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Glass Castle Essay

705 words - 3 pages

Feed the Family or Feed the Addiction: The Act of Enabling as it Relates to The Glass Castle, Society Today, and My Life
In Jeannette Walls’s memoir The Glass Castle, we see quite a bit of unruly, selfish, and addictive behavior. Jeannette and her siblings Lori, Brian, and eventually Maureen, are often left to their own devices. Their parents, Rex and Rose Mary, were riddled with selfishness, addiction, and quite possibly, even though not specifically conveyed, mental illness. Rex’s and Rose Mary’s issues were stifled by the children’s inability to see that by not reaching out for help, they were actually enabling their parents. Although we see quite a bit of enabling throughout the entire book, from not just the children, but the parents and the people around all of them, it is most obviously displayed towards the end of the book when Rose Mary and Lori were both away for the summer, and Jeannette was left in charge of the ...view middle of the document...

“He simply waited for me to fork over the cash, as if he knew I didn’t have it in me to say no” (209). She finally recognized that he was taking advantage of her. Rex had taken advantage of her, her mother, and her siblings quite often, and although it had been brought to her attention previously, she had just never accepted it. “Do you like always moving around?” Lori asked Jeannette (29). At that time Jeannette felt that she loved it, and her attitude towards always doing the “skedaddle” was a small way in which she enabled her parents, especially Rex. Eventually she grew to learn the real reasons for always skedaddling.
As Jeannette and her siblings grew up, moved to different places and added to their life experiences, they all began to realize that their parents were just not the parenting types. They would always spend what little money the family had on things more of a personal nature, rather than food, clothing, and the basic essentials for their family. Rosemary would buy art supplies, and Rex would buy hooch, gamble, and pay prostitutes. All the while, not knowing they were enabling their parents, the kids just dealt with it. Subconsciously, they thought this was the way things were supposed to be. They were the kids, and their parents were the adults. Yet, Lori was basically doing her mother’s job (grading papers and the like), Jeannette was making her own meals since the age of three, and they were all basically left to their own devices time and time again. And then in Welch, the kids were left behind while Rex and Rosemary went to Phoenix to “tie up loose ends.” This leaves the children in a perfect position to get the help they so desperately need, yet they have been led to believe that they do not need help, so they continue to unintentionally enable their parents.
I bet we have all unintentionally enabled someone in our lives before. It happens all too often, and in American pop culture it is all too prevalent. Take Paris Hilton for example. Who is she anyways? She is just the daughter of a very rich man. Seriously, that is all. Yet we, as a society, have enabled her into believing that she means more to us than

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