Study Guide

The Glass Castle Coming of Age

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Coming of Age

The Glass Castle is like Huck Finn or To Kill a Mockingbird for the Baby Boomer generation. Even though The Glass Castle is non-fiction instead of a novel, it tells a story similar to those told in these classic novels. It's the story of a smarter-than-your-average-bear young person and their formative experiences early in life. Unfortunately, the battle against society has turned into something a little less noble in this one—Jeannette's mom and dad don't really seem to know what they're fighting for. Coming of age for Jeannette means breaking ties with the 'rents and living her own life, on her own terms.

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. What are the most formative events in Jeannette's life? How do they shape her?
  2. Which matters more: the events themselves or Jeannette's attitude toward them?
  3. How would you describe each of the Walls children? What kind of person does each sibling become? What do the siblings have in common?

Chew on This

Jeannette's tough life forces her to grow up more quickly than your average child, but it also makes her a more responsible and self-sufficient adult.

As the baby of the family, Maureen's maturity was stunted, and she has many problems as a teen and young adult.

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