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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

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The Glass Castle

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  1. Class Discussion Questions and Journals The Glass Castle

  2. “It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.” ~ Rose Mary Walls (pg. 38) Discussion Question How is the Joshua tree a metaphor for our author’s life?

  3. “Finally, Dad cornered mom against some rocks. I was afraid he might smush her with the car, but instead he got out and dragged her back, legs flailing, and threw her into the car… Mom and Dad made up the next day…” (pg. 43) How would you describe Rex and Rose Mary’s relationship? How does it affect the kids? Discussion question

  4. Do you see any problems with the children riding in the back of the U-Haul truck? Does society “baby” children nowadays? (pg. 48-50) Journal #1

  5. “Soon after we moved into the depot, Mom decided that what we really needed was a piano.” (52) 1. Can you think of anything that the family “needs” more than a piano? What can we learn about Jeannette’s parents from their decision to buy a piano? Discussion question

  6. “…the zone was known in physics as the boundary between turbulence and order. ‘It’s a place where no rules apply, or at least they haven’t figured ‘em out yet,’ he said. ‘ You-all got a little too close to it today.’” ~ Rex Walls (61) How is this space “between turbulence and order” in the fire similar to the Walls family? Discussion question

  7. What can you infer about the kind of place the Green Lantern is? Do you see any type of trend with the places that the Walls family stay in? Discussion question

  8. How do you feel about Rex’s way of teaching Jeannette to swim? Why? (pg. 64-66) Journal #2

  9. “’It’s not my fault if you’re hungry!’ she shouted. ‘Don’t blame me. Do you think I like living like this? Do you?’” ~ Rose Mary (69) Why do you think Rose Mary gets so mad at Lori and Jeannette for eating the margarine? How does Jeannette break one of the family’s unspoken rules? Why do you think they have that “rule” to begin with? Who do you think is to blame for the children being hungry? Is it just Rex’s fault? Explain. Discussion questions

  10. “Brian had taken such a powerful dislike to Ginger that I realized she must have done something more than shanghai his comic book.” (79) Why does Brian dislike Ginger so much? What really happened? Do you find anything wrong with that whole situation? Discussion question

  11. Jeannette’s dealings with Billy turn ugly very quickly. Do you think Jeannette’s parents are to blame for what Billy does to her because she tried to tell them about Billy and his dad? Should they have protected her or let her take care of herself? (pg. 81-90) Journal #3

  12. “Mom looked pointedly at Dad and then back at me. She told me I should try to be nicer to Billy. ‘He doesn’t have all the advantages you kids do.’ she said.” (83) What is ironic about what Jeannette’s mom says here? Discussion Question “Mom seemed surprised that I was so upset.” (92) Why is Jeannette so upset that her grandmother passed away? Why do you think her mother is so surprised?

  13. How are Rex and the cheetah in the zoo alike? Explain. Journal #4

  14. “God doesn’t mind you bending the rules a little if you have a good reason. It’s sort of like justifiable homicide. This is justifiable pilfering” ~ Rose Mary Walls (111) Do you agree with Rose Mary’s philosophy on shoplifting? Why or why not? Discussion Question “’We’re not poor,’ I said. She had used that word one too many times… The lady grew quiet, and for the rest of the trip, no one said much. As soon as she dropped us off, Dad disappeared. I waited on the front steps until bedtime, but he didn’t come home.” (121) Where do you think Jeannette’s dad went and why do you think that?

  15. Rex Walls often asked his children, "Have I ever let you down?" Why was this question (and the required "No, Dad" response) so important for him — and for his kids? Does he let them down or come through for them in this chapter? Explain. Journal #5

  16. What is the answer to the following question: Wuts et tahmsebm? Write your answer on a piece of paper – DO NOT SHOW ANYONE ELSE! Bell Ringer

  17. As a group, read aloud pg. 136 – 148. For each chapter that you read, develop 2 discussion questions. Questions MAY NOT be yes or no questions or questions that only need one-word answers. Use the question starters: HOWand WHY Group Reading Directions

  18. You have 5 minutes to: Draw a picture on the whiteboard that answers your assigned discussion question. Bell Ringer

  19. Describe the Walls’ “new & rustic” home. Why did mom and dad acquire this particular piece of property? Does this remind you of anything? How does the expression “putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound” apply to this passage? What were some of the things that “dad never got around to doing”? What is so chilling about Rose Mary’s comment to Maureen about the rat: “Rats need to eat, too”(156)? “But Dad said 93 Little Hobart Street was such a dump that we shouldn’t waste time or energy on it that we should be devoting to the Glass Castle.” (157) What is ironic about this statement? How is Ginny Sue Pastor different from the women at the Green Lantern? What does she help Jeannette to understand? Guided Reading ?s (pg. 149-163)

  20. What were some of the reasons that Jeannette gives for the violence in Welch? Do you think Jeannette and Brian’s solution to their problems with Ernie Goad was the right course of action? Explain why or why not. Journal #6

  21. “…saying she was sorry, she knew she should be doing something more productive, but like Dad, she had her addictions…” (168). What were Rosemary’s addictions? Whose addictions were worse Rex or Rosemary’s? Why? Discussion Question How do you feel about Rosemary’s philosophy on sexual assault? (184) What are the family’s living conditions like at this point? (185)

  22. Mom says that welfare “would cause irreparable psychological damage” to the kids. “Once you go on welfare, it changes you. Even if you get off welfare, you never escape the stigma that you were a charity case. You’re scarred for life” (188). What does Mom mean when she says, “you’re scarred for life”? Do you agree or disagree with her philosophy and why? Should Rex and Rosemary accepted some type of government aid? Journal #7

  23. After giving in to her dad’s request for money, Jeannette says, “He knew I had a soft spot for him the way no one else in the family did, and he was taking advantage of it. I felt used (209-210). How else does dad “use” Jeannette in this chapter? How do you feel about the situation he puts her in? How does this contradict his promises to her when she was younger? Journal #8

  24. Explain why Rex says, “’Goddammit, you’re in a horse race, but you’re thinking like a sheep… Sheep don’t win horse races” (227). Did he have the right to destroy Lori’s sculpture? Journal #9

  25. What is a private area of shame in your life that you have been keeping secret? How can you lift that veil of shame in your life? Is there someone you can tell? OR Do you agree or disagree with the statement, “The truth will set you free.” Why? Video journal

  26. Pick one of Rex’s statements from this chapter and explain how what he says is IRONIC Journal #10

  27. What qualities make a home a home? What does Rosemary mean when she tells Jeannette that she’s worried about her because she’s “sold out” and lost the values she instilled in her? Does Rosemary have a point? (pg. 269) Was Jeannette’s description of her parents and her home in WV on pg. 270-271 a lie? Why or why not? What makes certain things in life worth more than their monetary value? Reflection Questions (pg. 262-281)

  28. Aside from the fact that the family is celebrating Thanksgiving, why do you think Jeannette titled this last section “Thanksgiving”? “Thanksgiving”

  29. For many reviewers and readers, the most extraordinary thing about The Glass Castle is that, despite everything, Jeanette Walls refuses to condemn her parents. Were you able to be equally nonjudgmental? What do you think gives Jeannette the ability to not condemn her parents? “Thanksgiving”