In “The Glass Castle” we see many different possibilities pertaining to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We see the father, Rex and one of the daughters, Maureen, who fall victim to Maslow. Then there’s Jeanette and the mother, Rose Mary who have both seemed to achieve self-actualization regardless of their hardships. Traditionally, Maslow’s Hierarchy is thought to be achieved by working up from the bottom of the pyramid to get to the top. However, in “The Glass Castle” this is not particularly true. All the characters mentioned in this essay lacked safety and security, love and belonging, and psychological needs at some point during the novel. How they handled this though varies. “The Glass Castle” gives you a different view on this topic altogether. We see that whether or not Maslow’s Hierarchy is achieved, depends solely on the individual themselves.
The character we most clearly see represent Maslow is the father, Rex Walls. Throughout the book we see Rex battle alcohol addiction and struggle to provide for his family. When the family moves to Welch we learn that Rex was probably abused as a child which leads us to believe this is the source of his alcohol addiction. Since Rex never achieved the safety, and love and belonging chunks of Maslow, he was never able to reach his full potential. He always spoke of dreams, but never had determination to back them up. “But since we couldn’t afford to pay the town’s trash-collection fee, our garbage was really piling up. One day Dad told us to dump it in the hole. “But that’s for the Glass Castle,” I said. “It’s a temporary measure,” Dad told me.” (Walls 155). By seeing his dreams fall through, we can assume Rex never achieved self-actualization. Rex is never able to let his demons from his past go, causing him to never reach his full potential.
Another character we see never reach their full potential, is Maureen. Like her father Maureen is not able to let go of her past. Maureen was often neglected as...
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