A Theme of Making Peace with Past in "The Glass Castle" and "Born a Crime"

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1388 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

Words: 1388|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to make peace is to “become resolved or reconciled.” How does one feel when they find acceptance and success in the quest to make peace with a past they can’t abandon? In “The Glass Castle” and “Born A Crime,” Jeanette Walls and Trevor Noah convey different forms of making peace with their past. Jeanette needs her struggles to be heard, and Trevor lets the trauma subside. Though marginalization limits imagination, Trevor and Jeanette overstep their boundaries to exceed their potential. “Learn from your past and be better because of your past, ‘she would say,’ but don’t cry about your past. Life is full of pain. Let the pain sharpen you, but don’t hold on to it. Don’t be bitter.”

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“One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me ‘You’d be destroying what makes it special’ she said, ‘It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.” Jeanette is learning that struggling helps something grow into something more beautiful. When she moves to New York, Jeanette doesn’t want anyone to know her parents are still homeless. She doesn’t want anyone to know the life she’s lived. Jeanette Walls finally allows herself to grow sideways after trying to force herself to grow up. She has been running, trying to deny and escape her parents’ ways of living. Jeanette is trying to abandon her past. She wanted to feel persistent and aware of the identity she wished to achieve. Once she allowed herself to accept her damaged childhood, she was able to take another step forward in reconciling. “I remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don’t hold on to the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new.” Trevor feels that holding onto the trauma of an experience will ruin the rest of your days. He knew he needed to let the anguish subside. He is not saying to disregard one’s feelings, but to make an effort to move forward with your life. Don’t stop trying to find a permanent peace consolidation. Some people want their struggles heard, some want to forget, some want to move on, and others make it happen. If you’re not making attempts, you are not moving on. Over time, Jeanette Walls and Trevor Noah realized the grief and trauma were and are never worth longing.

Potential is a word that often exceeds its meaning, defining people by their ethnic, financial, and family background. Trevor Noah wants to exceed his potential, rather than letting the potential define him. He has grown up in the ghetto, but he doesn’t let the ghetto become his identity. “In America the dream is to make it out of the ghetto. In Soweto, because there was no leaving the ghetto, the dream was to transform the ghetto.” The ghetto had a high crime rate, and Trevor knew how easy it was to be accepted into crime. Afterall, crime does not discriminate. Anybody can be satisfied with the “perks” of their scheme, but Trevor felt that that was not the way to live the rest of his life. He had always been an outsider, Apartheid Law made it legal. Apartheid Law used marginalization, limiting the thought of success and imagination. It didn’t only limit adolescent imagination. It affected every race, language, and the ability to process the idea of freedom. Trevor knew there was an outside to Africa and he didn’t want to leave Africa, rather possess a grip on his future. Jeanette Walls’ childhood seemed hopeless. “No one expected you to amount to much,' she told me”. Lori was the smart one, Maureen the pretty one, and Brian the brave one. You never had much going for you except that you always worked hard.” By the time Jeanette moved to New York, she was seventeen and weary of her parents scrounging to stay alive. She learned to become her own parent when she was thirteen, budgeting and keeping “her kids” fed. Jeanette had made an effort to put forth her writing ability and become the school’s journalist. She wrote and read stories in the newspaper and felt that she could finally piece the puzzle of life together. All her life, Jeanette had been given the information her parents wanted her to know – their opinion. She no longer only knew their opinion, but the whole story. Jeanette perceived this feeling as a sense of content, a reminder that she has more than what she seems to offer.

“You’ll have a few bruises and they’ll remind you of what happened and that’s okay. But after a while the bruises fade, and they fade for a reason — because now it’s time to get up to some shit again.” “Learn from your past and be better because of your past, ‘she would say,’ but don’t cry about your past. Life is full of pain. Let the pain sharpen you, but don’t hold on to it. Don’t be bitter.” Trevor demonstrates that at some point you have to let go of your past because crying does not heal you. Don’t forget your roots, but it’s alright to come back damaged and hurt. Bruises, wounds, scars heal. He feels as though he shouldn’t have to feel bad for himself or continue feeling bad for something that will pass over. Trevor is showing the reader that now that he’s been hurt, he can do it again and avoid the stress. He knows that moving on will bring him better piece of mind. Moving on will help him develop as an individual process his own identity. He feels that if you let your past or environment define you, there would be no originality. Trevor grew up learning that self-pity would only disrupt the feeling of joy. He used the abuse and racism to as a demonstration of proving to himself that he does not need to conform to be successful. He was an outsider, but he is prosperous and thriving knowing that he does not have to worry about the lies he used to tell. Trevor is at peace. “Sometimes you need a little crisis to get your adrenaline flowing and help you realize your potential.” Jeanette has come to an understanding with her mother that she can make something amazing out of nothing. Jeanette feels as though she’d be wasting her time longing on a crisis when she could be doing so much better. She has lost faith in the idea of the glass castle her father promised her, portraying her coming of age. She has developed a tranquil environment on her own. Jeanette has finally reached a genuine period in her life where she is not trying to change her family anymore. She is not trying to change herself, only improve.

Once you’ve made peace with your “challenging” past, it’s become just your past. We do not make peace with our past for others, but to make our future work. Trevor and Jeanette were able to take their tainted past and make it successfully beautiful. They are no longer denying the childhood that seemed unbearable. Jeanette Walls and Trevor Noah learn not to rely on society to succeed, rather rely on their failure and bruises. “I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to. “What if…” “If only…” “I wonder what would have…” You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.” Trevor Noah and Jeanette Walls conclude that you haven’t come to the end if it hasn’t worked out yet.

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A Theme Of Making Peace With Past In “The Glass Castle” And “Born A Crime”. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
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