Alcoholism Problems in the United States
Alcoholism is becoming a common issue for families in the United States. In the novel The Glass castle, Jeannette Walls faces many issues with her families and one of the major problem is her father’s alcohol addiction. Rex is the father of the Jeannette Walls in the novel, Rex has been a supportive father, providing money and care to the family. But as soon as he starts to drink he becomes violent towards the family. “When he is sober, he is an intelligent nice guy who would never hurt his family in any way. When he is drunk, his total perspective of his family changes and he becomes a wild, crazy man. He would beat Rose Mary and cuss at her and cuss at the kids.”
Alcoholism became a huge issue on the family to the point where the wife, Rose Mary became used to it and hides when Rex comes home intoxicated. “He came home in such a drunken furry that mom usually hid while we tried to calm him done. He broke windows and smashed dishes and furniture until he’s spent all his anger…” (Walls 112) Rose Mary rarely shows effort to stop Rex from drinking. Unfortunately as Rex’s drinking problem gets worse, he soon loses his job. Mary then tries to support the family by getting a job herself since Rex is unemployed. This soon makes Rex demand Mary for her paycheck, this soon reoccurs many times to the point where Rose Mary hides her Paycheck from Rex. Although Rose Mary does not try to convince Rex to stop drinking she still cares about him dearly, She feels defeated and does not know if she could get the man who she once loved back into the family.
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Rex addiction of alcoholism soon takes effects on the kids. As mentioned before, Rex had no source of income making the family struggle for everyday needs to the point where most of Jeannettes are torn or ripped baggy clothes as they cannot afford new ones. “Jeannette’s dress was so torn that she colored her skin so that it will blend in with the dress.” Clothing was not the only issue, The family was barely getting enough food to stay alive because of Rex spending most of the money on Alcohol. As they were constantly struggling to satisfy their hunger there are days where they would take extreme measures to get food such as going into garbage cans after lunch to eat the leftovers, or steal food from others. “(Walls 67) Parents struggling with alcoholism may be surprised or concerned after reading on about the impact their addiction can have on their children now and through adulthood. Their kids, however, may find relief knowing what may have contributed to some of the issues they may face today.” Rex’s alcoholism left nothing but broken promises and trust issues with the family, only leaving a bigger impact as time progresses. Rex’s addiction has brought nothing but broken promises. As Jeanette was a child, Rex promised her he would build a Glass Castle for the family, he described it having thick glass walls, glass staircase, etc… The Glass Castle was a symbolization of the their “family goals” as they would become wealthy and a happy family. Because of many situations like Rex’s addiction this could not be fulfilled. “Mom said Dad was never the same after Mary Charlene died. He started having dark moods, staying out late and coming home drunk, and losing jobs. One day soon after Brian was born, we were short on cash, so Dad pawned Mom’s big diamond wedding ring, which her mother had paid for, and that upset Mom. After that, whenever Mom and Dad got in a fight, Mom brought up the ring, and Dad told her to quit her damn bellyaching. He’d say he was going to get her a ring even fancier than the one he pawned. That was why we had to find gold. To get Mom a new wedding ring. That and so we could build the Glass Castle.” (Walls 17)
Despite all Rex has done, one of the most important lessons in this novel is forgiveness. As the kids are always forgiving towards their irresponsible parents, they still love them despite their efforts. At most times people often see forgiveness as a weakness as you make yourself free of your anger, but forgiveness can be a way to welcome back close people into their hearts. At the ending parts of the story when she meets her father for the last time she forgives him for “all the hell-raising and destruction and chaos he [has] created in [her life].” She says: “I could not imagine what my life would be like- without him in it. As awful as he could be, I always knew he loved me in a way no one else ever had.”(Walls 279) Jeannette Walls always forgives her parents for whatever they are going through and show the readers if people refuse to forgive others, they relegate themselves to living in the past and never being in the present moment, where all the good things in life happen. “She also forgives her father when she tries to learn how to swim and her father dropped her into the water and she is going to near drowning. She forgives him and thinks his purpose is inspiring her to learn: “I figured he must be right, there was no other way to explain it.” (Walls 66)
Forgiveness is a powerful message that can be given to anyone and leave an impact. “Everyone has something good about them,’ she said. ‘You have to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that.”(Walls 144) The book theme of forgiveness also touches the topic of religion. On the subject of forgiveness, the theme also seems to pour into another theme; hope. Despite being in the worst situation, there will always be a better outcome. Despite all that has happen, Jeanette still forgives her parents and what they have put her and the family through, showing how powerful the message of forgiveness really is. The children growin up may have develop emotional problems, such as anxiety and behavioral explosion. Jeannette’s father is an alcoholic man. She and her siblings experience high level of tension and stress because of their father’s alcoholism. They are living in the extremely unstable home environment. Jeannette’s little sister, Maureen, has frequent nightmares and when she is a young girl, she has a dependent personality and cannot take care of herself. She also has impulsive reactions. When she argues with her mother, she suddenly gets confuse and stabs her mother. All of these evidences demonstrate that she has grown up in an unstable family under a lot of tensions due to her father’s alcoholism.