The Glass Castle - Independent Reading
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Ellie Goulding - Dead In the Water

Album - Halcyon Track - 12
Sophia's insight:

Lyrics:

If I was not myself

And you were someone else

I'd say so much to you

And I would tell the truth

Cause I can hardly breathe

When your hands let go of me

The ice is thinning out

And my feet brace themselves

I'm there in the water

Still looking for ya

I'm there in the water

Can't you see, can't you see

You've seen this all before

Life left on the shore

We're smiling all the same

You sail away again

I'm there in the water

Still looking for ya

I'm there in the water

Can't you see, can't you see

Oh yeah I'm dead in the water

Still looking for ya

I'm dead in the water

Can't you see, can't you see

I'm dead in the water

Still looking for ya

I'm dead in the water

Can't you see, can't you see

 

I chose this song to represent The Glass Castle because the messages that are being portrayed in this song are loneliness, despair, and heartache. These three messages are also displayed in the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls herself. "If you don't want to sink, you better figure out how to swim" (Walls 66). Rex says this quote when he taught Jeannette how to swim, but his approach of this was obviously very different and a little shocking. Rex repeatedly throws Jeannette into a sulfur spring in the desert and watches to see if she swims or sinks. When she did sink, Rex would dive in and save her, only to throw her back in the sulfur until she learned how to swim. Rex and the rest of the family sit back and watch while Jeannette struggles to swim. Jeannette, drowning time after time obviously feels lonely and despaired because no one is saving her and she continues to be thrown in the sulfur multiple times until she actually learns how to swim by herself. Jeannette was expecting a round of applause or praise for when she finally swam all by herself but not a single word was said to her when she accomplished this. This is just one of the many scarring experiences that Jeannette and her siblings go through in their life. Rex and Rose Mary Walls approach parenting very differently than most. They purposely put their kids into life-threatening and scarring situations so they can become stronger and learn the rules of life all by themselves which often leaves all four of the Walls children feeling loneliness, despair, and heartache.

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Battling the Booze - 45 minute documentary - trailer

Watch the full film here: http://vod.journeyman.tv/store?p=4192&s=Battling+The+Booze "I've lost my kids, I've lost family members...my partner... my dignity....
Sophia's insight:

 This documentary is about the horrible effects of alcohol and battling the addiction of alcohol. In the documentary several people say if they did not stop drinking when they did, they would be dead. Alcohol helps people forget about all their issues in life and makes the human being feel like they are superman.

 

 Rex Walls is an alcoholic. "She'd been reading books on how to cope with an alcoholic, and they said that drunks didn't remember their rampages, so if you cleaned up after them, they'd think nothing had happened. ‘Your father needs to see the mess he's making of our lives,' Mom said. But when dad got up, he'd act as if all the wreckage didn't exist, and no one discussed it with him. The rest of us had to get used to stepping over broken furniture and shattered glass" (Walls 112-113). This quote said by Jeannette tells us that Rex is tearing the family apart. There are many instances in the book where Rex cannot control his anger and takes it out on his family. When Rex drinks, he forgets about all the problems that are in his life and truly does feel like God himself. He causes many problems within the family and has a serious addiction that is affecting everyone around him. Every time that Rex drinks, he’s only digging a deeper hole for himself and ruining his relationship with each member of his family even more. “Don't worry, God understands,' Mom said. 'He knows that your father is a cross we must bear.” (Walls 105)

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Poverty in Appalachians

Poverty in Appalachians | The Glass Castle - Independent Reading | Scoop.it
Sophia's insight:

This picture is of a boy visiting his uncle at his trailer in Owsley County, Kentucky (part of the Appalachians). This trailer has no running water or even electricity but still receives assistance from the government and his neighbors. 

 

This picture relates to the Glass Castle because Jeannette and her family end up moving to the Appalachians area (West Virginia) at one point in the book. Of course Jeannette and her siblings weren’t expecting the Appalachians to be gold and riches, but they definitely did not expect it to be this bad either. The experiences Jeannette and her family went through living in the Appalachians had to be some of the worst they have ever experienced. “One evening when dad was away and we had nothing to eat and we were all sitting around the living room trying not to think of food, mom kept disappearing under the blanket on the sofa bed. At one point, Brian looked over.

