Study Guide

The Glass Castle Part II, Chapter 1

By Jeannette Walls

Part II, Chapter 1

Part II: The Desert

  • "I was on fire" (2.1.1). That's a good opening line.
  • Jeanette is three. She's boiling hot dogs for herself on the kitchen stove when her dress catches on fire.
  • Jeannette screams, and her mom runs into the room.
  • Seeing her daughter is on fire, Mom smothers the fire with a blanket and takes Jeannette to the hospital.
  • Jeannette is given a skin graft from her upper thigh.
  • Jeannette likes the hospital. She has her own room, and the food is better and more plentiful than it is at home.
  • Occasionally, Jeannette's family comes to visit her. Her dad starts a fight with the doctor because he thinks he knows better how to treat his daughter.
  • Six weeks later, Dad comes into the hospital, grabs Jeannette, and runs.
  • Once they escape, without having to pay a bill, he tells her, "You're safe now" (2.1.48).