Jeannette Walls Jeannette is the narrator of the story who has an optimistic, intelligent and forgiving character. She is always optimistic. She tries to learn how to swim. When her father drops her into the water; she optimistically thinks that her father’s purpose is inspiring her to learn: “I figured he must be right, there was no other way to explain it.” (66) In addition to being optimistic, she has a forgiving nature. She knows that her parents neglect their children but she forgives them for their irresponsibility and tries to see the good dimensions of their characters: “But despite all the hell-raising and destruction and chaos he had created in our lives, I could not imagine what my life would be like- without him in it. As awful as he could be, I always knew he loved me in a way no one else ever had.”(279) Jeannette is also intelligent because she understands if she moves away from her parents and Welch, she can make life changing decisions for herself and use her talent to make a better life. “I’d spent so much time in Welch trying to make things a little bit better, but nothing had worked.”(237)
Rex Walls is Jeannette’s father. He has a very complex character. He is a dreamer and brilliant man when he is not drinking, although his alcoholism makes him a destructive and irresponsible father. He is a dreamer. He has a dream to build a Glass Castle for his family but he never follows through with his plans and he is not able to make his mind up. It shows that his idea is impractical and unrealistic. He is also a brilliant man who teaches and inspires his children with new and interesting ideas. In spite of poverty and having no money to buy Christmas presents, he “[takes] each of [the] kids out into the desert night one by one”(39) and gives them the stars as everlasting Christmas presents and makes them happy. Unfortunately, Rex’s alcoholism has a destructive effect on his personality and on the entire family. He loses his jobs frequently and finally he refuses to search for a job, so his family suffers from this lack of income.
Rose Mary Walls
Jeannette’s mom, Rose Mary Walls, is an artist who spends lots of time to paint or sketch instead of taking care of her children. Although she has grown up in a structured home, under supervision of her disciplined mother, she becomes a free spirit person and doesn’t like to follow rules: “I don’t want to be pigeonholed.”(38) Jeannette’s mom as like as her dad is irresponsible. Although she has a teaching license, she refuses to earn money for her family. She is also a selfish mother because she hides money to buy chocolate for herself while her children have nothing to eat.