children did. It was almost as if the children were raising themselves. I was hurt by the fact that their mother was so caught up in her art work and buying art supplies and the father who could never hold a job for longer than a year, and had a drinking problem would waste all their money and leave the kids to starve for days until they somehow got money or found food in a dumpster. Their family moved from place to place as if they were nomads never really being able to develop friendships or real relationships with people. The sad part about the whole thing was that the kids thought it was normal and didn't realize that their was something wrong with their parents. I kind of envy how their parents were sometimes, how they were carefree and far from materialistic they were able to get by with only the bare minimums I feel like living life like that would be stress free and easy.

Two Passages

Pg. 183 paragraph 5

pg. 264 paragraph 1

These paragraphs have some of the things that Jeannette was ashamed of and never really wanted anyone to know about. That is exactly why I picked them to show people that you shouldn't be ashamed of where you come from and that we shouldn't judge someone based off how they were raised. We have no control over who are parents are and how successful they are we just have to learn to accept who they are.

Social Issue

A social issue that popped up a lot in this book was how people are judged based off of their economic status. The Walls children didn't have that many friends and were judged because they were poor and did not dress as well as the other kids, and sometimes they weren't able to buy lunch at school and that never went unnoticed. As soon a Jeannette moved on and went to a top school and lived in a rich neighborhood that is when people started to treat her like an equal and she was able to make friends. Once she was able to be successful on her own she didn't want any one to know of her past and where she came from and how her parents continued to live. Jeannette thought that if anyone found out she would be judged and then not able to remain in the social group that she was in. Although her parents had always taught her to never care about what other people thought she had a hard time trying to overcome that in fear of being ostracized again.


The Glass Castle is about Jeannette Walls life from as early as age 3. Rex is Jeannette's father and in this book he is perceived to have a drinking problem her mother Mary is perceived to be very oblivious and care free. Jeannette grows up with her older sister Lori her younger brother Brian and her baby sister Maureen who comes on later in the story. Their family is very poor and even though her father is able to find work where ever they go he is unable to keep one. Instead of making sure their kids have food to eat the Rex and Mary would spend their money on alcohol and art supplies because Mary always believed she would be able to make it as an artist. The kids would go days without eating and would have to resort to taking food out of other kids lunch boxes. When they moved into Mary's mothers old house that she left them I thought that things were going to turn around, but no that was not the case things seemed to get worse and before you knew it they were off to Rex's parents house. In the end Jeannette becomes very successful and is able to go to college and live in a nice neighborhood. Jeannette never tells anyone about where she came from or about her parents being homeless. Rex and Mary never wanted to change they did as they pleased and found joy in the little things, and when Jeannette tried to help them financially they always refused they were fine with living on the streets.