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A look at Alcoholism in the family from The Glass Castle
When Rex Walls’ starts to drink far more excessively, he becomes distant and unreliable to his young children. Initially, Jeannette appears up to her father and believes almost everything he tells her, including his idealistic fantasies about the future. He regales her with visions of striking wealthy and creating a beautiful glass castle for the complete family. Nonetheless, over time, Jeannette becomes aware of her fathers drinking problem and starts to lose faith in all his claims, saying, “I listened to Dad’s plans and attempted to encourage him, hoping that what he was saying was true but also quite positive it wasn’t”(Walls 171). She loses faith in him to the point where she advises her mother to leave him. Unlike Jeannette, her siblings Lori and Brian are not as close with their father and are faster to realize his severe flaws. Rex Walls typically disappears for days at a time, becoming less involved in his children’s lives. For example, when Jeannette is jumped and beaten by the local bullies she neglects to inform her father of the critical issue, as he is hardly ever ever sober. Jeannette and her siblings usually do not see Rex for lengthy periods of time and perceive him as unreliable and unapproachable. Due to his alcoholism, Rex Walls is unable to be a trustworthy father to his children. This distance even progresses into the adulthood of Jeannette, Brian, Lori, and Maureen emotionally they miss an integral role in adolescent development and are not nurtured properly, usually experiencing great disappointment at young ages.
In addition to the effects alcoholism has on his loved ones emotionally, Rex Walls’ alcoholism also impacts the household financially. When he loses his job as an electrician, he blames the mob claiming that “the ideal spot to collect information was at the bars the mobsters owned” (Walls 112). Although he spends his days drinking, the lack of earnings has an massive effect on the children’s lives they typically should ration what they consume and even resort to stealing from classmates and searching the garbage. The loved ones is also forced to live in poor circumstances. On Tiny Hobart Street, the Walls’ home is decrepit and does not have basic appliances, including heating. In the winter months, Jeannette and her siblings discover coal left over in the streets and burn it to maintain warm, but the fire is not adequate. “This property doesn’t have a lick of insulation,” Brian says, “all the heat’s going right via the roof” (Walls 176). The lack of heat coupled with the inadequate housing results in freezing nights in the Walls household so intense that a pet lizard of Brian’s even freezes to death one particular night. Rex Walls’ addiction not only prevents him from making funds but also causes him to spend it. When Jeannette forms a tight spending budget to feed the household, Rex takes two days worth of food for beer and cigarettes. His scenario forces them to starve and live in harsh situations, but it also teaches them independence and self-sustainability. Nevertheless, Rex’s alcoholism has an massive impact on the Walls’ lives that is each dangerous and avoidable.
In addition to impacting characters in The Glass Castle, emotionally and financially, Rex Walls’ alcoholism also impacts the household psychologically. Beneath the influence, Rex acts irrationally and is frequently very violent. For instance, on Christmas, the family members celebrates by going to church, decorating, and purchasing gifts for every other. Nevertheless Rex Walls gets drunk and ruins the encounter first by interrupting church with crude comments and then by burning the Christmas tree. Jeannette writes, “when Dad went crazy, we all had our personal techniques of shutting down and closing off,” (Walls 114). This moment clearly demonstrates how alcoholism can influence a child’s psychological overall health, as this was a key turning point in which Jeannette loses trust in her father. One more example of when Rex goes “crazy” is when he relapses and fights Jeannette’s mother, even pulling out a knife and throwing furniture and silverware. This moment is extremely frightening, leaving the Jeannette, Brian and Lori scarred. These instants are traumatizing and bring fear and embarrassment to Jeannette and her siblings that will be remembered forever.
In Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, alcoholism plays a major function in the Walls family members and impacts every member tremendously, specially Jeannette, Brian, and Lori. Emotionally, his alcoholism prevents him from becoming present in his children’s lives. Financially, it prevents him from providing for his loved ones, resulting in poverty and starvation. Moreover, his violent and erratic behavior while intoxicated frightens members of the Walls household and brings embarrassment and trauma to Jeannette and her siblings. Rex Walls’ alcohol addition brings about numerous concerns and has a fantastic influence on the lives of these around him. In addition to eventually becoming what kills him in the finish, Rex’s heavy consumption of alcohol plays a major function in the Walls family members and greatly impacts them emotionally, financially, and psychologically.
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