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In Jeannette Walls’s memoir the glass castle she is able to convey a theme of lost dreams through the constant letdown caused by their father, Rex, and mother, Rosemary. Rex Walls always dreamed of the day when they would have enough money to build a glass castle.

The Glass Castle is symbolic of a dream that everyone knows will never come true but to which they cling anyway. It is only when Rex realizes he’s lost his children and that he’s dying that he can close up the blueprints for the last time and finally let them go. It is poignant and touching when the glass castle disappears from their minds but it is also a sign that the children at least have accepted that their lives are now going in different directions. we all have dreams we want to fruition before we die.

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The glass castle is one of the best examples of dreams lost. all Jeanette’s life Rex has promised her he will build a glass home for the family. Of course, it is a dream that never has any chance of being a reality all of Rex’s life he has lived sad and disappointing he grew up in “a big worn house” (Walls 131) on “the downhill side of the street” (walls 130) the house smelled aggressively of “mold and cigarettes and unwashed laundry” (Walls 131). A weak character like Rex never comes to terms with their lost dreams while characters like Jeannette have the willpower to learn to replace impossible dreams with content. Even the dream of simply living in one place forever but when the Walls family does the “Skedaddle” (Walls 17). There’s another heartbreak and dream lost. while Rex and Rose Mary constantly let down their children there are times when they show their love and that can’t go unnoticed because without ever having a dream come true you can’t believe in future dreams. For example one of Jeanette’s favorite memories of her father was one Christmas while living in the desert they had no gifts and no money to give to their children. to lift their spirits up Rex took each one of his children out to watch the stars and told them they could pick any star they wanted for Christmas.

Jeanette picked her favorite planet Venus and although it was not a star Rex gave it to her. despite being poor and struggling financially her father showed his love and wanted to make them happy. Rex’s gift to Jeanette symbolizes how you don’t need materialistic objects to be happy. rex explains that a toy will last a few months or a year at most before it gets broken or forgotten whereas a star will be there forever. the perseverance of Jeanette and her siblings is special and rare for them to live such a turbulent childhood and turn it into a prosperous adult life is amazing Jeannette states “I’ve never been happier in my life,” (Walls 248) and I believe her.

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Definition Essay for ‘The Glass Castle’.
(2023, October 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 23, 2024, from

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