Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Literary Terms


1. Once she even takes her favorite toy, a plastic Tinkerbelle figurine, and holds its face to a flame. Before she can pull it away, the face begins to melt. She puts bandages on it, but she wishes she could perform a skin graft like she received. Of course, she knows that would mean cutting Tinkerbelle into pieces.
              This is a symbolism of Jeannette and her life. When she was little, she was cooking herself hotdogs and lit herself on fire by accident and then began to be very obsessed with fire. She ends up lighting her favorite doll on fire. The doll is a symbol of Jeannette being lit on fire and also it symbolizes her life and how it continuously falls apart.

2. "Dad always tells bedtime stories that are always about him."(57)
             When Rex always tells stories about himself it shows his need for his children to believe in hi. The children completely believe that their father is an extremely intelligant man and truely believe that he is an inventor. He feeds on the childrens faith, and if they stop believing in him he resorts to drinking. Also when he tells stories about himself it makes him feel powerful and makes him feel like he can do anything. 
3. In the novel the children's Uncle Stanley (Rex's brother) molests Jeannette when she goes to their house to shower because their "new" home does not have a running water system. When Jeannette tells her mother
when uncle stanley molests her, she tells her that sexual assult only hurts you if you let it. Mary then paints a picture of a women downing. This symbolises her losing hope in the family and their well being. Also if shows she is losing control and might not be able to save herself.


4. It is ironic that the first thing Jeannette’s Mom begins to talk about is Picasso.
          This is ironic because the Wall's are a very low class family and are homeless. Most homeless people and low class families do not know about high class artists and educational things.

5. Jeannette’s mother disapproves of her hum chewing and calls it a low-class habit.
            This is ironic because they are low-class people, so she in contradicting herself

6. The mood is upsetting because the whole time Jeanette is explaining the troubling things she had to experience while growing up.

7. Another mood is when the family is at Battle Mountain. The family is finally happy and is doing well for themselves and have complete faith in eachother.

8. A theme that occurs throughout the book is forgiveness because Jeanette constantly forgives her parents for never doing what's right for them.

9. Bravery is a theme that occurs in the novel because Jeanette and her siblings have to be brave every day dealing with the people that bully them at school and living with their alcoholic father.


10. When Jeannette is older and living a luxiourous life in New York City she sees her mother on the side of the road picking through a dumpster. This is a foreshawdow because this is how her life was growing up and it shows the reader a quick insight on her childhood.

11. When Jeannette and her father go to a bar, he orders two beers for the both of them even though she asks for a sprite. This is foreshawdowing that Rex is giving a signal to other men that she is of age and available. 


12. The beginning of the novel is Jeanette when she's older while the rest of the story is a flashback of her life story.


13. In the novel, the main focus is the "glass castle" that they are searching for. The father says everything they do and all the money they work for is to build this glass castle where everything would be perfect for them. The father digs for gold, and he is always digging for the gold, which in comparison is the glass castle. The digging of the glass castle only leads to be filled with garbage and dissapointment.


"He was asking what he could do, now that I knew would change all our lives, but i was afraid to ask for it. Just thinking about saying the words out loud made me nervous. Dad saw my hesitation. He knelt so that he was looking up at me. 'What is it?' he said. 'Ask away." "It's big." "Just ask, baby." "I'm scared." ... I took a deep breath and said, "Do you think you could maybe stop drinking?"
page 116

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Jeanette Walls- Jeanette is the author and narrator of the novel and is the middle child of four children. The novel is about her life and explains the hard times her family endured.

Mary Walls- She is the mother of Jeanette and her three other siblings. She puts on an act that she likes the way they live, until her and her husband get into a huge fight, the reader finds out her true feelings. Lori is very realistic about the way the family is living and knows they way they are living is not right.

Rex Walls- Rex is the father in the novel. He is always the high spirit and thinks nothing of the way they family is living. He is very smart and see's himself as an inventor. He is a struggling alcohalic and the items he wants to invent are very unrealistic. The children adore him and believe practically everything he says. He moves the family around because of the "gestapo" and in search for gold.

Brian Walls- He is younger than Jeanette and is her partner in crime. They always go on adventures together and have similar intrests. They also get along very well with one another and see eye to eye on a lot of things.

Lori Walls- Lori is the oldest of the four children. She does not hang around with Jeanette and Brian a lot, and does not like to go on adventure like they do. Lori is a lot like Mary; they are both artistic and spend a lot of time together.

Maureen Walls- She is the youngest of the Wall's children. Maureen is not a big role in the novel and is not mentioned a lot. It seems like she goes off and does her own thing.

