Non- Fiction Literary Analysis
“We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children of the future.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
Adults play a major role as parents: shaping the future of their child’s life. The parents of the children in Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, Richard Rodriguez’s Black Boy, and Sonya Sones’ Stop Pretending have a large impact on their child’s life. Although the parents use very different ways of teaching their children, the children were resilient enough to become strong, successful adults.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls describes parents playing a negative role in the young girl’s life. Walls, an innocent three year old, was completely oblivious to the abuse she was being put though at such a young age. The nurses were well aware of the abuse. They asked questions like “Have your parents ever hurt you?” and “Why do you have all these bruises and cuts?”(Walls 10) When she replied, “my parents never hurt me” the nurses were skeptical of the younger girl’s calmness. (Walls 10) “The doctor said I was lucky to be alive. They took patches of skin from my upper thigh and put them over the most badly burn parts of my stomach, ribs and chest” leads the reader to the conclusion that the burn was very severe. (Walls 10) The daughter was put through many episodes of abuse. On their way to a new home, Wall’s was catapulted from the car. Thinking nothing of it, she “crawled along the railroad embankment to the road and sat down to wait for Mom and Dad to come back.” (Walls 30) Many thoughts ran through her head including the family “not knowing she was missing” or that they decided “that it wasn’t worth the drive back to retrieve” her. (Walls 30) The parents showed up and were able to comfort her and make her believe they care for her by making jokes. Their sweet remarks were able to brain wash her, causing her to be as gullible as ever.
Sonya Sones’ Stop Pretending displays the life or a young girl dealing with her sister’s mental breakdown. Though physical abuse wasn’t the case in her situation, she still had been put through a difficult time. She was left alone and in charge of herself. She described her mother saying “one day she was my mom, so reliable and good in a crisis, the next she was a stranger standing still with her hands clamped over her mouth and her eyes squeezed shut, not even breathing” and her father with “one day he was my dad, so calm and quiet and in control, the next he was a stranger dragging my big sister away from the door, up the stairs, screaming so loud that my ears stung.” (Sones 1) She felt so lost in her own home, not knowing her own family. She wondered “what these three people were doing in my house and I shouted that they had to stop even though I wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers” referring to them as complete strangers. (Sones 1) She was left alone with her sister while her “parents just say a quick hello and leave me alone with her while they go down the hall to their therapy session.” (Sones 7) Her non-fiction book seems to have been written because there was nobody for her to talk to. This book was her way of expressing her feelings.
In Richard Wright’s Black Boy, life was very difficult. Though he thought of his mother as being very evil, “but my mother… retaliated with an assault upon my sensibilities that crushed me with the moral horror involved in taking a life,” she really shaped him very well. (Wright 12) She told Wright “you didn’t stand by that kitten, so why should I stand by you?” allowing the reader to realize she was highly moral and concerned with the goodness and badness of her son. (Wright 13) As he grew older, he had to be responsible and walk to the grocery store alone. The boys jumping him for his money scared him, but the mother taught him he was stronger than they are. He told her he was getting beat up and she kept sending him to the store, passed the boys with money. “Presently she returned with more money and another note; she also had a long heavy stick.” (Wright 17) She wanted her son to fight his own battles, and that he did, “that night I won the right to the streets of Memphis.” (Wright 18) Growing up in such poverty, Richard Wright did not have much. His mother made such a huge positive impact on his life, whether he knew it or not. She really did all she could to make her son the best he could be.
The parents of the children in Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, Richard Rodriguez’s Black Boy, and Sonya Sones’ Stop Pretending were positive and negative impacts on their children. In most situations, the children were oblivious to the way their parents were teaching their lessons. Being so young, they never thought of being successful adults. Due to their hard work and resilience, they were able to become bright adults.