Hopes, Dreams, and Broken Promises

Blog by: Emily Machen

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"When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future"

-Bernard Meltzer

Journal #1 Questions:

A.) What impression of Jeanette's mother do you get in the first section (pp. 3-5)? Why do you think she chooses to begin the memoir with this encounter?

B.) How do Jeanette's parents explain the "skedaddle?" How do they justify all the moves? What are Jeanette and her siblings' reactions to constantly moving?

C.) Describe a memory you have of moving, whether it was moving homes, schools, or even rooms. What kind of impact or significance did the move have on you?

Journal #2 Questions:

A.) How does the following passage epitomize the Walls' lifestyle and demonstrate Jeanette'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 drown, but you can't cling to the side your whole life, that one lesson every parent needs to teach a child as '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 e must be right. There was no other way to explain it" (66)

B.) How does Jeanette describe her father in the beginning of the memoir? How does she express her trust in her father? Cite specific examples.

"Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is...Admiring the struggle it takes to simply to be human. Maybe we're thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we're thankful for the things we'll never know. At the end of the day the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate."

-Meredith Grey

Journal #3 Questions:

A.) How do the Walls siblings show loyalty toward each other? Cite specific examples. Despite her family's support and loyalty, during which instances does Jeanette feel lonely.

B.) How does the Christmas incident signify a turning point in Jeannette's life? Does this 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?

Journal #4 Questions:

B.) How do Jeannette and her siblings tolerate abuse? To what extent do you sympathize with her situation? Are her justifications (for her father's behavior, her mother's neglect, etc.) valid or has she been taught to believe in a false reality?
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Journal #5 Questions:

A.) In what way does Jeanette'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 Jeanette's life? Is this another "skedaddle" or a more justifiable move for Jeanette?

C.) Why do you think that Jeanette'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)?

"Healing doesn't mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives."

-Akshay Dubey

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"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you"

Ephesians 4:32

Lyrics to Matthew West -- Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable

Show me how to reach the unreachable

Help me now to do the impossible

Forgiveness, Forgiveness