Study Guide

The Glass Castle Family

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The Walls family in The Glass Castle is more like a traveling circus than the Family Circus. We're talking dysfunctional. With Mom and Dad as the ringleaders, the family bums around the country…and, oh yeah, did we mention that they're a family of bums? Mom and Dad don't realize that one day, the kids will get old enough to know better and will start to look for something else.

Families often stick together, for better or for worse, but the Walls family falls into the "worse" category. Together, these family members hurt themselves more than they help themselves. Maybe some families are better off apart.

Questions About Family

  1. What keeps the Walls family together? Would they be better off apart?
  2. Why does Jeannette want to keep her family together when the man from child protective services pays them a visit?
  3. Are there any similarities between the Walls family and yours? What makes them similar? What makes them different?

Chew on This

Even after being married twice, Jeannette keeps her last name. If she were truly embarrassed or ashamed of her family, she would have changed her name.

The Walls family stays together as long as they do because the children are capable of forgiving their parents for all the wrong they do—but they only forgive them because they're their parents. They wouldn't let friends or strangers get away with the same behavior.

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