The Will of Jeannette to Live in her Book “The Glass Castle”

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Life is something that all organisms go through, but the human race seems to have the hardest time at it. In the wild, there is no school or bullies or depression. The lion and the zebra aren’t seen at the watering hole heckling each other and making sure their life feels worthless, that is only in the society that everyone knows. Teens, young adults, the elderly.. they all experience depression at one point or another and for some, it leads to thoughts like ‘Would anyone even miss me?’ ‘If I just do one deep cut, will I no longer feel this pain?’ Some look for something… Anything to keep them from actually going through with killing themselves but the darkness covering their view on the world keeps them in the deep void. They find it hard to see anything worth staying for. But what they don’t understand is life IS worth living. Life is worth living because of the people in their lives that love them, their personal dreams for the future and the will to make those people that made them feel so weak see that they ARE strong. That they have the will to prove them wrong.

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Jeannette Walls, the author and main character in Glass Castle, seems like she was far from depressed as a young child. Though her parents were a couple of nutcases, they still loved her no matter what. In one scene, Jeannette falls out of the car and at the moment she starts thinking that her parents are going to leave her there, they come screeching back. Her father Rex Walls gets out of the car and goes to envelope her in a hug when she pulls away from him. “I thought you were going to leave me,” she confesses to him. “Aww, I’d never do that,” he replies. Rex cares about his children very much and though it seems like her mother doesn’t care about her children’s lives, she really does or else she wouldn’t have taken Jeannette to the hospital when she catches on fire while cooking hot dogs. Jeannette’s parents don’t try very hard to entertain their children, but all the moving around that they do certainly makes the best and worst) memories. For example, a good memory for her would be when her mother sped through the house in a truck with a piano tied to the back and ended up positioning it outside in the backyard. It may not seem like such a good memory but when she grew up, she most likely looked back upon it and laughed to herself.

For a bad memory, she would most likely not look on it in a fond manor. In one scene in the book, her mother gets out of the car in a fit and runs through the desert while pregnant and their father chases her down in their car, nearly hitting her before finally thrusting her crying form back into the front seat to continue on their way. There’s no doubt about it, her family is a bit crazy, but everyone has those types of people in their own life. Whether it be an overly emotional aunt that you can picture running through the desert like a mad woman or a spiritual uncle, gifting you a star for your birthday. Jeannette’s childhood was fairly interesting to say the least and left no real room for her to dream about the future besides the hopes of her father one day building her the glass castle. The dream of one day living in it kept her going. It helped her look past the disheveled family she was born into and look forward to the grand dream ahead.

When a girl is growing up, she has the tendency to dream about her life when she is all grown up and out on her own. Some girls spend years planning their perfect wedding, prom and sweet sixteen. When they start going through puberty and hit the age when they start developing crushes of not only boys from school, but the teens and young adults in movies such as Harry Styles or Tom Felton, it becomes a bit more serious to them. The future dreams make a bit more of a difference in their life. They picture everything from meeting them to marrying them and it keeps them going. No matter how foolish the dream is, it’s sometimes the only thing they can hold on to. Teen boys are a different story. They come into the world wanting to be Thor and spend the rest of their lives secretly making the perfect model of the Batmobile in the basement or the garage. Men and women alike all have dreams of the future and it’s unavoidable.

Jeannette Walls shared a big dream with her father of someday striking some kind of wealth and building a glass castle that would be their permanent home. Though as a child, she found all the moving fun and adventurous, Jeannette probably deep down hated the moving and just wanted to settle down somewhere and not have to pack up in the middle of the night. That’s what made the glass castle so real to her, it wasn’t the dream of being wealthy that unlike her, kept her father going, it was the dream of finally moving into a place that they could finally call home. Her sister Lori was not a fan of the moving and tried to let her sister know that, but Lori was older at the time. She was the only one out of the group of kids that realized that dream.

In a way, the glass castle their father spoke of was a symbol for them all. For their father, it was a place where all his problems would all go away and he wouldn’t be running away from life anymore. For their mother, it was a sense of stability. Her way of viewing things was that she married into it, so she has to deal with it. It would be good for their mother to have a moment of calm, a moment to take a deep breath and smell the non-existent roses. For Lori, it was a break. She was the eldest of the kids and just wanted to stay in one place. She wanted to be able to grow up with actual friends that she wouldn’t have to be cautious of getting close to for fear of just up and leaving again. For Brian, it would be a stable place for what seems like the only two things he cares about, his family and his pets. In the beginning chapter of the book, Rex Walls tosses their cat Quixote out of the car before leaving it behind, and “Brian, afraid that Dad might toss Juju out the window as well, held the dog tight”. Brian cares for his animals very much just like he cares for his family, which he demonstrates later on by protecting his sister from a few girls that were beating her up after school. The glass castle symbolizes freedom for Jeannette, who is following what her father tells her, that someday they are going to strike gold and they’ll live in a glass castle. She wants that for herself and for her father, she wants her father to have that.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Brian, Jeannette’s younger brother, defends her in a fight when he learns of a few girls beating his sister up after school. He decides to hide in the alleyway that it was happening in and wait it out until the girls appear. He and his sister fight off the girls, managing to severely injure one of them in the head with a rock. Brian and his sister help each other get the upper hand over the bullies that were bullying Jeannette and who had turned on Brian and hurt him too. Unlike Brian and Jeannette, there are many kids, teens and some adults who can never seem to get out from under their bully’s thumb. They feel trapped by the constant heckling and the feeling of worthlessness.

Glass Castle starts at the end of the tale with Jeannette seeing her mother picking through a Dumpster and later on, taking her mother to a restaurant and talking to her. At this time, the story starts and we see everything that Jeannette went through as a child and essentially get to know the entire family throughout their journey. Jeannette had many reasons that she could have been depressed or angry with her parents for depriving her of a good childhood, but she just loved them. No matter what, she loved her parents, especially her father, and her siblings. She overcame any possibility of becoming what some might call a ‘bad seed’. She didn’t go to school very often, but when she did, it wasn’t for very long before her father made some mistake and decided to ship out. Anyone who could only start the book from the second chapter where Jeannette catches on fire would think that this child would never grow up to be anything and in a way, their thoughts bullied her as well as the girls who physically abused her. Nowadays, any child that doesn’t come from a very good home or moves around a lot would be regarded as a child that would never get anywhere in life, but Jeannette proved everyone wrong. She could have decided to live with her parents on the streets and scavenge for food in Dumpsters and trash cans, but she didn’t. Jeannette strived for more in life and that is what she got, she received more. She has a beautiful apartment and is a published author. Many who would learn about her past would never think that someone that comes from that type of family would be so successful. She proved everyone wrong.

In the end, Jeannette was a girl who overcame the odds. She made life worth living by loving the people in her life and if not for them, she most likely wouldn’t have had such a story to share. Her personal dreams for the future kept her looking towards the glass castle her father promised her instead of focusing on the things that were behind her. Finally, she made her life worth living because she had the will to prove everyone wrong. She made all the people that thought she wouldn’t turn out as anyone special see that she IS special and that she WAS able to conquer her past to move forward in the future. She is a true role model for every child that has ever come from a family like hers and people everywhere respect her for that. She made her own life worth living without feeling the weight of depression and self-unworthiness and has turned into something really special.

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The Will of Jeannette to Live in Her Book "The Glass Castle". (2022, Sep 29). Retrieved November 26, 2022 , from
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