The Glass Castle Personal Essay

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The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is an extremely shocking novel in that even it weren’t true the events in the story would still be shocking, but the fact that it is true makes it that much more disturbing. In the book Jeannette is on more than one occasion, a victim of sexual abuse. Although there is one event in particular that I found exceptionally troubling. And that is when Jeannette and her family are in their upper class house in Phoenix and innocently leave their doors and windows open. One night, random perverts sneak into their home and sexually assault the children. And it wouldn’t be so bad if Jeannette didn’t play it off as though it were nothing. She almost makes it seem like barely mentioning when she says that “...I was awakened by someone running his hands over my private parts”(103). And the man who assaulted her had a book “with pictures of boys and girls wearing only underpants”(103).

From the eyes of someone like I, who can make no connection with perverts other than the horrific news stories of rape and murder I occasionally hear about, this event is tremendously disturbing. When I read this part of the book I thought she was in mortal danger. I’ve never actually heard of someone sexually assaulting a child without it involving some sort of murder or kidnapping. It really goes to show she is familiar with perverts and wrongfully – or rightfully I’m not really sure – does not feel an extreme panic type of danger when dealing with pedophiles.

This event teaches Jeannette what is really worth worrying about. After Rex and Jeannette go out she realizes this is like hunting Demon, “...except the enemy was real and dangerous instead being the product of a kid’s overactive imagination.(103)” And it goes to show that a big reason why Jeannette is so mature and matures so quickly is due to the fact of her constant experience of traumatizing events and moments of extreme danger.
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