February 2, 2012
The novel The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, is a literary thrill ride brought to you through the eyes of Jeanette as she matures from a child to adulthood. While reading, you are introduced to a number of volatile issues taking place on a daily basis within the Walls family. Whether it is Rex’s severe alcohol and gambling addiction, or Rose Mary’s slight incoherence and immaturity. Either way, Jeanette delivers these occurrences for the most part from the naïve standpoint of a child. However, there are some far more substantial themes and symbols taking place within the novel. These themes require a little more critical thought, and aren’t directly delivered to the reader. One of these themes being the heavy emphasis placed on the glass castle, and also metaphorically what it signifies to Jeanette and her father, Rex. Through extensive deliberation and thought, the meaning of the glass castle becomes clear. It stands for the contrast between how Jeanette views her father, and how everyone else sees him. The idea of the glass castle in itself is the idolized version of Rex that Jeanette sees, while the reality of it never being completed, represents the views that everyone else has.
Throughout the novel there are multiple instances that show the strong love and trust Jeanette feels for her father. A bond that remains strong, even when other member’s of the family have lost some of that trust. This contrast of emotions can best be described through various quotes given throughout the novel.
“In my mind, Dad was perfect, although he did have what mom called a bit of a drinking situation” (Walls 23). This is one of the first occasions where the reader is introduced to the contrasting feelings about Rex that members of the Walls family have. Jeannette, despite already knowing that her father has a drinking problem at a young age, still feels that her father can do no wrong. This sets the...