Glass Castle

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Austin Thomas Due 9/4/13
The Glass Castle Essay

Family Matters: Values and What We Learn
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is an autobiography spanning from the author's childhood to her second marriage. A common theme in the story is the family values and philosophy, which seem to permeate the novel and influence the children as well. The philosophy of the family seems to be very loose and does not seem to have any true grounding aside from the non-extravagant lifestyle. The philosophy changes in that the children of the family begin to adapt their own philosophies apart from their parents. While the parents stay relatively the same, including Mom's laid back attitude and disregard for anyone's safety, including her own. As the reader, the parents' philosophy seems radical and not something truly worth following. \\

One of the first examples of this laid back attitude is at the very beginning of the book when Jeannette burns herself cooking hot dogs. Jeannette's mother asks the neighbor for a ride in order to get Jeannette to the hospital because her father was out at the time. When she goes to the neighbor, she is said to speak in “an unnaturally calm voice” whereas the neighbor reacts almost instantly and “dropped her clothespins and laundry right there in the dirt and, without saying anything, ran for her car.” (Walls, 9) The concern shown by this complete stranger should be alarming to the reader, because the mother is so nonchalant about the serious injuries her daughter had. To the observer, it was very obvious that she didn't show any concern for her daughter, and it seemed as though it was more of a labor to take her daughter to the hospital. The family also has a very direct way of facing fears and learning lessons. Jeannette's father thought that she should “face down her enemy” and showed her how to pass her finger through fire and she becomes so fascinated with fire that she watches whenever the neighbors burn their trash. (Walls, 15)...
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