The Glass Castle is a brilliant memoir following the story of the young author, Jeannette Walls. She writes a revealing look into her uniquely vibrant and deeply dysfunctional family. Constantly short on cash and food, the family moves around the country frequently and tries to re-settle. Threw the families hardships, the family carries hope that one day they will build their Glass Castle. This books title is symbolic of the overall book in its whole, and takes up a large amount of the author’s life in the process.
The title of the book and a major theme within it, the Glass Castle is perceived differently between different characters in the book. To her Father it represents his hope for a magical, fantastic life in which he can provide for his family and please his children. “All of Dad’s engineering skills and mathematical genius were coming together in one special project: a great big house he was going to build for us in the desert” (Walls 25).
Jeannette has faith that someday the family will strike it rich and live in a house made entirely of glass, she suggests a faith in and desire for future stability despite the lack of it in their current lives. They believe this dream not only because their Dad believes in it, but also in hopes that if he focuses on the Glass Castle he will be able to overcome his alcoholism in order to actually make it a reality. However, the very instability of the dream, the house is made of glass, which can shatter, after all; suggests its elusiveness.
... Castle Life Supported by the brawn and taxes of the peasants, ... her spinners, weavers, and embroiderers furnished clothes for the castle and rich robes for the clergy. She and her ... , the nobles attended mass in the chapel at the castle. The lord then went about his business. He first ... century, fortified manor dwellings began to give way to stone castles. Some of these, with their great outer walls and ...
As you follow Jeannette throughout the memoir you notice she is the driving spirit of her fathers ambition. “I swear, honey, there are times when I think you’re the only one around who still has faith in me, I don’t know what I’d do if you ever lost it.” (Walls 79).
Jeannette wants to believe in her father, but his troubled past coupled with his alcoholism often makes him incapable of upholding his ideals of self-sufficiency; causing a toxic environment for the rest of the family. “Let’s really light up this Christmas,” Dad said and thrust the lighter into the Douglas fir. The dried out needles caught fire immediately… he’d ruined the Christmas his family had spent weeks planning.” (Walls 115).
This is the turning point in which Jeannette realizes she must leave the family in order to make it on her own. The Glass Castle is no longer the hope Jeannette carries; she has to find it in herself.
The Glass Castle was a big part of the Walls family, although it was never built, the family traveled across the country sharing great memories through out Jeannette’s childhood. “We had some good times, didn’t we?” “We did.” “Never did build that Glass Castle.” “No. But we had fun planning it.” “Those were some damn fine plans.” (Walls 279).
At that moment Jeannette is able to truly forgive her father. The family survives and remains in touch: by letting go of the bad and celebrating the good. Each one of the family members strived for their future and in that their own Glass Castle.