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The Glass Castle Application Paper # 4

Family development theory refers to the systematic changes faced by a family as time passes. A family is a social group includes parents and siblings. The family is sharing similar norms and values which organized them to live together. The family development of Jeanette Walls in the story of The Glass Castle begins from her hard childhood. She had faced a lot of difficulties, during her adolescence, then during her teenage, she faced sexual abuse, ignorance, and extreme poverty. According to Gilmore and Marshall (2013), Jeanette Walls has shed light on the hardship of her life which she tried to hide from the public for years. This biography has become famous and grabbed the attention of people because of a unique character, and challenges faced by a nomadic family. Here we will discuss the family development and cultural dynamics of Walls family.

Jeanette’s family belonged to the American society. They were living in very vulnerable situations in the world where people are enjoying liberty, democracy, equality, and hope. However, the life of Jeanette’s family tells a different story. In this story, the home was absent and living a highly uncivilized and unconventional life. The family development cycle of Jeanette started encompassed in two periods first is from the 1950s to 1970s, while the second period started from 1980s to 2000s. The socio-cultural aspect of Walls life includes their lifestyle, neighborhood, poverty, relationship, social interaction, and leisure, etc. We will focus on her life experiences such as food, cloth, family system, traffic, and social relationship. Transportation and traveling was an important part of the Walls family because of their frequently changing habitats. A nomadic lifestyle and homelessness had adverse impacts on the Jeanette life, however, her mother and brother had enjoyed their lifestyle. According to her mother, on p.288, she stated that she had never found her life boring with her husband Rex Walls. Moreover, when Jeanette and her sister decided to escape from her family and improve their lifestyle, they discussed it with their brother. He didn’t agree to escape with them, because he had no complaint from the life he was spending with his parents and other siblings.

Her family had adopted a nomadic lifestyle to seek stability which was nowhere achieved. The early age of this family was spent in traveling just for the sake of adventure, they didn’t stay in a place where they had better opportunities to settle.

Mostly they lived in deserts of New York with other nomade families, they worked in the mines, still, they remained homeless. Their children got maturity in the desert and became able to travel. Mr. Walls and her wife enjoyed the adventure of exploring new places and wandering from one place to another in search of a better life. There was no proper sanitation, and the family was facing many health and hygiene issues.

Lifestyle has a great impact on the society where a person is living, Jeanette’s family was extremely poor, lack of social acceptance, and adverse lifestyle. It is our identity and bestows the extent of individualism. Jeanette’s family reflected as an idiosyncratic version of homeschooling. In their neighborhood, there were many rough and tumble children because of extreme poverty and lack of facilities, and uncivilized population. Janet and her siblings have brought up with these kids, so their personalities were highly affected by the company of these children. Even their children were unaware of the religion because they didn’t see religious worships and teachings eye to eye.

However, Marry considered herself as a Catholic Christian. Janet’s father does not know religion, and he was not following religious beliefs truly. On p.127 Walls stated that once her mother told that God knows that your father is a cross which we have to bear so you should not be worried too much about your father. Janet’s mother was very intelligent and visionary, she motivated her children to improve their lifestyle and work hard to improve their lifestyle and eradicate their extreme poverty. However, she was highly careless about her children and she was described as an adventurous and excitement addicted woman. She didn’t help their children to improve their self-esteem. According to this story, Jeanette Walls had struggled in her adulthood and improved her lifestyle from a nomadic family to a settled respectable family. Still, she loved her parents, and she admitted that Rex was an intelligent loving father and a teacher.


Gilmore, L., & Marshall, E. (2013). Trauma and young adult literature: Representing adolescence and knowledge in David Small’s Stitches: A Memoir. Prose Studies, 35(1), 16-38.

Walls, J. (2017). The glass castle: A memoir. Simon and Schuster.



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