Parents who are selfish have a big effect on children. The way children are raised all depends on the parents. If they aren’t a good parent to your children and let selfishness get in the way of raising their children the right away it can have a large impact on the children’s lives in the future. When becoming a parent your job then becomes being a parent first over everything. Having a family means you do everything you can for the family even if it involves putting other things before your personal wants and desires. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a perfect example of selfishness in parents having a large affect on their children in the long run. The Glass Castle isn’t just a story but it is someone’s actual life that was affected by selfish parents. The story is told by Jeannette Walls and is the story of her life and the ups and downs that she went through as a child with troubled parents and how it affected her life. Jeannette was the middle child out of four siblings. She had an older sister Lori, a younger brother Brian, a younger sister Maureen, an alcoholic father and a mother who was only focused on perusing her dream of becoming and artist.
The selfishness started at an early age with Jeannette and her parents. Jeannette was three years old when she was alone in her kitchen in a trailer park in Arizona, standing on a chair cooking hotdogs over a stove when next thing she knew she was on fire. Her father was not home and her mother was in the other room distracted and working on one of her paintings. She was only three years old and her mother who should have been watching her small child was too busy working on a painting to notice that her daughter was over a stove cooking her food. The father was not home and when Rosemary Walls heard her daughter yelling and saw her in flames she wrapped her up and ran to the neighbors to call for help. Jeannette was hospitalized with severe burns. The nurses questioned, why a three year old was left alone cooking over a stove with no supervision. Rex and Mary Walls knew the nurses were asking questions and did not want to pay for a medical bill so they claimed that Jeannette did not need the hospital to get better, then they picked her up and ran out of the hospital without looking back while the nurses tried to stop them.
It was irresponsible of them to take their daughter with severe burns out of the hospital without having the nurse’s permission. The parents were only thinking of themselves and how this would effect them; they were not thinking of their daughter. The parent’s selfishness also impacted in the way the children were raised. The family was living in a town called Battle Mountain. The mother Rosemary Walls had a teaching job at the Battle Mountain Intermediate School. Rex Walls was unemployed and they live in a run down house with barely any food or clothes for the children. They were staying in the desert sleeping under the stars before Rosemary got the job at the school where the children were also enrolled. Rosemary believed that rules and discipline held people back and believed the best way to let children fulfill their potential was by giving them freedom. At the school Rosemary was teaching for, other teachers and even the principle started to become curious about the way Mary was teaching the students. Rosemary put her hardheaded beliefs first when it came to teaching instead of teaching the right way to keep a steady job to provide for the family.
Rex would use the money Rosemary made to take the family to the Owl club, a local diner, to eat steak every Friday instead of doing the responsible thing and using the money to buy a week worth of groceries. Rex was selfish with the money and used it for what he wanted without thinking of the family. The children would go days without lunch for school and Jeannette would often wait for everyone to leave the cafeteria to get uneaten food out of the trash. Rex’s selfishness also effected the children’s feelings and the way they viewed their parents. There was a place called The Green Lantern in Battle Mountain where a girl named Ginger worked. The Green Lantern was a whorehouse. One night Rex took Brian, and Ginger from the green lantern to dinner, after dinner Rex bought a hotel room where the three of them went. Rex and Ginger went into a bedroom leaving young Brian in the room by himself with his comic book. Brian knew what was going on but Rex put himself before the rest of the family and even betrayed Mary. Rex and Mary Walls put their selfishness first, not thinking at all about the needs of his son. The parents selfishness impacted the children’s life because they never did have a place to call home.
The Walls family just up and left Battle Mountain allowing the children to bring only one thing and to leave the rest of their belongings there. Mary enrolled the children into a public school in Phoenix the parents didn’t have any past record of their children or even their birth certificates. The house in Phoenix belonged to Jeannette’s grandmother who had passed away. Mary didn’t even mention to her children that their grandmother that they used to visit occasionally had passed away. Her mother left the house for Mary. Mary figured she would turn the front bedroom of her house into her art studio; she spent money on canvas’s, paint, and pastels for her studio when they could have used money for the children. Rex and Mary let the house go, they didn’t care and the house got cockroaches and termites. Phoenix was filled with gypsies and perverts. At night the parents wouldn’t even lock the doors or windows to their house letting the perverts look into Jeannette’s bedroom window at night.
