Free Study Guide for The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls|
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES THE GLASS CASTLE BY JEANETTE WALLS
January is so cold that chunks of ice as big as cars float in the Hudson. On such cold nights, Mom and Dad sleep in shelters or churches neither of which is an easy place to secure a place to sleep. Dad hates the shelters, but accepts them and even sends Mom and Tinkle the dog to Lori’s if they’re forced to accept shelter and there’s only one space left.
For a while, Jeannette feels very guilty about staying in college while
Mom and Dad are on the streets. More than that, she feels incredibly selfish.
However, Lori points out that dropping out will break Dad’s heart since
he is immensely proud of his Ivy League daughter. Besides, Brian points
out all the options their parents have: move back to West Virginia or
Phoenix, sell Mom’s antique Indian jewelry, sell the two carat diamond
ring the kids had found, or sell the property in Phoenix or Texas. However,
Mom rejects all those options. She says that she’s saving those things
for a rainy day, and when Jeannette says now it’s pouring, Mom just refers
to it as a drizzle. She seems to have an answer for all of Jeannette’s
questions so Jeannette changes the subject to movies.
Once again events and conversations seem to point out that Jeannette
is right when she says that sometimes the homeless get the lives they
Mom and Dad survive the winter, but to Jeannette, they look dirtier,
more bruised, and their hair more matted. Furthermore, Dad develops TB.
He tells them not to be worried and asks if they have ever known their
old dad to get himself in a situation he couldn’t get out of. A part of
Jeannette wants to believe this, thinking he’s still invincible like the
character of himself that he used to insert into all his stories. When
she finally sees him at the hospital, he looks pale and gaunt, but has
aged very little. He introduces her to other patients on the TB ward,
and then he shows her all the books he has been reading. He has stopped
drinking since he entered the hospital and has been contemplating ideas
of mortality and the nature of the cosmos. He has become most interested
in Mitchell Feigenbaum, who says that in chaos theory, disorder actually
conforms to a rational pattern, which implies the existence of a divine
creator. Ironically, he says that if this is all true, he may have to
re-think his atheistic creed. Jeannette asks him to promise he won’t leave
the hospital until he gets better. Dad just bursts into laughter.
Dad’s illness perhaps has him contemplating his own mortality, especially given how difficult the winter has been for him and Mom.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Glass Castle".
. 09 May 2017