Glass Castle Essay

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In the book “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls poverty goes deeper than just low income. Even while Jeannette’s parents had money coming in, they struggled to support their family properly. They went hungry, had no electricity, or even indoor plumbing, so this proposes the question can poverty be caused by more than just low income? Do people actually want to live in poverty? For Jeannette’s parents it sure seems that way.

Rex Walls had grown up in a poverty stricken town of Welch. He grew up in “big worn house” on the “downhill side of the street” (Walls 130). It smelled of “mold and cigarettes and unwashed laundry” (Walls 131). However Rose Mary Walls grew up in a very structured home in Texas where her mother made her follow rules and attend college classes to become a teacher. So when Rose Mary grew up and moved away she wanted to live a life opposite of what her mother wanted, she became a free spirit. When on the other hand poverty was all Rex had ever known. I believe this is the major factor that contributed to the Walls’ family being in poverty.

Besides growing up in a poverty stricken home and town Rex also grew up with a mother who was an Alcoholic. We find this out when Jeannette tells us about the time she first met Erma and she “ pulled a bottle of whiskey from the pocket of her housedress” (walls 131). She also talks about how she could smell whiskey on her Uncle Stanley’s breath the first time he hugged her. This was the life Rex Walls was accustomed to and so therefore he was comfortable with it. He saw nothing wrong with taking money from his family to go waste in on alcohol because he always some how pulled through for them. The perfect example of this is when Rose Mary left for the summer for college courses and left Jeanette in charge of the money. The first few weeks went well and Jeanette had managed to make a budget and keep food on the table, then Rex had asked her for money. First it was just five dollars, then another...
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