Free Study Guide for The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls|
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THE GLASS CASTLE PLOT NOTES BY JEANETTE WALLS
Billy tells Jeannette that if she won’t be his girlfriend that she’ll be sorry and then gives her a ring that looks suspiciously like one that her mother owns. However, she convinces herself that it just seems similar. She tells him she doesn’t want it, because she doesn’t want people thinking she’s his girlfriend. So she takes the ring, but she tells him she won’t wear it. Unfortunately, Billy tells everyone that she accepted his ring. Then, one day when all the kids in the neighborhood are playing hide and seek, Billy climbs into Jeannette’s hiding place in a small tool shed. She tells him he can’t come in, but he insists, and in the next few minutes, Billy tries to rape Jeannette. They only way she can get him to back off is to bite his ear as hard as she can. When the kids hear him scream, they come running, and it looks as if Jeannette had willingly kissed Billy and allowed him to remove her clothes. So, the next day, she takes the ring back to his house. After she leaves it with him, he picks it up, throws it at her, and yells out that he raped her. Jeannette has to check the dictionary to find out what rape means and is still unsure of what almost happened to her. However, she knows she will never ask Dad what it means like she usually would.
The next day, Lori, Brian and Jeannette are playing five-card draw when
they hear Billy call out Jeannette’s name. Lori gets up and tells Billy
to go away, but quickly comes back in and says he has a gun. It’s only
a BB gun, but Billy says that he told Jeannette she’d be sorry, and he
begins to pull the trigger over and over. Lori runs upstairs, as the others
take cover, and finds Dad’s pistol. She points it at Billy, but he says
she doesn’t have the guts to fire it. However, Lori does fire it, and
Billy disappears under the shot-out window. Jeannette then grabs the gun
and fires, hitting the ground right at Billy’s feet. He jumps about three
feet into the air and takes off running. At first, the girls laugh, but
then they become silent, their hands shaking at what they have done. A
little while later, a squad car pulls up to find out what happened. Jeannette
says it was self-defense, but the policeman insists that the whole family
will have to come to the magistrate’s office the next day to straighten
everything out. That night, Dad says the family is leaving immediately
for Phoenix. They are only allowed to bring one thing. Jeannette chooses
her rock collection, but Dad says that is more than one thing and makes
her choose only one of the rocks. Dad says their luck has run out. Jeannette
wishes it had lasted longer, because she likes Battle Mountain. “In the
pitch-black night, there is nothing to look at but the road ahead, lit
by the car’s headlights.”
This section reinforces how the luck of the Walls family has a bad habit of running out. They like living in Battle Mountain and are relatively safe and fed there. However, along comes an individual like Billy Deel who is so dissatisfied with his own life that he has to disrupt the lives of others whom he perceives have rejected him. Then, the streak of good luck runs out, and the long dark road stretches out once again ahead of them.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Glass Castle".
. 11 May 2008