Themes in the Glass Castle

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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 In the Glass Castle it demonstrated many different themes and messages to help define how the book is understood. The main point of this book was to help the reader understand that it shows that family loyalty can be an important thing. Also, it demonstrated survival in the beginning of the book where Jeanette and her siblings had to survive somedays without food. The Walls family constantly goes days without eating because her alcoholic father is always losing his job and spends most of his money on alcohol.

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Another theme that really comes up in this book is forgiveness as the Wall family tend to show that throughout the book. All of these themes relate to each other because the mother and father are always trying to squander money on themselves leaving their children without food or warm clothes.

Also, Rose Mary and Rex preached to their children about self-reliance but neither of their parents were capable of doing that. I feel like the most important theme that is presented in this book is alcoholism because children usually who grow up with an alcoholic home may develop emotional problems, such as anxiety and behavioral issue. Since Jeanette father is an acholic and are living in a really unstable home environment. Jeanette and her siblings constantly suffer from not having food, warm clothes, and a stable home. The main cause of this is because of her father being an alcoholic. An alcoholic parent is really irresponsible and does not provide his or her children with basic things a child needs. The Walls family have to give up a lot of certain needs because her alcoholic father loses his job constantly and also spends most of his money on alcohol.

In most part of this book, it shows how Jeanette and her siblings have to go some nights without food and warm clothes. This shows that they struggle through poverty and social class. The quote “So even though she had a steady job, we were living pretty much like we had before,” represents that showing that they still couldn’t get of poverty. Another theme that continues to pop up in the book is forgiveness because Jeanette always forgives her mother and father for their mistakes. This started when she was 3 years old and she burns herself because her mother did not take care of her while cooking a hot dog. Since spending six days at the hospital, her mother let her cook again and states “Good for you, you have got to get right back in the saddle.” The same thing is happened with her father as she is constantly always forgiving him. For example, when her father takes her out to swim, so she can learn but then she nearly starts drowning. She forgives him thinking this was part of the learning process and states “I figured he must be right, there was no other way to explain it.” Lastly, she forgives her father again at the end of the story when he is about to die. Jeanette always finds a way to forgive her parents because she shows the readers that its better to live in the present instead of the past regretting.

In the Glass Castle, it displays many problems in the book. One problem that is presented in the book is when Jeanette was told by her mom that she will receive a check in the mail for her land and wanted her father to make sure he doesn’t appear to get it first. They are doing this sow the father wont spend all of the check on alcohol or drugs. So, I asked my first classmates a question which was, what if you had to always make sure a family member doesn’t spend all of the money on alcohol or drugs. My class mate responded by stating that instead of always avoiding or trying to make sure they don’t receive the money first they would try and help them out. I disagree with this response because if I had a family member that constantly steals money from me to buy alcohol or drugs I would try and distance myself away from them as much as possible. Another problem that occurred in the book was when Lori left and packed her bags and stuff, she started to hug everyone, but she refused to hug her father and didn’t speak a word to him (226).

My question to my second classmate was, how would you feel if someone you loved didn’t show any love back at you? My partner responded saying that they would be upset because that’s someone you love but also would understand. They said they would understand because if they made their life really difficult as a kid then it would be right to do so. I agree with my partners response because she has the right to be upset after growing up poor and her father spending most of his money on alcohol. One way I would respond to this is by forgiving my father for what he has done in the past. The last problem I have chosen is when Brian believed mom and dad needed to be forced to be self sufficient or they will dependent on the children forever. The question I asked my classmate was what would you do if your parents always relied on you?

My class mate responded by stating that they wouldn’t mind if it was to a certain extent. If they parents kept relying on me a lot then it would be a problem. I agree with this statement that my classmate said because if my parents relied on me I wouldn’t mind unless they are constantly doing it. My response to my partner are similar because we both agreed that are parents could rely on us only at a certain extent. In all, The Glass Castle has a lot of important themes that ties into together making it a really compelling book. 

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Themes in The Glass Castle. (2021, Aug 27). Retrieved from