Dysfunctional Family Roles
In The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, you see the different roles of a dysfunctional family being played out throughout the book.
There are six members of the Walls’ family, Rosemary, Rex, Lori, Jeanette, Brian, and Maureen. The family is obviously dysfunctional with an alcoholic father and a mother who does not want the responsibility of raising four children. Throughout the book we see the children taking on some of the basic roles of a dysfunctional family and sometimes changing roles.
The “Hero” is one who assumes a parental role or is the most successful of the family, and becomes the pride of the family. Lori is the oldest of the children and assumes the “Hero” role in the family. Lori takes care of her three younger siblings and never really causes any serious problems and always takes the responsibility of the group. Later in The Glass Castle, Jeanette becomes the “Hero” because she becomes the most successful of the group; she moves to New York City to go to college (the first of her family to attend college) and eventually becomes a successful journalist, editor, and writer.
The “Lost Child” or “Invisible Child” in the book is definitely Maureen. The “Lost Child” is the child who is quiet and almost a background character, this child is often lost to the family and doesn’t really belong anywhere. Growing up, Maureen avoids her family’s problems by simply not being there at all. She is always at a friend’s house, and never really learned to care for herself. Maureen is hardly mentioned in the book because she just was hardly there. When Maureen was home she had little to say, and you only notice her in the end of the book when she changes roles. Perhaps Maureen’s eventual mental instability is because of being passed on from family to family growing up and simply just wants someone to love and take care of her.
The “Scapegoat” is the one who takes the blame or is blamed for all of the family’s problems....
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