50 The Glass Castle Quotes With Page Numbers and Analysis

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls, is a memoir about how children thrived despite the failures of their parents.

Jeanette’s father was brilliant and charismatic when sober, but he was dishonest and destructive when he drank.

Her mother was a free spirit who didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

The children learned to take care of themselves and become successful. How could such a dysfunctional family remain loyal?

 

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The Glass Castle Quotes With Page Numbers Parts I and II

“Mom always said people worried too much about their children. Suffering when you’re young is good for you, she said. It immunized your body and your soul, and that was why she ignored us kids when we cried. Fussing over children who cry only encouraged them, she told us. That’s positive reinforcement for negative behavior.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 28

This quote from The Glass Castle illustrates how Mom believed that the best thing for her children was to allow them to suffer and fend for themselves, even if it meant ignoring them when they were distressed.

“I lived in a world that at any moment could erupt into fire. It was the sort of knowledge that kept you on your toes.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 34

This quote emphasizes the unpredictability of life and how that can motivate us to stay aware, alert, and prepared for whatever comes our way.

“I wondered if the fire had been out to get me. I wondered if all fire was related, like Dad said all humans were related, if the fire that had burned me that day while I cooked hot dogs was somehow connected o the fire I had flushed down the toilet and the fire burning at the hotel. I didn’t have the answers to those questions, but what I did know was that I lived in a world that at any moment could erupt into fire. It was the sort of knowledge that kept you on your toes.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 34

This quote conveys a sense of uncertainty and danger in the world; it teaches us that life can be unpredictable and we should always be prepared for the unexpected.

“That was the thing to remember about all monsters, Dad said: They love to frighten people, but the minute you stare them down, they turn tail and run. “All you have to do, Mountain Goat, is show old Demon that you’re not afraid.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rex Walls), Page 37

This quote from The Glass Castle shows that even monsters can be beaten when you stand up to them and show them that you are not afraid.

“One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. “You’d be destroying what makes it special,” she said. “It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls and Rose Mary Walls), Page 38

This quote suggests that challenges can lead to greater beauty and strength.

“It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mary Walls), Page 38

 

“I never believed in Santa Claus. None of us kids did. Mom and Dad refused to let us. They couldn’t afford expensive presents and they didn’t want us to think we weren’t as good as other kids who, on Christmas morning, found all sorts of fancy toys under the tree that were supposedly left by Santa Claus.

Dad had lost his job at the gypsum, and when Christmas came that year, we had no money at all. On Christmas Eve, Dad took each one of us kids out into the desert night one by one.

“Pick out your favorite star”, Dad said.

“I like that one!” I said.

Dad grinned, “that’s Venus”, he said. He explained to me that planets glowed because reflected light was constant and stars twinkled because their light pulsed.

“I like it anyway” I said.

“What the hell,” Dad said. “It’s Christmas. You can have a planet if you want.”

And he gave me Venus.

Venus didn’t have any moons or satellites or even a magnetic field, but it did have an atmosphere sort of similar to Earth’s, except it was super hot-about 500 degrees or more. “So,” Dad said, “when the sun starts to burn out and Earth turns cold, everyone might want to move to Venus to get warm. And they’ll have to get permission from your descendants first.

We laughed about all the kids who believed in the Santa myth and got nothing for Christmas but a bunch of cheap plastic toys. “Years from now, when all the junk they got is broken and long forgotten,” Dad said, “you’ll still have your stars.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls and Rex Walls), Page 39

This quote from The Glass Castle is a beautiful reminder of how parents can create meaningful memories for their children despite financial hardship.

Amid poverty, Dad still made Christmas special for his children by taking them out into the desert night, showing them the stars, and giving his daughter Venus as her special present. He made something seemingly ordinary into a special moment that the children will remember forever.

“Those shining stars, he liked to point out, were one of the special treats for people like us who lived out in the wilderness. Rich city folks, he’d say, lived in fancy apartments, but their air was so polluted they couldn’t even see the stars. We’d have to be out of our minds to want to trade places with any of them.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls about her father), Page 39

This quote suggests that even though living in the wilderness can be difficult, it has special rewards that those living in the city cannot access. It emphasizes how important it is to appreciate the little things in life.

“Years from now, when all the junk they got is broken and long forgotten, you’ll still have your stars.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rex Walls), Page 41

This quote encourages us to keep our hopes and dreams alive, even when our material possessions don’t last forever. It reminds us that we can always look to the stars for guidance and inspiration.

“We laughed about all the kids who believed in the Santa Clause myth and got nothing but a bunch of cheap plastic toys. ‘Years from now, when all the junk they got is broken and long forgotten,’ Dad said, ‘ you’ll still have your stars.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator and Rex Walls), Page 41

 

“Whoever coined the phrase ‘a man’s got to play the hand that was dealt him’ was most certainly one piss-poor bluffer.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 55

 

This quote suggests that changing one’s life circumstances is possible, even if it seems difficult or impossible. Even if you don’t have many resources, you can take control of your life and make a better future.

“Why spend the afternoon making a meal that will be gone in an hour,” she’d ask us, “when in the same amount of time, I can do a painting that will last forever?”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mary Walls), Page 56

 

This quote from The Glass Castle inspires us to focus our time and energy on creating lasting impact instead of fleeting moments.