The father’s selfishness ruined holidays that were meant for family. That winter the Walls wanted to have a good Christmas, they had presents under the tree. Rex was out drinking the night of Christmas, when he came stumbling home Rex used the new lighter Mary got him and lite the Christmas tree and all the presents and watched as it went up in flames. Rex sat and laughed as the family put out the fire and tried to save the presents. Rex ruined Christmas for the family because of his selfish ways and putting alcohol before his family on Christmas, a holiday meant for spending time with family. That Christmas was one Jeannette and her siblings would never forget. The parent’s selfishness was teaching the children that instead of facing the problems, you run from them. The family moved to Welch, West Virginia in a run down house they bought after getting kicked out of living with Rex’s parents because his mother touched Brian inappropriately and the Rex and Mary didn’t believe the kids because they were being selfish and just wanted somewhere to stay and have someone to watch the kids.
The family lived in a run down house with no electric or heat. “The cold weather kills the germs”, Mary would say. They hadn’t had clean clothes in months and Lori and Jeannette were getting fed up with living that way. They knew they would never have a chance at a happy life unless they left. They worked all summer to save money for a bus ticket to New York; they saved up enough money to send Lori there the day after she graduated. One day Jeannette came home to their hidden piggy bank broken on the floor. They knew it could of only been one person who took the money. Rex didn’t come home for four days and when he did he claimed to know nothing about the money witch was a lie. Rex had stolen his own children’s money to go out and blow it on booze. Lori was devastated but landed a babysitting job that would put her on a bus to New York at the end of the summer and that’s just what she did. Jeannette would shortly follow Lori to live in New York and go to college. The parent’s selfishness taught the children not to let their parents take advantage of them and to make something of themselves.
Jeannette and Lori were finally in New York and away from their parents. The best part was, they did it all on their own. Lori decided to have Brian and Maureen come live in New York with them. Jeannette got her own apartment. A few months later they received a call from Rex and Mary who had decided to move to New York as well. They were living on the streets but that’s where they wanted to be. Jeannette was embarrassed of her parents now that she had a nice life she created for herself. Jeannette went to an Ivy League school in New York and her parents were living on the street right around her. Jeannette never told anyone about her parents and would even lie about them if necessary, she was ashamed. Later Jeannette found that her mother owned land in Texas worth a million dollars. Rex and Mary had many chances to make life better for their children growing up. They never did, they were selfish and it caused their children to leave their parents and to later be embarrassed of them. All the years of Jeannette and her siblings cold and hungry and the whole time Mary had a million dollar land she owned.
That wasn’t the only time Rex and Mary Walls put themselves before what was best for their family and children. The children once found a diamond ring in some dirt when they were playing one day. Instead of pawning the ring to get groceries or clothes for the children Mary decided to keep the ring and wear it in place of the wedding ring Rex had once pawned. Rex even took Jeannette to a bar where he won money from a drunken guy playing pool and in exchange let the man take Jeannette up to his room. Selfishness in parents has a big affect on children. Usually the person you grow up to be is all determined on your childhood and how you were raised.
Your childhood makes you who you are and it can either make you or break you. Stronger people don’t let it break you. Jeannette and her siblings did just that, they decided they shouldn’t be treated or raised the way that they were so they did something about it and they made a life for themselves. Jeannette’s childhood will always be apart of her and haunt her. Childhood is something a person doesn’t forget. The actions of Rex and Mary Walls made Jeannette into who she is today because one day she decided not to let her selfish parents give her an unhappy life anymore and she did something for her and her siblings and that was getting away from Welch and not letting her parents take advantage of them any longer.
This is a picture of Welch West Virginia where Jeannette Walls and her family lived together last. This is the place when things really started getting tough for Jeannette. Welch was the last straw for Jeannette and her siblings and being in Welch is what pushed them to get away from the not so great life their parents had provided them and for Jeannette and Lori to follow their dreams and make a happy life for themselves.
This is a picture of New York. Without the dreams of living in New York they would have never made it out of Welch and away from their parents. New York pushed them to make a happy life for themselves and not to let their selfish parents use them any longer.
Courtney from Study Moose
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