The Impact of Addiction on Family Dynamics: Exploring Themes in ‘The Glass Castle’

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The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is one of the most reviewed stated biographies. The book was published in 2005 and was listed as one of the best-selling autobiographies. Glass Castle is a remarkable book that many people use to relate to their life experiences due to the many themes depicted in the book such responsibility, law, morals, family relations, poverty, addiction, self-confidence, hope, and personal values. Due to these themes, the book made Walls famous. The book has continued to sell out earning her millions.

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One of the themes discussed is an addiction which was one of the factors that affected the family of Walls. In her book Walls describes how alcohol addiction by his father affected their life.

“”The only research you’re doing is on the liver’s capacity to absorb alcohol,”” Mom said Still, she found it hard to straight out defy Dad. For some reason, she didn’t have it in her to say no to him. If she tried, he’d argue and wheedle and sulk and bully and plain wear her down. So she resorted to evasive tactics. She’d tell Dad she hadn’t cashed her paycheck yet, or she’d pretend she’d left it at school and hide it until she could sneak off to the bank. Then she’d pretend she’d lost all the money. (67). This quote is relevant in this book, in relating addiction to our society and in my life.

In order to understand the effects of alcoholism. After his father lost his job, their life situation became complicated. However, her mother was lucky enough to get a job as a teacher. This raised hopes to the children that their life situation would eventually change. However, this was not the case as her father indulged into alcohol even more. His father then started to demand her mother’s salary in the name as he is the head of the house. He claimed as the man of the house he is the one who is entitled to handle the matters of money and thus, all the money needed to be handed over to him. He claimed that he dearly needed the money to finance his research. But the whole family knew the research was on his golden drink. At one instance the mother replied to his usual demands for the money and she said, “”The only research you’re doing is on the liver’s capacity to absorb alcohol”” ( Walls, pg, 67). This claim amongst others would cause chaos in the house. Wall’s father would cause random arguments, wheedle, sulk and bully her down. Her mother was then forced to develop tactics and hind some of her salaries to support the family. Despite this, the father would go an extra mile to even follow her to the school and bank to cash in the cheeck in order to get hold of the money. His alcoholism had affected the family so bad that at one time, Walls and her brother went to school without lunch. “”Where are your lunches?”” Dad asked us. We looked at each other and shrugged. “”There’s no food in the house,”” Brian said (Walls, pg 77)

Following her story, one is able to understand Jeanette Walls life through her own experiences. After the father had lost his job, the family seemed devastated but they still had the hope that things will get better. They finally had hopes when the mother had gotten a job in a school as a teacher. As for the children education matters, they foresaw the ability to buy food in the cafeteria just like other kids. They would be able to eat out and tell their stories to other kids. Moreover to this, they would finally be able to have class pictures which they never had. Or at least their mother made them had some when she sneaked class pictures in their home and later return them. Sadly, this was never to happen due to their limited finances following her fathers “research” (Walls). Wall’s demonstrates how his addiction had not only affected their budgets but also affected their relationships. In one of the given scenarios, the father manages to get hold of all her mother’s salary and decides to take them to an expensive restaurant. Wall’s mother had sneaked some money from the bank, hid it in a sock and handed over to Jeanette.

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The Impact of Addiction on Family Dynamics: Exploring Themes in 'The Glass Castle'. (2020, Feb 25). Retrieved from