Glass Castle Real World Issues

By Miles Alexander

Mental Illness

From the article on bipolar disorder, "Bipolar disorder causes dramatic highs and lows in a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly.". Jeanette's mom seems like a very likely candidate for bipolar disorder. Jeanette talks about how her mom will seem happy and full of energy some days, and then other days she will stay in bed and cry about how she hates her life. She also is very poor at decision making, and if you look at the symptoms of bipolar disorder it can affect your ability to think clearly sometimes. Because of her dramatic episodes of joy and then manic depression, she probably has bipolar disorder.

Rebellion

Jeanette's dad from The Glass Castle is essentially a cookie cutter example of civil disobedience. From the article about rebellion, "Civil disobedience, given its place at the boundary of fidelity to law, is said to fall between legal protest, on the one hand, and conscientious refusal, revolutionary action, militant protest and organised forcible resistance, on the other hand.". Jeanette's dad is such a perfect example of this. He has complete disregard for the law in several occasions, and has no fear of repercussions or law enforcement. An example is when Jeanette's dad hops over the fence at the zoo with his children and they pet a cheetah. After doing this, which is already illegal and he knows it and he doesn't care, the police officer starts shouting at him and kicking him out of the zoo. He doesn't care though, he ignores the officer and then tries to pick a fight with the officer. He protests societal rules non-stop and has no fear of punishment when he does something ridiculously dumb or illegal. He is a perfect example of civil disobedience.

Alcoholism

"Because it subjects all members of a household to constant stress and fears of various kinds, it has often been referred to as a 'family illness.' To one degree or another, all members of the family are affected." That's a quote from the article on alcoholism, and as you can probably tell, it could not be more true to Jeanette's dad from The Glass Castle. He is a raging alcoholic as has been shown several times in the book, and it impacts the entire family tremendously. He can't get a job and support his family because all he does is drink and it affects his ability to get and hold a job. He spends the family's money on several occasions that should be spent on food, shelter, or other necessities on alcoholic beverages. In the book, Jeanette's mom and Jeanette have to find ways to hide the money from him or keep it away from him so he doesn't blow it all on booze. For example, they had to hide the cash in a sock and Jeanette had to hold it so he wouldn't take it. His violent and sometimes destructive behavior contributes to Jeanette's mom's bipolar episodes and depression, and also sets a bad reputation for the entire family. It is very bad.

Homelessness

The article won't load and most pages won't load so I'm just gonna guess what the HEARTH act is and move on. In The Glass Castle, Jeanette's family never really has a stable place to stay. They never have a consistent flow of money and usually just let the bills pile up and then run away to a new town or city and go to a new house. The HEARTH act would help them if it existed by helping them find or even providing them a safe home or a place to stay so they are able to get back on their feet and take control of their lives. By providing a stable place to stay, they would be able to get jobs, make money, and start contributing to society again and stay off the streets and off of government assistance, which is what HEARTH's goal is.

Parenting

Jeanette's parents should have had their parental rights taken away based on the article. The article states that one of the most common reasons for involuntary termination of parental rights is "Abuse or neglect of children in the household." Rex and Rose Mary are extremely neglectful in several instances in the book. The earliest instance is allowing their 3 year old child to cook hot dogs unsupervised and she caught on fire. Other instances include not feeding them enough, making them suffer through sub-par living conditions at times, and making them eat rotten food, or cat food as that once happened.

Education

Jeanette's parents definitely demonstrate educational neglect. They do not make sure that their children get to school on time everyday and do not really care about their children's lives in school in the slightest. According to the article, this is educational neglect, as it is the law for children 7-18 to attend school everyday on time unless lawfully excused. Their children are also what the article calls "A child in need of protection." which is more specifically defined as "defines a child in need of protection or services as a child who is without necessary food, clothing, shelter, education, or other required care for the child's physical or mental health or morals because the child's parent/guardian is unable or unwilling to provide that care."