Thursday, 13 March 2014

'The Glass Castle' Presentation

Presentation outline:

  • Beginning by outlining the differences between their poverty stricken life in the desert and their more middle class life in Phoenix and the problems that these two contrasts give them
  • Discussing how Jeannette's Dad always struggles with their easier life in Phoenix and refuses to give in to the conformist society that they have now joined - he believes hard work is the key and perhaps desires it more here

  • Seeing the Dad that thrives in his desert surroundings and is the fun, respectable, caring, affectionate, (mainly) sober father figure that Jeannette needs, but how this shows her mother to be lazy as she has a degree but is failing to work for her family's needs
  • How their lack of success highlights their physical poverty, but they rarely suffer an emotional poverty (i.e. having a lack of something) as they are a happy, close-knit, caring family unit
    But drawing on Jeannette's parents inability to provide them with the stability that they need

  • The physical poverty is absent when they move to their mansion style house in Phoenix but a sense of emotional poverty foregrounds the events
  • Her Dad becomes an alcoholic again because he struggles with his higher position in society and perhaps feels misplaced or as if he is living a lie
  • 'Figuring out how to swim' - the chances that America gives and how her Dad has reached rock bottom (therefore turning to alcoholism and learning to 'swim' without alcohol)
  • The Grand Canyon roadtrip is a mark of their new conventionalist status in society
  • But having to hitchhike with a rich, middle class lady makes him realise how he can take care of his family in his home of the desert (shown by the way that he revels in the freedom of the open road and speeds) but cannot in the new, troubling society
  • Jeannette suffers from an emotional poverty seeing her father turn back to alcohol after he promised her sobriety for her birthday and 'the glass castle' becomes a metaphor for all of his empty promises that he never fulfils (i.e. she can almost see through to the other side but the walls always stop her and her father from getting their better life)
  • Beginning of novel in New York - she can't escape her past as she sees her mother and is using her middle class life to cover her past but even then, still has dysfunctional family ties

  • The novel shows America and Jeannette's story as a family driven place and how material success doesn't always prevent poverty or emotional security

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