The Glass Castle study guide contains a biography of Jeannette Walls, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Constantly short on cash and food, the family moves around the country frequently and tries to re-settle. Though the family is dysfunctional, the memoir communicates itself without condemning the glass castle parenting essay of the Walls parents. Humor frequently imbues the work with a light-spirited tone.
For the first half of the work, the family lives in various mining towns on the West Coast of America. This part of the work is characterized by frequent moves from town to town. As Jeannette grows up in the desert she is enchanted by the limitless bounds of nature and the fantasies her father dreams up for her and her siblings. While living in the desert Jeannette begins a rock collection and explores the natural and man-made features of the environment with her brother Brian. Life in the desert ends when Rex’s alcoholism worsens and the family runs out of funds. They leave the desert and relocate to Welch, West Virginia, the town where Rex grew up, to find better prospects.
Life in Welch, West Virginia is completely different than the life the Walls led in the desert on the West coast. Most notably, Welch has a winter season which brings new challenges to the Walls family. From their arrival, the Wells children are itching to leave Welch and return to the desert. But eventually circumstances become so bad that they realize they must move away from their parents in order to achieve stable lives.