Study Guide

The Glass Castle Society and Class

By Jeannette Walls

Society and Class

There's no such thing as "normal," but society often expects certain things from its citizens—things like holding down a job, responsibly raising children, and giving back in some way.

In The Glass Castle, Rex and Rose Mary Walls do none of these things. They don't work, they let their children run wild, and they leave a trail destruction in their wake. They consider living outside of society to be a positive thing. They call themselves pioneers, or rebels. And while it's possible for this lifestyle to work, Rex and Rose Mary are terrible at it.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. How did the towns where the Walls family lived influence their lives?
  2. Did Mom and Dad live outside the boundaries of society by choice?
  3. How does Mom try to maintain the appearance of being classy, despite all the evidence to the contrary? Why does she try to keep up appearances in this way?

Chew on This

Mom and Dad are so eccentric that if they attempted to get normal jobs and live in society, society would reject them.

Because Mom and Dad live a bohemian lifestyle, their kids rebel against them by doing the opposite—trying to fit in.

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