The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Glass Castle

Plot Summary Part 2

Billy tried to take off Jeannette's pants. With her hands Jeannette felt Billy's erect p_nis. She was young but somehow knew exactly where he intended to put it. She managed to escape and return his ring.

Billy got angry and showed up at her house and shot Jeannette and her sisters with a BB gun. Jeannette's body stung from the impact. So she got her father's pistol and shot Billy. Billy ran away.

Then someone came from child protective services. Evidently they had heard about the gunfight. Jeannette's Dad decided it was time they moved away. They moved to Phoenix to a house that Jeannette's mother had inherited.

It was at that time that Jeannette's sister Lori had her eyes tested and found she needed glasses. When she got them she was so excited because she could read things she couldn't before. Her neglectful parents never noticed.

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Because it was hot at night they would leave the front door open to get air. And because it was a bad neighborhood, homeless people would come in and fall asleep in their living room. One time a homeless man came into Jeannette's bed and tried to bone her. She fought back and he fled. Jeannette's parents refused to close the front door at night, they didn't want to give in to "fear".

Jeannette's Dad took Jeannette to the zoo, took her into the cheetah enclosure, and pet the cheetah and then had Jeannette do it. Jeannette's dad gave zero thought to the possibility that the Cheetah could bite off Jeannette's hand.

Jeannette was still hungry so she and her brother Brian went into garbage cans to find discarded food. When Jeannette needed dresses for school, her Mom enlisted her in a scheme to shoplift some dresses, using Jeannette to distract the storeowner while her Mom stole the clothes. Her Mom told her that this kind of theft was "justifiable".

Jeannette's Mom and Dad also embezzled money from banks, purposefully overdrawing their accounts to steal money.

Jeannette's Dad was too busy to get a job, he said he was doing undercover research into organized crime, which required him to spend time in bars. Drinking and getting drunk. That's what he was really up to, but he explained his lack of employment to his family as "investigating the Mob". When he came home drunk he smashed up furniture.

Jeannette's Mom taught Jeannette to wait until her Dad had passed out and then to steal money from his pockets.

Jeannette's Dad did crazy things when he was drunk. One time he lit their Christmas tree on fire, just for kicks, and ruined their Christmas.

Jeannette asked her father to stop drinking. He agreed and the next thing Jeannette knew, her father had himself strapped down to a bed and was screaming for several days as he was cut off from his alcohol. But when he was done, he was no longer a drunk. Of course, he started drinking again some time later.

The family went on a trip to the Grand Canyon. Jeannette's Dad wanted to see how fast the car could go and took it over 100 MPH. The car broke down, in the middle of nowhere. They were 80 miles from home. Jeannette's Dad decided they would walk home, and it would be an adventure. "An adventure" was how it was described every time the family had to suffer through something.

They left the car behind and even their possessions in the car. In fact, they didn't return for either for months.

In another incident, Jeannette's Mom and Dad have a knife fight. Then they wrestle. Then they make love. The fighting/loving combination seems to happen a lot.

The family decides to move to West Virginia to get the assistance of Jeannette's Dad's family. They move to a poor Appalachian town called Welch.

They live with Jeannette's grandmother, Erma, who clearly resents their presence there.

Erma makes Jeannette lard sandwiches for lunch.

In school, the black girls beat Jeannette up regularly.

But when Jeannette helps a black boy out, one of the black girls, named Dinitia, becomes her friend. This creates tension at home because Grandma Erma doesn't like Jeannette going to "Niggerville". Erma claims she hasn't left her house in 15 years because she does not want to see or be seen by "Niggers". When Jeannette complains about Erma's attitude, Erma sends her to bed without dinner.

One time Erma was sewing Brian's pants while Brian was wearing them, and Brian screamed because Erma was squeezing his p_nis. When Jeannette protested, Erma got enraged and they had a fist fight! Erma then told the children they would have to live in the basement from now on, and were forbidden from using the bathroom. When Jeannette told her parents what had happened, they did not believe Erma had touched Brian inappropriately.

Jeannette wonders if her Dad became an alcoholic because his mother Erma was touching his p_nis a lot as a boy.

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