Study Guide

The Glass Castle Part I, Chapter 1

By Jeannette Walls

Part I, Chapter 1

Part I: A Woman on the Street

  • Jeannette Walls is sitting in a taxi thinking about her outfit when she notices her mom rooting through a dumpster. That's a total killjoy, so Jeannette decides to go home instead of to the party she was planning to attend.
  • At home, Jeannette feels guilty because she has a home to go to. Her mother does not.
  • However, Jeannette says she has tried to help Mom before, but Mom doesn't want her help.
  • Still, Jeannette feels guilty, so she invites Mom to lunch at a Chinese restaurant.
  • Mom dumps some duck sauce packets into her purse while waiting for her food. Hey, it's always important to have an emergency stash of duck sauce.
  • Mom tells Jeannette that it's Jeannette's values that are screwed up. She lives a wasteful life in a fancy apartment.
  • Mom isn't ashamed at all to be "recycling" (1.1.22) food from dumpsters.
  • But Jeannette is still embarrassed. "What am I supposed to tell people about my parents?" (1.1.25), she asks.
  • "Just tell the truth," Mom says. "That's simple enough" (1.1.26).
  • And here comes the truth. Can you handle it?