Study Guide

Lori Walls in The Glass Castle

By Jeannette Walls

Lori Walls

Big Sister

Lori is the oldest Walls child. She's naturally smart, and she develops "a bit of a sarcastic streak" (3.6.18) as a defense mechanism as she gets older. She and Jeannette make a good team. They support each other and motivate each other to escape their crazy family.

And it's not like Lori is the brains and Jeannette is the brawn. They each take different roles at different times in their lives. One notable time, Lori flexes some muscle is when she literally hits her grandmother, Erma, after catching the old bat molesting Brian.

Unlike Mom, who is happy in her own little world, Lori gets glasses, and those glasses are a little metaphor that clues us in to the fact that Lori has decided to try seeing the world as it really is. With her 20/20 vision, Lori can lead Jeannette to freedom. That isn't to say that she doesn't entirely run away. She still remains close to her mother, in her own way, and she even becomes an artist, just like Mom.

Just as Jeannette shows us how some of Mom's attitudes could be put to good use if acted on in a mature way, Lori shows how even Mom's artistic career could have gone differently if she had had more realistic attitudes.

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