‘Are you chewing something?’ he asked.

‘My teeth hurt.’ Mom said, but she was getting all shifty eyed, glancing around the room and avoiding our stares. ‘It’s my bad gums. I’m working my jaw to increase the circulation.’

Brian yanked the covers back. Lying on the mattress next to mom was one of those huge family-sized Hershey chocolate bars, the shiny silver wrapper pulled back and torn away. She’d already eaten half of it. Mom started crying. ‘I can’t help it,’ she sobbed. ‘I’m a sugar addict, just like your father is an alcoholic.’

She told us we should forgive her the same way we always forgave dad for his drinking. None of us said a thing. Brian snatched up the chocolate bar and divided it into four pieces. While mom watched, we wolfed them down” (Walls 174). This quote tells us how desperate each member of the Walls family was for food. They had absolutely nothing to eat for days at a time. Multiple experiences like this one occurred in the Walls family, tearing their family apart even more and making the Walls children realize that the sooner they get out of the house, the better.

 

 

 

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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle | The Glass Castle - Independent Reading | Scoop.it
Sophia's insight:

This picture is of a Glass Castle. Glass is a very beautiful substance, that is used in many things. "People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, you shouldn’t criticize others when you have similar faults of your own".

 

This picture of a glass castle relates to the book because obviously the title of the book is The Glass Castle. But there's a lot more meaning behind this picture than you think. In the book, Rex, the father, promises Jeannette and her siblings that he was going to build them this huge, beautiful glass castle. "All of Dad's engineering skills and mathematical genius were coming together in one special project: a great big house he was going to build for us in the desert. It would have a glass ceiling and thick walls and even a glass staircase. The Glass Castle would have solar cells on the top that would catch the sun's rays and convert them into electricity for heating and cooling and running all the appliances. It would even have its own water-purification system. He carried around the blueprints for the Glass Castle wherever we went, and sometimes he'd pull them out and let us work on the design for our rooms" (Walls 25). Despite all the chaos that went on in the Walls household, Rex constantly told the kids that he was working on the blue prints and everything was in line, the only thing he needed to figure out was somewhere to build it. Jeannette and her siblings seeing Rex as the greatest person in the world obviously believed him and were very excited. But little did they know that this glass castle was just another way of Rex manipulating them. He promised this glass castle to them because they didn't have anything else to look forward to in their life (considering their living conditions) and Rex knew this, so he used this glass castle as a way to cover-up this huge mess that he created. 

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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle | The Glass Castle - Independent Reading | Scoop.it
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary...
Sophia's insight:

Ever since their first child Lori was born, Rex and Rose have been struggling to provide their children with everyday necessities that their children need to survive including food, a house to live in, an education, money, care, and love for their children. The Glass Castle is a non-fiction memoir about the Walls family. The Walls family consists of Rex, the father, Rose, the mother, Lori, the eldest daughter, Brian, the only son, Maureen the youngest daughter and Jeannette, the middle child/the narrator. The Walls family, mainly Rex and Rose are very dysfunctional people that have very different morals, values, and opinions than most Americans have during this time period. Instead of being home with his kids, Rex is too busy going out every night, gambling, stealing, and binge drinking, leaving his family for days or even weeks alone at the house, not providing them with any money or even anything to eat. Rose, on the other hand, who chooses to ignore her husbands behavior is too distracted painting on her canvas and sitting at her typwriter day and night, fantasizing about becoming an artist and moving to New York than to play, talk, or even care for her children. Which leaves Lori, Jeannette, Brian, and Maureen on their own to fend for themselves. The Walls children go through many life-changing experiences throughout their childhood that a child should definitely not go through. But these are the things that shaped each and every one of them into who they are today. In this memoir, Jeannette Walls tells the story of her and her siblings horrific, scarring childhood growing up with their egocentric, absent-minded parents and the struggle to survive in their intangible living conditions on a daily basis. 

