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Neglectful Parenting - It's Significance in Jeannette Walls's the Glass Castle, in Society Today, and in My Life

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Neglectful Parenting: it's Significance in Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle, in Society Today, and in My Life

The Glass Castle is a memoir written by Jeannette Walls about her unique story growing up with a far from ordinary family. Jeannette's parents had 4 kids; there was Lori, Brian, Jeannette, and Maureen. Her parents, Rex Walls and Rosemary Walls, had different ideals that worked for the better in some cases, but most often were their downfall. Rex was an alcoholic that suffered terrible mood swings. When he was not out drinking at a pub or bar, he was being his usual loving, fatherly self. During these times, he passed his knowledge to the kids by teaching them geology, math, and history. Rosemary was a highly optimistic, self-oriented artist that chose to do very minimal parenting. She seemed to live in her own world in which she'd spend her days painting and left the kids to fend for themselves. What makes Jeannette's story so enthralling and relevant to today's life is that even after going through such an arduous childhood, being raised by Rex and Rosemary, she still talks about her parents with great generosity and affection. Though, at many times throughout her life she had lost much hope for them. Taken from The Glass Castle, the quote "If Francine saw the good in her father, even though most people considered him a shiftless drunk, maybe I wasn't a complete fool for believing in mine. Or trying to believe in him. It was getting harder"(pg. 168) is relevant in the book itself, in society today, and in my own life.

At this point in the story, Jeannette was reflecting back on the kinds of books she used to love reading, which were about people dealing with hardships. When she lived in Battle Mountain, Arizona, her and her siblings usually sat around and read together but now (at the time) that they were living in Welch, Virginia they did not have the same reading environment. They separated and read in their own cardboard bed. One book Jeannette particularly enjoyed reading more than others was A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith. The book is about an Irish-American family growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. The main character, Francie Nolan, shares some similarities with Jeannette such as having great admiration for her father, constantly living in poverty, and just being a hopeful, hardworking individual. Hence, Jeannette especially loved reading A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. Referring back to the quote, the reason why Jeannette felt it getting harder to believe in her father was because of his tendency to let down his family. She had always believed in her heroic father, but now his alcoholic behavioral problems were afflicting her and she felt the strain.

The quote carries relevance not only to this scene but to other scenes as well. One such scene that has relevance to the quote is at the beginning of the book when Jeannette is still talking about her father Rex, and the kind of person he was. Jeannette's words sum up how she feels for him: "In my mind, Dad was perfect, although he did have what Mom called a bit of a drinking problem" (pg. 23). Based on the wording, she reveals not only that she admired Rex, even with his flaws, but also that their Mom took his alcoholism lightly. Rosemary called it "a bit" even though it was greater than that.

Rex Walls had two different kinds of drinking phases; there was the "beer phase" and the out of control drunk phase. With the beer phase, the kids had nothing to worry about. Rex would be loud and somewhat intimidating but, nonetheless, still manageable. The out of control drunk phase was a different story. This was when Rex lost all sense of control and took it out on other people. While in this phase, Rex would always be looking for an argument, and when he got into one with Rose Mary, it would ultimately lead to him hitting her. When the kids woke up in the morning, he'd be there, but by the time the kids came home from school, he would already be out drinking again.

When taking a closer look at the main quote you will notice that Jeannette hints at her father (and mother) not always being there for her. To be non-specific, throughout the book, examples of this continually show up. This sense of abandonment would be considered parent neglect because Jeannette and her siblings are not being adequately taken care of. Rose Mary's parenting clearly demonstrates this. One specific example of the parent neglect found in the book is on page 197, when Jeannette is talking about Rosemary's unwise spending habits. "But month after month, the money would disappear before



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