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Adversity Essay on the Glass Castle

  • Date Submitted: 05/05/2016 12:08 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 49.1 
  • Words: 853
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Jeanette Walls’ memoir, The Glass Castle, chronicles Jeanette’s unconventional childhood characterized by persistent poverty and the chaos and confusion of dysfunctional parents and their nomadic lifestyle. What is remarkable about Jeanette’s story is that although Jeanette’s parents were irresponsible, neglectful and careless, they did manage to instill in their children key commendable qualities and raise well-adjusted adults. Jeanette’s parents taught their children to be resilient, independent and to have a love of learning. These are invaluable gifts that last a life time and breed success.

All obstacles, especially those encountered as a child, are opportunities to develop flexibility and resilience. The Walls children learnt from a very young age to depend on each other for their most basic needs because both their parents were self-absorbed and distracted by their own interest. Jeanette’s father, Rex, was a chronic alcoholic and her mother, Rose-Mary, was obstinately over-focused on her own hobbies; painting, reading and writing. Both parent although they severely neglected their children, genuinely loved them, and the children were happy despite their day to day struggles with poverty, neglect and hardships. The Walls’ children adapted to their environment and circumstances of having dysfunctional adults as parents by reversing roles with them. The children joined together to help their parents to function outside the home. This reversal of roles is evident when the children forced their mother to take on a teaching position. When the principal threated to fire her, because she was consistently unreliable, the children took charge of making sure their mother could manage to stay employed. Jeanette reminisced “Miss Beatty threated to fire mom, so Lori, Brian and I, started helping mom with school work. (Walls 74) The children took on the role to wake, feed, clothe and organize a ride to and from school for their mother and also went as far as, cleaning...


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