The Glass Castle – Chapter Notes
Chapter I – A Woman on the Street
(3) Jeannette is on her way to a party when she notices her mother rummaging through garbage. They’re in New York City. They haven’t seen each other in months. Jeannette has a secret of some kind. Jeannette is married.
(4) She lives on Park Avenue living a high style life while her parents are looking for warmth on the city streets.
“I’d tried to make a home for myself here, tried to turn the apartment into the sort of place where the person I wanted to be would live. But I could never enjoy the room without worrying about my Mom and Dad huddled on a sidewalk grate somewhere. I fretted about them, but I was embarrassed by them, too, and ashamed of myself for wearing pearls and living on Park Avenue while my parents were busy keeping warm and finding something to eat.”
(5) Her parents insisted to her that they are living the life they wanted to live. Poverty is a theme. Jeannette is ashamed of her parents and is trying to help make their life something that not only they can be proud of but also that she can be proud of to call her family. Her mother believes Jeannette’s values are confused.
Chapter II – The Desert
(9) Jeannette has a younger brother names Brian. At the age of 3, she caught fire when cooking hot dogs and allowed the flames to climb her dress up to her face.
(11) She also has a sister, Lori. Being in the hospital, Jeannette was seeing things work differently in the hospital than in her trailer.
“Everyone spoke in polite, calm voices. It was so hushed you could hear the nurses’ rubber-soled shoes squeaking all the way down the hall. I wasn’t used to quiet and order, and I liked it.”
(11-12) “One day a nurse with wavy yellow hair and blue eye makeup was chewing on something. I asked her what it was, and she told me it was chewing gum. I had never heard of chewing gum, so she went out and got me a whole pack… When she brought me lunch, she told me I had to take out my chewing gum, but she said not to worry because I could have a new stick after eating. If I finished the pack, she would buy me another. That was the thing about the hospital. You never had to worry about running out of stuff like food or ice or even chewing gum. I would have been happy staying at the hospital forever.” Poverty. Jeannette is suggesting that she does have to worry about running out of food at home which is why she likes staying at the hospital.
(13) “The doctor said the bandages were necessary to prevent infection. Dad stared at the doctor. ‘To hell with infection,’ he said. He told the doctor that I was going to be scarred for life because of him, but, by God, I wasn’t the only one who was going to walk out of there scarred.” Foreshadowing violence?
Jeannette’s relationship with her parents is an emerging theme because this quote shows they care about her appearance more than her well-being.
(14) I’m suspecting that Rex’s loyalty to his family is going to be in jeopardy and that they’re going to be disappointed by him in the future when he says to Jeannette alone…
“You just trust your old man,” Dad said.
(15) She grew stronger from events that happened in her life. Her parents wouldn’t let her live in fear of anything. She had an obsession with fire.
(16) I think she wanted others to be as strong as she is which is why she accidentally melted Tinkerbelle. Symbolism for what?
(17) “Don’t I always take care of you?” Loyalty, trust and disappointment are themes that are going hand in hand throughout the story.
(18) Their parent’s names are Rex and Rose Mary. They have the mentality of not getting attached to things. Rex wanted a different lifestyle so, he made his family pack up and move. When Jeannette forgot Tinkerbelle, he didn’t turn back. Since the cat didn’t travel well, and those who didn’t like to travel weren’t invited, he threw Quixote the cat out the window. When Jeannette cried, her mom said,...
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