Jeannette changes over the course of the novel tremendously, and she uses acceptance to obtain the fact that life is not as successful as it could be. In the book The Glass Castle there are many instances where the family has a problem and they have to accept the fact that life is going to change. Doing this guides them through their hardships so that they are able to move on faster. Despite the fact that Jeannette has an unstable home and family, she accepts her drunk father, poor family, and her struggling mom, which shows that inner strength is essential to overcome dilemmas.
First, Jeannette and her family have struggled with the fact that their dad is an alcoholic, so they all come together to accept and love him. However, Jeannette and her whole family were embarrassed when dad was challenging the priest yet they continued to listen to the sermon. Their mom stated, “‘Don’t worry, God understands,’ Mom said. ‘He knows that your father is a cross we must bear,’”(105). Her mom is proving that even though the dad might be drunk a considerable amount, and might say something stupid, they still accept him for who he is.
She used a metaphor in this quote, and it is also a biblical allusion to portray that Rex is a sin that we must deal with. Jeannette has been in many instances where her dad has gotten drunk, but she has never gotten insulted for being the daughter of an alcoholic, so when she does get offended she decides to stand up for her dad. The driver hurtfully said, ? For the daughter of the town drunk, you sure got big plans,? he said. ?Stop the truck,? I said. ?We can make it on our own from here? (183).
As a result of expressing her emotion the reader can tell that Jeannette takes this extremely hurtful, so standing up for her dad shows that she is not just accepting the fact that her dad is the town drunk, but fighting for her dad. This section of the book shows how much Jeannette’s dad means to her, and also that she is willing to stand up for him even though he is not aware of it. Even though Jeannette, Lori, Brian, and their mom had just gone out and gotten presents for everyone in the family, dad once again came home drunk and couldn’t control himself so he set the tree on fire.
Jeanette claimed, Once the fire was out and the sodden, burned tree lay smoldering on the floor, we all just stood there. No one tried to wring Dad’s neck or yell at him or even point out that he’d ruined the Christmas his family had spent weeks planning-the Christmas that was supposed to be the best we’d ever had? (115). Jeannette is describing that even though Rex ruined Christmas and made a big mess, the rest of the family cleaned up the mess and went into their own room and shut down for the remainder of the night. She used personification when she explained to us that there was no hope to fix the tree so they would just have to accept it and move on.
Many of Jeanette’s difficult situations have been created because she has had to deal with her drunk dad, but she continues to accept him which proves that acceptance is a key factor to overcome dilemmas. Additionally, the Wallses are not the richest family there is, so when overcoming a dilemma Jeannette uses acceptance to defeat it. For instance, the family was living in Welch and went through a cold strike, were not able to afford a trip to the laundromat to use the washer and dryer, so they washed their clothes in the sink then hung them outside to dry.
Jeanette said, “We brought the clothes inside-the socks had hardened into the shape of question marks, and the pants were so stiff you could lean them up against a wall-and we banged them against the stove, trying to soften them up. ‘At least we don’t have to buy starch,’ Lori said,” (177). Despite the fact that all the kids clothes have froze, and cannot afford to go to the laundromat, they still have a positive attitude about it when they say “at least we don’t have to buy starch. ” Jeannette used imagery when she describes the socks and pants because she wanted the reader to create a picture in their head of what they’re going through.
The Walls’s had owned many run-down cars, the Oldsmobile was by far the worst, so when they were driving to Welch it took them longer than planned. Jeanette explained, “That Oldsmobile was a clunker from the moment we bought it. The first time it conked out, we were still an hour shy of the New Mexico border… Dad got it running-‘more like limping,’ he said-but it never went any faster than fifteen or twenty miles an hour”(129). It becomes obvious to the reader that they were not able to afford a decent car because the first time that it broke down they were not even far into their trip.
She used personification when saying “more like limping” to stress how bad it was that the Oldsmobile wasn’t even “running” it was “limping. ” Furthermore, even though they had a bad car they sucked it up and moved on for the rest of the trip to Welch. Throughout Jeannette’s whole entire life, her family has not been able to afford much enjoyable food, so when they do get bad food they learn to eat what is edible and cut off the rest. Jeanette complained, “‘Mom, the ham’s full of maggots,’ I said. ‘Don’t be so picky,’ she told me. ‘Just slice off the maggoty parts. The inside’s fine’”(172).
Jeannette wanted to make it noticed that they did not have exceptional food because they were not able to afford satisfying, nutritious food, but they did not let that get to them and they kept eating. This passage shows how desperate the Wallses are for any food, so they have to summon all their courage and strength to eat the ham even though it is full of maggots. Through all the shortages of food they have gone through, the Wallses have developed a mindset where they stay strong and accept that they do not have filling food, which helps them defeat tough situations.
Eventually, Jeanette’s mom is living in New York City and is struggling to find a home and a job, but she learns to accept that and tries to think positively. Finally, when Jeannette is living in New York City, she invites her mom over to talk about ways that she could earn money to buy a house. However, when Jeannette talks about selling the land in Texas, and moving back to Phoenix, she refuses to consider any of the ideas that Jeannette had explained. Mom explained, “‘I’m saving that for a rainy day,’” “‘Mom, it’s pouring. ”
“‘This is just a drizzle, she said. Monsoons could be ahead! ’” (259). Saying this quote informs us that the mom has a strong, positive attitude, she also thinks that her life in New York City is not too bad and that her life could be/get much worse. Because Jeannette wrote this quote we now realize that her mom has accepted the fact that her life isn’t the best, and that she has moved on from that and is now trying to live happily. Fortunately, Jeanette’s mom does not seem like the person to lie, so when she starts to hide food from her family everyone is shocked to find out that she is.
Jeanette described, “Lying on the mattress next to mom was one of those huge family-sized Hershey chocolate bars, the shiny silver wrapper pulled back and torn away. She’d already eaten half of it”(174). Although she was hiding a candy bar from them, Jeannette wrote this to show us that after that they still accept their mom for being addicted to sugar just like they accept their dad for being addicted to alcohol. When Jeannette says “huge family-sized Hershey bar,” and “shiny silver wrapper pulled back and torn away,” she is using imagery to try to get us to picture what her mom is eating, and how they react about her eating it.
In spite of everything, her mom and Lori have always gotten along with each other, so at the end of the book, through all the dreadful experiences they’ve had, they still have a special bond. Jeanette stated, “Instead of an overcoat, she was wearing what looked to be about four sweaters and a shawl, a pair of corduroy trousers, and some old sneakers. She carried bulky shopping bags in both hands. Lori, behind her, wore a black cape and a black fedora”(285). Jeannette is notifying us of the differences between the mom, and Lori and how different they became from the start, but also how they’re still happy together.
Using a juxtaposition between the clothes their mom and Lori wear shows the reader she is struggling to even find durable clothes and Lori is an accomplished, and sophisticated women. Although their struggling mom can be difficult to control, they accept her for who she is, which helps all of them get along better so that they can work as a team to conquer hardships they face in life. Ultimately, regardless of the fact that Jeanette lives in a world where everything is unpredictable, anything that comes her way she faces with acceptance, which guides her through tough situations.
Dealing with her drunk dad can be hard, but taking him as he is, and having faith in him can lead to a better bond between them. Additionally, a poor lifestyle can cause many families to break down, but the way the Wallses choose to live is by accepting their habits so that they are able to progress together. Lastly, coping with an unstable mother can lead to an unstable family, and the kids do not want that to happen so they accept their mom and guide her through backbreaking moments. As can be seen in the book, using acceptance can lead to a successful relationship with others such as friends and family.