 

The main theme in this story is forgiveness. Rex Walls, the father of these four children is also a gambling alcoholic who constantly gets his family in trouble, causing them to travel from state to state so the FBI/police don't catch them. He constantly breaks all of his promises to his children, including his number one promise: to build a glass castle for them. Of course, being the father, Lori, Jeannette, Brian, and Maureen look up to their dad as a superhero, thinking he's the best dad in the world and that he's truly doing everything he can to support his family, but as all the kids get older, especially Jeannette, Rex's favorite child, she starts to see her father's flaws and realizes he is not even close to a hero and more of a failure. She also begins to notice that many of the people in her life that she thought she could count on and trust have many flaws as well; flaws she can't ignore, including her mother, Rose. Even though some of the things Rex and the other people in Jeannette's life have done seem unforgiveable, Jeannette and her siblings slowly but surely learn how to forgive these people in their life because they know that they aren't going to change no matter what they do or how hard they try.

 

This is one of the most disturbing, compelling, life-changing books I have ever read in my life. The way that Jeannette Walls tells her story is absolutely beautiful. Even though it's very hard to believe and comprehend that someone actually lived this kind of life, especially in America, I myself came upon multiple experiences in this book that I could relate to. This book made me thankful for my parents, and everything they sacrifice and do for me. It also really made me think how much your family influences you and shapes you into who are you. This book also made me realize that no matter where you come from or what your background is, you should never be ashamed of who you are "Mom pointed her chopsticks at me. 'You see?' she said. 'Right there. That's exactly what I'm saying. You're way too easily embarrassed. Your father and I are who we are. Accept it.'

'And what am I supposed to tell people about my parents?'

'Just tell the truth,' Mom said. 'That's simple enough.'" (Walls 5 )

 

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Poverty in Appalachia: Third World Living Conditions in America?

Poverty in Appalachia: Third World Living Conditions in America? | The Glass Castle - Independent Reading | Scoop.it
Learn about one of the places in America where poverty is the norm, and hopelessness is pervasive. A true description of the poorest region in America.
Sophia's insight:

This article is about the Appalachians area in America. In this article we see how bad the people have it that are living here. A lot of these people have no running water, electricity, clean clothes, food, jobs, or a stable family.

 

This article relates to The Glass Castle because Jeannette and her family move to the Appalachians area (West Virginia). The Appalachians is such a poverty stricken area that it's practically its own third-world country.

"‘We have to do something about the porch situation,' I told mom.

'It's getting downright dangerous to go to the bathroom at night.'

Besides, the toilet under the house was now totally unusable. It had overflowed, and you were better off digging yourself a hole in the hillside somewhere.

'You're right,' mom said. 'Something has to be done.'

She bought a bucket. It was made of yellow plastic, and we kept it on the floor in the kitchen, and that was what we used whenever we had to go to the bathroom. When it filled up, some brave soul would carry it outside, dig a hole, and empty it." (Walls 185) This quote tells us that Jeannette and her family's living conditions were absolutely horrible. Can you imagine going to the bathroom in a bucket in the middle of your house? Because I certainly can't. Along with going to the bathroom in a bucket in the middle of their house the Walls children rarely ever had any food to eat. Often times they had to wait for lunch to be over with at school and then they would go hunt for food out of the schools garbage.

 

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10 Things My Alcoholic Parents Taught Me - Momalog

10 Things My Alcoholic Parents Taught Me - Momalog | The Glass Castle - Independent Reading | Scoop.it
Yes, Virginia, there can be a good side to growing up with alcoholic parents.
Sophia's insight:

This article is about ten things one woman learned from her alcoholic parents while growing up in Virginia. I chose this article because there are so many similarities between the things this woman and Jeannette Walls both learned from growing up with their alcoholic parents. Even both of their parents had very similar views, which was very surprising to me.  

 

In this article, the publisher states: "I believe that alcoholics are unusually sensitive souls who just need a way to turn the volume down on all the things they see and hear. I have never once met a stupid or boring alcoholic – all of them are intelligent, bright-lights – especially after they get sober, but even before. Diamonds in the rough." This quote said by the publisher reminds me so much of Jeannette Walls because even though Jeanette knew her parents were different and her dad was an alcoholic, she still looked at her parents in awe. She loved her parents with all her heart and knew that they were very knowledgeable people who had so much to offer. She knew for a fact that her dads alcoholism did not define him, it never did. This publisher also states in the article that her father was a very caring man who would stop whatever he was doing to help someone out in need. This stood out to me so much because Rex Walls, the father of Jeannette, who was also an alcoholic matches this description perfectly. Even though he was an alcoholic, that doesn't mean that he was a cold hearted, stupid, or useless person. Rex Walls was actually a very very intelligent man who knew a lot about almost everything. He was always teaching his kids something new everyday, maybe not teaching them the way we would teach our kids, but the "Rex Walls" way. "Later that night, dad stopped the car out in the middle of the desert, and we slept under the stars. We had no pillows, but dad said that was part of his plan. He was teaching us to have good posture. The Indians didn't use pillows, either, he explained, and look how straight they stood. We did have our scratchy army-surplus blankets, so we spread them out and lay there, looking up at the field of stars. I told Lori how lucky we were to be sleeping out under the sky like Indians.

