"Diamond in the Rough"
How do Jeannette’s parents explain the “skedaddle?” How do they justify all the moves? What are Jeannette and her siblings’ reactions to constantly moving?
Jeannette's parents referred to their constant moving as "skedaddling." Walls father told her they "skedaddled" as much as they did because FBI/the Feds were after him for living this wild, & mischievous lifestyle he once lived in his past. The chose to live in small secluded areas where there was little to no traffic, interaction & etc. Her parents like living concealed lives. Walls and her siblings had grown immune to the constant on the run life that they were being revealed to. For example when they stayed the night and prepared to move to the desert in the Walls states "We could live like this forever" and her sister said "I think we're going to" (Walls; p10)
A) How does the following passage epitomize the Walls’ lifestyle and demonstrate Jeannette’s tolerant and understanding character? How does the swimming event compare to the fire incident on p. 9?
“I staggered out of the water and sat on the calcified rocks, my chest heaving. Dad came out of the water, too, and tried to hug me, but I wouldn’t have anything to do with him, or with Mom, who’d been floating on her back as if nothing were happening, or with Brian and Lori, who gathered around and were congratulating me. Dad kept telling me that he loved me, that he never would have let me drown, but you can’t cling to the side your whole life, that one lesson every parent needs to teach a child is ‘If you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim.’ What other reason, he asked, would possibly make him do this? Once I got my breath back, I figured he must be right. There was no other way to explain it” (66).
The passage gives a perfect example of how they are continuously moving but, the moving affects the family deeper than physically, it affects them mentally and emotionally. For instance Jeanette’s Dad lost his job, which forced the family to have a decline in food and money. The decline in food caused the family to turn to stealing, Jeanette’s brother Brian broke in a neighbor’s house and he stole a jar of pickles. It also caused someone within the family to steal the can of corn when Dad finally brought food home. It also forced Jeanette and her sister Lori to eat margarine. As you read further within the book, the children and the family has become so numb to all the bad happenings in their life that it no longer bothers them it has become who hey are. How would I compare the swimming incident to the fire? Jeanette’s family has groomed her to be self-sufficient that is one of the many reasons she was so independent as a child. The swimming incident was a “lesson” that her dad was teaching her. Walls’ Dad says he was teaching her that if she doesn’t learn to swim she’ll sank which is a life lesson. Although his technique of teaching her how to swim was irrational the lesson he taught her about life was very much true.
B) How does the Christmas incident signify a turning point in Jeannette’s life? Does the event change her perspective about her father?
C) How does the Walls’ life in Welch compare to Battle Mountain and Phoenix? In what way does Jeannette’s life in Welch shape her late childhood/early adolescence?
Jeannette and her siblings were very closely knitted regarding the broken life they lived, for instance when Jeanette was about to be molested by the old man Brian came to help his sister as seen on p. 66 “ so Brian and I ran after the man ourselves. As we got to the sidewalk, lit by the purplish glow from the streetlights, he disappeared around the corner. We searched for him for a few blocks, Brian whacking at the bushes with his hatchet, but we couldn't find him. On our way home, we were slapping each other's hands and pumping our fists in the air, as if we'd won a boxing match.” The close bond her sister and she had was also revealed on p. 178 when she and Lori moved in together once they moved to New York, “Just like that first apartment Lori and I had found in the Bronx. It felt right.” Although Jeanette was surrounded by the love of her parents and siblings, she still felt alone especially during the moments where she was violated and her parents never seemed to address it, like on p. 166 "Mom, Uncle Stanley is behaving inappropriately," I said. "Oh, you're probably imagining it," she said. "He groped me! And he's wanking off!" Mom cocked her head and looked concerned. "Poor Stanley," she said. "He's so lonely." "But it was gross!"
Following the Christmas incident Jeanette slowly but, definitely began to lose faith within her Dad, noticing how poorly he acted out during church really hurts her, and him breaking his promise about drinking hurts her even the more.
Part CJeanette states on p.105 that in Battle Mountain that with her family she felt a sense of togetherness but, by the time they reached Welch every begin to drift their own separate ways. Jeanette also believed that though they had nice things while living in Phoenix life there was not as luxurious as she had thought that it would or should be.
When the Walls family moves to Little Hobart Street, they quickly descend into impoverished living conditions. How does Jeannette cope with the deficiencies in her life? Discuss at least one specific example.
Once the Walls family moved to Little Hobart Street Jeannette’s parents had already laid the foundation that the house wasn’t much but, that this would be temporary until Dad built the “Glass Castle”. Although Lori sarcastically accepted the house, Brian did the best accepting their new home also, but Jeanette decided to take the good with the bad and make the best out of it. One of the ways Jeanette coped with living at the house Little Hobart Street was by tidying up her “room” and decorating her bunk bed. Jeannette also worked and thought with the end in mind. Rex had promised that their current home would not be permanent it would only be until they built the “Glass Castle”. In order to make this happen as fast as possible she and Brian began to dig a hole to help start the foundation for the Glass Castle.
A) In what way do Jeannette’s job at the jewelry store and her interest in journalism allow her independence? B) How does the move to New York symbolize a second turning point in Jeannette’s life? Is this another “skedaddle” or a more justifiable move for Jeannette? C) Why do you think Jeannette’s parents choose to continue living on the streets, even after their children are grown? D) Why does Maureen stab Rose Mary? Why does Jeannette apologize, “for everything” in her mind (p. 276)?
Jeannette having a job at the jewelry store and being interested in journalism gave her a great sense of independence. Growing up she never really had a lot of money or anything to herself as a child so having a job allowed her to bring in her very own income. Jeannette venturing in the field of journalism also allowed her to come into her own, by this I mean herself. She never really had a way to vent or to express how she felt, things she experienced and journalism was a great opportunity for her. It was a “getaway” for her. Her moments or time of zen. My perspective of Jeannette beginning to venture in the field of journalism was definitely an outlet and a big reliever.
Jeannette moving to New York was a “skedaddle” BUT it was a turning point for her life. Moving to New York offered Jeanette so many opportunities, opened many doors, and presented new endeavors. It was not only a great move for her personally, but it was a great financial, and educational move. Jeannette move to New York caused her to become opened minded to a lot of things, she came in contact with different people. The move to New York was not only a “skedaddle” but, definitely a life changing experience.
Jeannette’s parents continue to live an impoverished lifestyle because, they have become accustomed to they way they live. Honestly, her parents had adjusted to be “bums” and didn’t seem to want better for themselves. If they actually wanted better for themselves they would have begin to prepare a stable life for them and their children so they’ve become comfortable.