The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Glass Castle

Plot Summary Part 4

What a selfish bitch!

One time Jeannette complained that all they had to eat for three days was popcorn, and her mother chided her for complaining.

Jeannette told her mother to leave her father and go on welfare so they could get food to eat. Jeannette's mother said that welfare would cause psychological harm to the children, as if living in a shack and being half-starved didn't.

Jeannette's black friend Dinitia invites Jeannette to go swimming during black time. The pool is segregated into a white time and a black time. Jeannette agrees to go during black time even though she is white. When she undresses in the locker room, the black girls remark that Jeannette is growing red pubic hair around her v_gina.

Click here to see the rest of this review

The locker room was a joyous place for black girls to be lesbians. "Others had big pillowy behinds and huge swinging breasts, and they were bumping their butts together and pushing their breasts up against each other as they danced.. One of the naked ones came over and stood in front of Jeannette, her hands on her hips, her breasts so close she was terrified her nipples were going to touch her. "

Jeannette persuades her mother to get another teaching job so they can eat. Her mother agrees but is resentful for having to provide for her children. She wants to spend all her time painting.

They should have had enough money for food but they didn't. One time they only had a dollar to buy food with for two days so they bought a big block of ice cream and divided it five ways. Jeannette learned that her father took most of the money for alcohol.

Jeannette's black friend Dinitia started drinking alcohol and she got pregnant and stabbed her boyfriend and Jeannette never saw her again nor showed her her red public hair.

Jeannette decided she wanted braces for her front teeth but couldn't afford them so made braces of her own using rubber bands and a coat hanger.

Jeannette's father recruited her to help with his pool hustling. She would seduce guys by dancing with them while her father beat them at pool. At the end of one game the guy who lost to her father invited her up to his room. Jeannette's father encouraged her to go. The man tried to bone her and Jeannette barely escaped. When Jeannette told her father about it he shrugged and said she could take care of himself.

Jeannette's mother decides to quit her job so she can paint full time. She tells the kids to get jobs and take care of themselves. Jeannette tells her to act like a mother. Her mother gets angry and her father whips her for her insolence. Jeannette decides she wants to move away from home.

Jeannette was so poor that to hide the holes in her pants she painted the skin under those holes to match the color of her pants. But because she had different color pants with different holes, she had different magic marker spots on her skin in different spots.

Jeannette was saving money to help her sister Lori escape and move to New York, but her father found the money she had been saving and used it to get drunk. Jeannette was enraged, but her father was unapologetic.

Jeannette raised more money and arranged for Lori to move to New York. And when she turned 17, Jeannette did the same. Her father tried to persuade her to stay, saying he would build the Glass Castle, but Jeannette told him she was leaving, even if she had to walk to New York City. She has had enough of his lies.

When Jeannette leaves, her mother refuses to see her off, saying she knows what Jeannette looks like and doesn't need to see her one last time. She acts like she doesn't care.

When Jeannette moves to New York, she gets a job, lives in an apartment, and starts having a normal life. She lives with her sister Lori at first but eventually marries a guy named Evan, has a lot of sex, divorces him, and marries another guy. She helps her brother Brian move to New York so nearly all the children escape. The last child is Maureen who is not normal like the others. Maureen gets arrested for stabbing Jeannette's mother.

Finally Jeannette's mother and father move to New York. They are perpetually homeless. Her father dies. Her mother remains homeless on and off. Jeannette happens to see her sifting through the garbage one day and is appalled.

The irony is that her mother owns land worth a million dollars. But Jeannette's mother would rather be homeless and poor than sell the land. She feels there is great importance in owning land, even if one is poor. It really shows how mentally ill she really is.

And that is how the story ends. Now remember, this is non-fiction! I liked how Jeannette cashed in on all the years of mistreatment by writing this book, effectively humiliating her parents to make a buck. What a great form of revenge!

Click below for more about The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Plot pg1 Plot pg2 Plot pg3 Plot pg4
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian