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Ap Eng - the Glass Castle

Autor:   •  February 14, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,077 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,902 Views

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Jessica Pavlunenko

Ms. Davis

AP English

January 31st, 2012

The Glass Castle Essay

According to Leo Tolstoy, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, and the Walls' family is no exception. An abundance of irresponsibility, instability, and obvious emotional fractures in each person's emotional health has resulted in their unquestionable unhappiness. Jeannette Walls uses literary tools such as tone, mood, and imagery to bring her memories to life on the pages of The Glass Castle.

Lack of responsibility is a primary source of unhappiness for the Walls' family. Instead of the parents providing for their children, the children struggle to provide for themselves. Jeannette Walls uses tone to transform the Walls' unhappiness into something almost tangible. She creates a thick melancholy atmosphere that allows the reader to reach out and empathize with the children. She shows this, for example, in the line, "When Dad went crazy, we all had our own ways of shutting down and closing off…" There are several instances that exemplify the unhappiness caused by the Walls' parents' lack of responsibility. The first starts as promptly as the second chapter of the book. Jeannette Walls is only three years old in this chapter, yet she is cooking her own food on a hot stove. While doing this, her dress brushes the flames, and she inevitably catches on fire. As a result of her parents' carelessness, she is left badly burned and will have scars for the rest of her life. Another example of unhappiness caused by irresponsibility is when Jeannette's mother announces that she will be quitting her job, because she is going to start living her life for herself. She tells Jeannette, "Why do I always have to be the one who earns the money? You have a job. You can earn money. Lori can earn money, too. I've got more important things to do." This leaves the Walls' family, once again, scrounging for food and other necessities for survival.

Instability is also a major cause of the unhappiness that consumes the Walls family. Children need stability to nurture them while they're young. If they're constantly faced with an array of obstacles, they won't have the childhood that should be promised to them. The Walls' children are constantly flooded with things like fear, hunger, and disappointment. The parents lack the ability to provide things that should be constant in their children's lives, like shelter, food on the table, and the feeling of safety. There are so many examples in this book that expound the unhappiness this lack of stability causes. An example of this is when the reader comes across Brian and Jeannette being so hungry they find themselves digging through a dumpster to


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