The Glass Castle: a Case Study

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The Glass Castle: A Case Study

The book, The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls gives an intimate look at her family. The Walls family does not fit society’s expectations of normal, functional or healthy behavior. Nurses are particularly interested in assisting families in similar situations. This paper evaluates the Walls family as they interact with each other and their community. Nursing activities which may be of value to the Walls family are proposed and explored.

The Walls family consists of six people, Rex, Rose Mary, and their four children, Lori, Jeannette, Brian, and Maureen. The author of the book, Jeannette, objectively describes her dysfunctional family. She reflects on detrimental circumstances without holding back details. While the mood is troubling and sad, it is also continually hopeful. The book demonstrates the love and adoration children have for their parents in spite of their faults and the personal growth that can be attained through hardship. Alcoholism is an ineffective coping mechanism for Rex Walls. When sober, he captures his children’s imaginations and teaches them to embrace life fearlessly. While under the influence, his judgment is greatly impaired and puts his family at risk for injury. During one episode of inebriation, he chases his pregnant wife through the desert in the family car. Another time, he encourages Jeannette to accompany an intoxicated man to his apartment. He completely disregards the family finances by using what little they have to go drinking. He also experiences ineffective coping related to inadequate methods of dealing with stressful situations. This is evidenced by his habit of “skedaddling” or basically fleeing any situation that he is uncomfortable with. Rose Mary “retreated to her sofa bed and stayed there for days on end, crying and occasionally throwing things at us. She could have been a famous artist by now, she yelled, if she hadn’t had children, and none of...
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