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Free Study Guide for The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

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GUIDE FOR THE GLASS CASTLE BY JEANETTE WALLS

PART FOUR - NEW YORK CITY

SECTION SIX (Pages 262-263)

Summary

Dad gets out of the hospital after six weeks, the longest time heís stayed sober since they lived in Phoenix. A hospital administrator gets him a job at an upstate resort with room and board. He takes it, but Mom refuses to go with him, calling that part of the state the sticks. Dad goes alone and loves living there. However, as soon as it turns cool again, Mom convinces him that sleeping with someone in cold weather is easier than sleeping alone. So Dad returns to New York and promptly begins drinking again.

Lori now works as an illustrator for a comic book company, Jeannette still attends college, Maureen lives with Lori and is in high school, and Brian is a warehouse foreman and is serving on the auxiliary police force until he can take the police entrance exam. So Mom suggests they all celebrate Christmas together at Loriís apartment. Jeannette purchases an antique gold cross for Mom and all kinds of warm clothes for Dad. The things their parents buy the kids are, for the most part, broken junk. Dad becomes angry when he opens Jeannetteís presents. He comments that she must be very ashamed of your old man and that she must think heís some sort of charity case. Then he storms out. Mom explains that she bought her father nice things while all he had to bring her was junk. His pride is hurt, because heís the one supposed to be taking care of his children. None of those ideas fill Momís head, however; she loves presents.


Notes

Just when the behavior of Rex and Rose Mary cannot be any more ironic and strange, they do something else to just make the reader shake her head: Mom convincing Dad to come back to New York, knowing he will start drinking again and Dad becoming angry because Jeannetteís generous gifts remind him he has never taken care of his children they way they deserved.


SECTION SEVEN (Pages 264-265)

Summary

Dad and Mom are beginning the third year of homelessness, and Jeannette has come to accept that this is the way it is going to be. Mom blames it all on the city. ďThey make it too easy to be homeless. If it was really unbearable, weíd do something different.Ē

In August, Dad calls to go over her course selection sheet with her, but Jeannette tells him sheís dropping out. She explains that sheís $1000 short of her tuition money with no hopes of having it on time. A week later, Dad calls Jeannette and asks her to meet him at Loriís apartment. When she arrives, he empties a bag on the table and it is filled with hundreds of dollars adding up to $950. Also in one of the bags is a mink coat and he figures she can pawn it for at least $50. He had won it all playing poker. So for her final year at Barnard, Jeannette makes the payment with Dadís wadded, crumpled bills.

Notes

In spite of his refusal to accept her gift, Dadís sense of pride is righted when he can pull together the money Jeannette needs for college.


SECTION EIGHT (Pages 266-268)

Summary

A month after Dad pays her tuition, Mom calls with the news that they have found a place to live. Itís an old abandoned building where squatters live, and they love it. They invite Jeannette over for a visit, and as she looks around the place, she canít help but notice that it is almost exactly like 83 Little Hobart Street in Welch. It makes her want to bolt, but Mom and dad are clearly proud. The people who live in the building have access to electricity thanks to Dadís ability to hot-wire the whole system for free. These people also have been living homeless for a long time, and so Rex and Rose Mary have finally come home.

Jeannette graduates from Barnard that spring, but even though she wants Dad to come, she tells him she canít risk that heíll get drunk and try to debate the commencement speaker. The magazine where she works has offered her a full-time job, and her boyfriend named Eric offers to allow her to move in with him on Park Avenue. When she thinks about her parents, she canít help but wonder if she hasnít come home as well.

Notes

Rex and Rose Mary and their daughter are on two extreme ends of the social spectrum, but both are content with what they have accomplished.

 

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