Erma- Rex Walls mother. It is to be suspected she molested Rex when he was little. When the family lived with her for a little while she made an attempt to  molest Brian as well, but Jeannette walked in.

Uncle Stanley- This is Rex's brother. He molests Jeannette and when Jeanette tells her mother she tells her dwelling on it will make her weaker and her Uncle stronger. At this point of the novel there seems to be no hope for the family. 

Dinita Hewitt- This is Jeannette's first friend when she moves to Welch. She is an African American girl who is the leader of the group of bullies that abuse Jeannette, but one day Dinita sees Jeannette walk a African American boy home. Dinita then asks Jeannette to tutor her and they become very good friends.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Jeannette was caught on fire when she was only three years old and after that, she became very interested in fire instead of being scared. Whenever she saw a fire outside due to a neighbor burning things, she would run outside and see how close she could get to the fire before burning herself. She also would put a lighter really close to her favorite doll, but then actually burned the doll's face.

 Jeannette and her family travel in this car which they called the green caboose.

During part of their travel, they had to drive in a U-Haul truck. Because only two people can really fit, the children had to sit with the furniture in the back of the truck, which is illegal. One time the side doors opened of the back of the truck, and the children could not close it. Luckily someone was able to get Janette's father's attention so he could pull over and close the doors. They were also lucky that it wasn't the police that saw them back there.

While in their travel, Jeannette's mom saw a Joshua tree and was very amazed. Janette didn't like the tree, but her mom kept telling her that it's special because it looks the way it does because it was struggling.

Rex tells his family that when he finds gold and gets money that he will make their family a glass castle to live in.

Jeanette collected the rocks while her family was living in Battle Mountain. When they had to "skattatle" and only bring one thing with them, she was only allowed to bring one and leave  the rest of her collection behind.

This is an image from Battle Mountain, which is where the Walls stayed the longest and where they enjoyed to be the most.

They spent a lot time in Las Vegas, too. Rex won a lot of money because he was counting cards. When the casino found out about it, that's when the Walls had to move again so they could stay out of trouble.

 The Walls went to the zoo for the first time. Rex was teaching the kids not to be afraid of the animals, so he stared into a cheetah's eyes and then the cheetah came up to him and have him pet him. Janette was so excited and petted him, too. Other people thought they were really stupid and were scared for them, so they left the zoo.
When Jeanette went to Dinita's house to tutor her, her dad showed her the vent and she was really amazed by it because her family doesn't have money to afford one.

A man from the department of Child Welfare visits and tells Jaeanette that there are reports that children in the home are being neglected. Jeanette is angry and is afraid that she might be separated from her brothers and sisters. She then told her mom.Mary then painted a picture of a drowning woman.


Brian and Jeanette went to the pool on a hot summer day but had to leave because kids there were making fun of them for living in a garage. They then see Dinita who invites them to go swimming with her black friends. Jeanette was happy because she felt comfortable with them and had fun.

handcuffs on white background.jpg

Dinita told Jeanette that she won't be attending school anymore because she is having a baby, but when she goes to visit her at her house, she finds out that Dinita was arrested for killing her mom's boyfriend that she hated. Jeanette was feeling close with her, and it is hard to have someone in her life be taken away especially with everything she has to deal with within her family.

The Basics

Main characters: Jeanette (narrator), Brian (Jeanette's younger brother), Lori (Jeanette's older sister), Maureen (Jeanette's younger sister) Rex (Jeanette's dad), Mary (Jeanette's mom)

Speaker: The speaker of the novel is Jeanette Walls. She is the middle child of the family and she is talking about her life growing up and her hardships in life.

Occasion: The beginning of the novel is taking place in New York City, but then there is a flashback to Southern Arizona. The location of the family is constantly changing because they are always moving.

Audience: The author wrote the book for an audience to see the perspective of homeless people. She it trying to show that no matter how horrible a situation people can get through it. Also she is trying to show that homelessness does not always have a negitive connotation.

Purpose: The speaker wants to share her life story with the reader and explain how different her life was growing up than a typical girl her age. She is also explaining the reason to why she is where she is today.

Subject: The subject of the novel is a family moving constantly to run away from the "gestapo."

Tone: The attitude of the novel is very neutral and sometimes happy. The narrarator rarely complains about her life and always looks at the upside of situations. She sees it all as an adventure and loves the excitement.


           In this article, it explains the process of Jeanette Walls wrinting the novel. The story is based on a true story about her life growing up. This article pertains to the novel because it speaks about her though process going into wrtiting the book. It gets very personal about how and why she started writing. She went through life lying about her past and her family, she would "demur or lie a little bit." This connects to the novel because she mentions her husband and she gives credit to writing the book to him. She states that he was the one that got the ball rolling with her writing the novel and called her agent for her.

