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The Effect of Childhood on a Person’s Life in "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls

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A person’s’ childhood can be the reason for how they end up in life. This was the case for Jeannette Walls. In the memoir, Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, the Walls’ kids are forced to go through an unconventional childhood. They have to deal with their alcoholic father Rex, and their bipolar mother Rosemary. The family always ends up moving in the middle of the night, moving from California to Arizona and later to West Virginia. The Walls’ children decide to move to New York in an attempt to stay away from their parents and start a new life. By having parents like Rex and Rosemary, Jeannette is able to benefit form the distinctive type of parenting she is introduced to while growing up. One unique way of raising their children is when, Rex teaches Jeannette how to swim by throwing her into the water until she eventually figures it out.

Jeannette is always tossed into circumstances that she isn’t up for, and she continuously survives. Rex uses his own unique way to teach his daughter how to swim: “If you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim”. Rex does this to potentially help his children persevere through their problems. Jeannette’s entire youth can be summed up to this point when her Dad ‘instructs’ her to swim. This moment is a perfect example of how Rex treated and cared for his children. Many times Rex puts his children into situations that they will not been able to handle, and he expects them to prevail from these circumstances. Rex’s teachings of perseverance helped Jeannette to have the ability to fight through her problems, and in the end she ends up becoming successful from these teachings.

Jeannette shows determination and creativity when she decides to make her own braces.

Jeannette comes from an insane family, so it’s only natural that sometimes her determination will seem like crazy. No “regular” child would make their own braces but Jeannette shows her persistence and imagination when she does so without anybody’s help: “I decided to make my own braces.” Once again Rex’s teachings are used to benefit Jeannette. From always being taught as a child to be responsible for your yourself, Jeannette is able to go out on her own and learn how to make herself braces. The characteristics that the kids picked up in their childhood are the main reasons for how they ended up in the future.

The Walls’ children have benefited in their own way form how they were raised. They were taught to be responsible, self-sufficient, and to protect each other. If it was not for Rex and Rosemary then most of the kids would not have been successful. The kids strived from the hardships and tough childhood that they went through. Their childhood made them tougher and caused them to work harder for what they wanted. In the end, Jeannette does become the woman she is because of her childhood.

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The Effect of Childhood on a Person’s Life in “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from
“The Effect of Childhood on a Person’s Life in “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls.” GradesFixer, 18 Mar. 2021,
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