Social Issues in The Glass Castle

There were so many social issues presented in The Glass Castle but I'd like to focus on one. Education, or the lack of. Jeannette and her siblings were denied a proper education because of her parents' life style. They were constantly moving around because of her father and don't even get me started on their Bi Polar mother. It just wasn't fair to these kids the way their parents moved around so much that they never got a proper education.

I think parents involvement in their children's education has a big influence on the outcome. If a parent is involved, asks about their child's homework, how their day was, etc., the child will do better in school because their parent actually cares. On the flip side, if a parent never shows interest in their child's school work, the child may feel that they don't have to try as hard because the parent won't care about the outcome. But this can also work the other way. A child may feel driven to make a better life for themselves despite what their parents care about.

Another negative affect on the Walls children is what would happen to them if they had to take a Standardized Test? They have been moved around so much that they are learning different things and for a very short amount of time. I'm sure there were even places that they lived when their parents didn't even sign them up for school. It's lucky for the Walls children that they were all smart for their ages. They were able to help their mother grade papers when she didn't want to and got into one of her moods when she hated being a teacher and didn't want to do anything.

One of the times that the Walls children suffer in school because of their constant moving around is when their mom takes Jeannette and Brian to sign them up for school and she tells the principal how smart her children are, but they can't understand what he is saying because of his accent. He puts them into the slow classes because he feels that they are dumb, but really they just can't understand him. How unfair is that? Because the parents are moving around all the time their children are denied a proper education.

I'm so glad that Jeannette and her siblings are able to escape their past and turn their lives into something good. Yes, she does sometimes feel guilty that she lives in a fancy apartment while her parents lived on the street, but those are the lives they have all chosen for themselves. Jeannette was able to overcome her past and her lack of education as a child to become successful. That should be the result of children whose parents don't care about their education, but unfortunately many children fall into a routine of falling in their parents' footsteps.


all the worlds a stage said...

i completely agree with you in blaming a large part of the children's lack of education on the parents. i also blame it on their poverty though. so many of the social issues they faced were brought about by this single issue. because they were so underprivelged, they did not make relationships with the other children and had a poor attitude toward school in general because of how they were treated due to things out of their control. i feel that if the parents had been more responsible in thier actions, such as not spending all of their money on alcohol, the children may have had a better schooling experience. for example, after jeanette got away from her family, she attended collge and graduated.

Rigby and the Walrus said...

I definately agree that a child's parents play a key role in a child's successful or unsuccessful education. It is as if Jeanette succeeded in spite of her upbringing, rather than as a result of her childhood. But her parents were smart individuals and did homeschool them on some level (I vaguely remember Walls' recalling learning physics at a young age), so i don't know if the Walls kids were just lucky that they were smart or if on some level their parents helped them for a better future.

turtlebob106 said...

I think that you were hitting the nail on the head when you described the impact of the parents on the children's education. I just smell the irony brewing. I mean logistically speaking one would assume that because their parents were unwilling to get a life, than their children would grow up and be just the same (well at least if you don't include Maureen). I think that the fact that they realized that they needed to work towards a brighter future eventually snapped them out of the mind set that the way they lived was normal. They were wise beyond their years even without the encouragement by their parents.

BandGeek27 said...

I agree as well that the parent's seemed to have a disregard for their children’s public education. This feeling lead Jeanette to a crossroad to either follow her parent's lifestyle or learn from their mistakes and work harder than they had to change her life and break free from the cycle. I feel that although the parent's are to blame for the lack of the children's public education, they did home school them quite a bit and that knowledge seemed to stay with them all. The parents certainly never strived to sabotage their children; they just never saw the importance of staying in one place for their children's sake. Of course it could have been detrimental for Jeanette but she took these struggles and they fortunately made her stronger. Perhaps it was the self-sufficiency the parents instilled in her by their neglect that in turn allowed Jeanette to work hard on her own to learn and be successful. There are many roads one can take when assessing education in the novel, in the long run, but I agree with your statements because the parents were irresponsible for taking them out of school. It was just lucky for them that it drove Jeanette to work even harder.