2. http://www.bibliofemme.com/interviews/walls.shtml
          In this article it is another interview, but it talks more about the characters in the novel. It connects to the novel because the characters are all so different. The interviewer asks if she talked to her family before writing the novel, which is an interesting question. She stated that she didn't tell her sister because they did not talk a lot. She said that they all were not thrilled with the idea of a book being told about them, which makes sense because it tells about their whole life.

3. www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/.../jeannette-walls
           This is a video with an interview with Jeanette Walls. She talks about the book and her writing process. The interviewer talks with her about her life and her hardships of moving around throughout her life.

4. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/10/eveningnews/main6761415.shtml
             This link goes with the novel becasue the family moves to Las Vegas early in the novel. The father is extremely smart and he knows how to count cards so the family moves out there. For awhile the family was making very good money, but his luck ran out and he got caught counting cards. So again the family had to up root and move to another location.

5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_doctor
          In the novel, the father is keen on not having his children go to the hospital. When his daughter goes to the hospital he hates the fact that he is there. He says they should of brought her to the witch doctor because when Brian got hurt, she cured him in a day. He believes that the witch doctor cures everything.

6. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/alcoholism/hic_alcoholism.aspx
          This link explains alcohalism. The father is an extreme alcohalic and leaves the family to go out drinking. This website explains the conditions and the disease itself.

7. http://www.alcohol-treatment-info.com/
         On this website it describes the treatment process of alcohalism. In the novel Jeanette asks her father to stop drinking for her tenth birthday. He agrees and goes through a gruesome detox. He tells the kids to stay outside and he stays locked in his bedroom. He is yelling and crying and going through a lot of pain and side effects are anexiety attacks, headaches, nausea, perspiration and the shakes.

8. http://www.nevadaweb.com/cnt/cc/bmtn.html
           In the novel the family moves to Battle Mountain in hopes for the father to find gold. Jeanette finds this place to be her first home and she loves it. Her and brian go out and explore the desert. Their family remains here for a year until the kids get into some gun trouble and are forced to go to Phenoix. This website describes Battle Mountain and the history.

9. http://www.bestcrystals.com/geodes.html
            When the family is staying at Battle Mountain, Jeanette goes and explores the desert. She discovers geodes and starts a large collection. When the family has to relocate they all get to take one item and Jeanette choosing to take a geode.

10. http://www.tugrivermedical.org/sbhc1.html
             This link is about the Tug River. When the family passes the Tug River he tells the family that they are not allowed to swim in it because of the "fecal matter" in the water; they cannot fish from it or swim in it.

11. http://boe.mcdo.k12.wv.us/welchelem/index.html
            The family moves to Welch, West Virgina and moves in with Rex's parents. Mary enrolls the children at Welch, Elementary, but they do not have any of their school records. Jeanette and Brian can't understand the principle because she has such a thick southern accent. This is bad because the principle is quizzing them to see how much they know.

12. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070412072345.htm
              In this article it talks about bullying in elementary school. Nine out of ten students are bullied by their peers, which is a terrifying stat. Jeanette if bullied by a group of African American girls at her new school. Most students would be very angry at the girls and mostly the ring leader, but Jeanette sees a good in her and does not hate her.

13. http://www.findcounseling.com/journal/child-abuse/survivors-childhood-sexual-abuse.html
              In this part of the novel, Rex and Mary travel back to Arizona because they need to retrieve some items. While they are gone Erma, the children's grandmother, tells Brian that she needs to mend his pants while they are on. She brings him into her bedroom and tries to molest him. Jeanette walks in and with Brian, tells her to stop. This website shows the effects of sexual abuse on children because the children believe Erma may have molested Rex when he was a child, which may have led to his drinking. 

14. http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/yea0bio-1
               This website explains the life of Chuck Yeager, an aviator and it known to be the best test pilot of all time. This is significant because Jeannette is editor of the school newspaper and he is very impressed by her. Her classmates are very jealous of her, which proceeds her to feel popular. 

15. http://www.barnardcollege.edu
               Barnard College is the college Jeannette attends when she moves to New York. Being in New York City has been very well for Jeannette. She has gotten a job, has a place to live, and has a steady job. Brian and Maureen have joined them in New York City.  


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reading Schedule

Tues April 26: 1-41

Thurs April 28: 42-80

Mon May 2: 81-125

Wed May 4: 126-167

Fri May 6: 168-213

Tues May 10: 214-251

Thurs May 12: Finish book