The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a description about Jeannette’s childhood which she portrays with sheer imagery and figurative language that illuminates the major themes woven into the adventure of her past filled with hardships and struggles including her family problems leading Jeannette and her siblings on a different path and to a better story ahead of them.
In the beginning of her memories, Jeannette describes herself cooking hot dogs and catching fire. Fire is mentioned various times throughout the book, in page 9 “ Then the flames leaped up, reaching my face.” The flames represent fear and persistence. Using personification, Jeannette described the fire with the word “leaped”. Despite the scars, Jeannette obtained in the outcome, “ I became fascinated with it.” On page 15, the author presents an example of one of the major themes, resilience. The Joshua Tree is a symbol of resilience and Jeannette is quite similar to the way Rose-Mary describes the tree on page 38, “It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.” Rose-Mary’s resilience is being positive through the bad events that happen in the story. Resilience is a major theme that is shown throughout the book.
Forgiveness is shown repeatedly throughout the book even when it is not deserved. Jeannette did not know how to swim so her father Rex Walls threw her into the water over and over again. Page 66 Jeannette and her family went to a natural sulfur spring,“I figured he must be right,’ she forgives her father for throwing her in numerous times. On page 174 Rose-Mary was caught eating a candy bar when Jeannette and Brian had to dig through the school trash for food, Rose-Mary cried “ She told us we should forgive her the same way we always forgave Dad for his drinking.” Jeannette and her siblings were constantly forgiving their parents when their parents didn’t deserve forgiveness some of the times.
Rex and Rose-Mary try to teach their children to survive but their methods are not the best. “ I lived in a world that at any moment could erupt into fire. It was the sort of knowledge that kept you on your toes.’ Page 34, Jeannette was aware that it was a dangerous world and the words “kept you on your toes” signifies that she accepted that and might have been ready for might have happened next. “ If you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim.” On page 66 when Rex was trying to teach Jeannette how to swim, it was part of survival, Jeannette learned on her own, Rex just gave her the message she needed to learn.
Rex always asked Jeannette “Have I ever let you down?” When the more important question should have been, “ When was Rex there for his family?” The major themes resilience and forgiveness are shown throughout all the characters in their own way. The author uses imagery and figurative language to illuminate the two major themes in The glass Castle, forgiveness and resilience.
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