The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Glass Castle

Plot Summary Part 3

She suspects that's why her Dad left home at an early age--too much premature family p_nis touching.

Jeannette 's family bought a very broken down home. It was perched on top of a steep hill and it was falling apart. It had no toilet in the house. For beds they used suspended ropes lined with cardboard. The kitchen was not properly insulated so one could get electric shocks unless your hands were wrapped in rags or socks. The roof had a big hole so it rained in the kitchen. Her Dad, who claimed he was the master builder who would build the Glass Castle, never tried to fix the roof.

He talked constantly about creating the Glass Castle but did nothing about it. So Jeannette and her brother dug a big foundation for their new home. When her Dad found out, however, he instructed them to dump their garbage into it (they didn't have the money to pay for garbage removal). When Jeannette asked how they would build the Glass Castle if they put the garbage in the new foundation, her Dad assured her it was only temporary. Needless to say, it wasn't, and it was just another indicator that the Glass Castle would never be built. Jeannette's mother also was unconcerned with having a giant garbage pit next to the home.

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The family had to fight a giant rat in the kitchen. Jeannette's mother felt sorry for the rat, saying rats had to eat too. Once again, she was entirely unsympathetic.

Jeannette slept with a baseball bat to fight off rats.

She wanted to improve the home and she found some yellow paint. So she painted the house yellow but ran out of paint halfway, so they lived in a broken down house that was half painted yellow, which made it look even worse. But at least Jeannette was trying to improve things--her parents were not.

Jeannette and her brother and sister got into a lot of fights because they were the poor kids and got picked on.

"Kids wanted to fight us because we had red hair, because Dad was a drunk, because we wore rags and didn't take as many baths as we should have, because we lived in a falling down house that was partly painted yellow and had a pit filled with garbage..."

One time Jeannette's Dad came home with a giant bleeding head wound, so deep she could see his skull. He insisted she take a needle and a thread and sew up his head. Horrified, Jeannette did so. The pain didn't seem to bother her father. He disappeared for days at a time and reappeared, sometimes with food but more often drunk. Sometimes they had to eat cat food to survive.

One time they ate nothing but ham for a week, but since they didn't have a refrigerator, by the end of the week it had white worms coming out of it. Her mother advised her to cut around the worms.

Jeannette continued to steal discarded food from the lunchroom at school. She was embarrassed to be seen doing this but she was very hungry.

One time when she went home she found her mother secretly eating chocolate bars. This enraged the starving Jeannette and she took one of her mother's chocolate bars.

Because they didn't have money for coal to heat the house, it got very cold inside. There was no insulation and icicles formed inside the home, and the sink and faucets froze up in the winter. They all wore coats around the house. Everyone wanted to sleep with the dogs to preserve body warmth. When Jeannette went to a friend's house and saw a thermostat for the first time, she marveled at the idea that temperature could be set inside a home.

Jeannette took baths at her Uncle Stanley's house but one time he started touching her thigh with one hand while opening his pants with his other hand and masturbating. Jeannette complained to her mother but her mother only shrugged and said that sexual assault was a crime of perception. "so many women make such a big deal out of these things. But you're stronger than that."

The house continued to fall apart. The soil around the house started to erode making it more likely the entire house would slide down the hill. More holes appeared in the roof and it started raining in the bedrooms. Her brother Brian had to sleep with a tarp over him during rainy nights. Green mold spread over the house as well as little mushrooms.

The porch started to rot and family members fell through it. But Jeannette's mother and father did nothing about fixing any of this. It wasn't just a money issue; they just had no motivation to improve their own lives or the lives of their children. Jeannette's mother's solution to the bathroom problems was to put a bucket in the kitchen for people to shit in.

One time Jeannette found an expensive diamond ring. She wanted to sell it for food but Jeannette's mother decided to keep it instead; she said it helped her self-esteem, and self-esteem was more important than food.

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