'We could live like this forever,' I said.

'I think we're going to,' she said." (Walls 18) This quote tells us that Rex Walls definitely thought differently than most people, but he had a lot of knowledge to fill his kids brains with. Knowledge that would actually be useful to them and knowledge that would help them realize what really matters in life.

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Alcohol Turns You into a Monster

Sophia's insight:

This article is related to The Glass Castle because Rex, the father, is an alcoholic. "In my mind, Dad was perfect, although he did have what Mom called a little bit of a drinking situation". (Walls 23) This article explains what alcohol is, what it does to your brain and body, and the effects and behavior that a human being develops after alcohol is in their system. Rex, who felt very guilty and stressed most of the time, avoided all of his and all of the families problems by drinking alcohol and using alcohol as his escape from reality. He often went on alcohol binges for days or even weeks, leaving his family with no support, money, food, or care. And when he did decide to come home for a little bit, (which was once in a blue moon) he came home and brought all of his anger, rage, and guilt with him. "But when dad pulled out a bottle of what mom called 'the hard stuff', she got kind of frantic, because after working on the bottle for a while, dad turned into an angry-eyed stranger who threw around furniture and threatened to beat up mom or anyone else who got on his way". (Walls 23). 

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Change Me into Zeus's Daughter

Change Me into Zeus's Daughter | The Glass Castle - Independent Reading | Scoop.it
Change Me into Zeus's Daughter is a haunting and ultimately triumphant memoir about growing up poor and undaunted in the South. With an u...
Sophia's insight:

Barbara Robinette Moss lives deep down in the south in Red Clay Hills, Alabama with her chaotic, dysfunctional family, including her alcoholic father, bold, respectful mother, and her affectionate siblings. Barbara Robinette Moss's escape from all this commotion is art. She is so mesmerized and very fascinated with art that she believes she can change the appearance of her "mummy face" (from malnutrition and no medical care) to the beautiful, flawless face of the daughter of Zeus that she wishes for upon a starry night. Barbara Robinette Moss shares with us the many jubilant, tender, and amusing stories she and her family experiences on a daily basis and takes us through her journey of learning that someone's beauty is not just on the outside but on the inside too.

 

 

Change Me into Zeus's Daughter is like The Glass Castle because each book is narrated by one of the daughters. In Change Me into Zeus's Daughter; Barbara Robinette Moss lives with her alcoholic father, siblings, and her mother, just like Jeannette Walls. They both live in poverty stricken areas and they definitely do not live a wealthy lifestyle. Despite all the disorder, both Barbara Robinette Moss and Jeannette Walls try to find an escape from their crazy reality and try to make the best out of what they have. Barbara Robinette Moss's escape is art, while Jeanette's escape is exploring the outside world and learning new things on her own. Both girls definitely struggled accepting their lives, family, and looks at times “No one expected you to amount to much," she told me. "Lori was the smart one, Maureen the pretty one, and Brian the brave one. You never had much going for you except that you always worked hard.” (Walls 270) Both girls experienced things we could never even imagine going through which is what made them into the people they are today. Barbara Robinette Moss and Jeannette Walls both realize they're beautiful on the inside and out, no matter what anyone says, and they've both lived their life to the fullest, despite all the insanity that could have held them back to do so. “I wanted to let the world know that no one had a perfect life, that even the people who seemed to have it all had their secrets.” (Walls 270) When Jeannette said this, she meant that even if you do have everything you want, that doesn’t always mean you’re truly happy. Sometimes having to get through many struggles in your life is a good thing because it makes you stronger and makes you realize that it’s the little things in life that mean the most. 

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