“Then he pointed to the top of the fire, where the snapping yellow flames dissolved into an invisible shimmery heat that made the desert beyond seem to waver, like a mirage. Dad told us that zone was known in physics as the boundary between turbulance and order. “It’s a place where no rules apply, or at least they haven’t figured ’em out yet,” he said. “You-all got a little close to it today.” 

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator about Rex Walls), Page 61

 

This quote from The Glass Castle shows that while there is chaos and disorder in life, sometimes we can find a balance between them and that order can be achieved. Her dad’s words suggest that anything is possible with a bit of exploration.

“If you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rex Walls), Page 66

 

This quote suggests that to succeed and make it through difficult times. You must figure out how to deal with the obstacles to stay afloat. It implies that you must take the initiative and do whatever it takes to reach your goals.

“You can’t cling to the side your whole life, that one lesson every parent needs to teach a child is “If you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator and Rex Walls), Page 66

 

“No child is born a delinquent. They only became that way if nobody loved them when they were kids. Unloved children grow up to be serial murderers or alcoholics.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mary Walls), Page 83

 

This quote emphasizes the importance of providing love and support to children, as it can have a great impact on their future development. Without love and support, children can feel neglected and undervalued, which can lead to them developing negative behaviors.

“If you had weak eyes, they needed exercise to get strong. Glasses were like crutches. They prevented people with feeble eyes from seeing the world on their own.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator quoting her mother), Page 96

 

This quote from The Glass Castle speaks to the importance of self-reliance and facing challenges head-on. It suggests that even if we have physical, mental, or emotional limitations, we should not stop strengthening them and becoming independent.

People who rely too heavily on crutches, such as glasses, may not become strong and develop a sense of self-sufficiency.

“Don’t worry, God understands,’ Mom said. ‘He knows that your father is a cross we must bear.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mary Walls), Page 105

 

This quote from The Glass Castle emphasizes the importance of family. No matter what mistakes or hardships your family may endure, it can be comforting to remember that God understands and knows the real reason behind it.

“Mom told us we would have to go shoplifting.

Isn’t that a sin?” I asked Mom.

Not exactly,” Mom said. “God doesn’t mind you bending the rules a little if you have a good reason. It’s sort of like justifiable homicide. This is justifiable pilfering.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls and Rose Mary Walls), Page 111

 

This quote from The Glass Castle shows how Mom’s attitude toward morality differed from most people’s. She seemed to think that there were certain cases where bending the rules was permitted—even if it meant doing something generally considered wrong.

Mom likens her idea of “justifiable pilfering” to “justifiable homicide,” implying that there are certain situations in which it is acceptable to do something that would usually be considered immoral.

“Sometimes you have to get sicker before you can get better.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls quoting her mother), Page 118

 

This quote from The Glass Castle reminds us that it sometimes takes hitting rock bottom before we can change and start growing. This idea applies to many areas of life, especially when stuck in a difficult or unhealthy situation.

“Maybe I should have cut him some slack. With his broken wing and lifetime of eating roadkill, he probably had a lot to be ungrateful about. Too much hard luck can create a permanent meanness of spirit in any creature.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator about her father), Page 120

 

“Too much hard luck can create a permanent meanness of spirit in any creature.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 120

 

The Glass Castle Part III Quotes: Welch

“Life is a drama full of tragedy and comedy. You should learn to enjoy the comic episodes a little more.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mary Walls), Page 129

 

“You should never hate anyone, even your worst enemies. Everyone has something good about them. You have to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mary Walls), Page 144

 

“I hate Erma,” I told Mom…

“You have to show compassion for her…” She added that you should never hate anyone, even your worst enemies. “Everyone has something good about them,” she said. “You have to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that.”

“Oh yeah?” I said. “How about Hitler? What was his redeeming quality?”

“Hitler loved dogs,” Mom said without hesitation.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls and Rose Mary Walls), Page 144

 

“She was developing what Mom called a bit of a sarcastic streak.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator about Lori Walls), Page 151

 

“Life’s too short to care about what other people think. Besides, they should accept us for who we are”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mary Walls), Page 157

 

“One thing about whoring: It put a chicken on the table.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator about Ginnie Sue), Page 163

 

“Life there was hard and it made people hard.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 164

 

“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 168

 

“She had her addictions and one of them was reading.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator about her mother), Page 168

 

“All seasons have something to offer”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mary Walls), Page 177

 

“What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mar Walls), Page 179

 

“Once you go on welfare it changes you. Even if you get off welfare, you never escape the stigma that you were a charity case. You’re scarred for life.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mary Walls), Page 188

 

“But the positive thoughts would give way to negative thoughts, and the negative thoughts seemed to swoop into her mind the way a big flock of black crows takes over the landscape, sitting thick in the trees and on the fence rails and lawns, staring at you in ominous silence.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 207

 

“Unlike diamonds, watches were practical. They were for people on the run, people with appointments to keep and schedules to meet.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 216

 

“If you want to be treated like a mother,” I said, “you should act like one.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls to her mother), Page 219

 

“Once you’d resolved to go, there was nothing to it at all.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 225

 

“You West Virginia girls are one tough breed,” he said.

You got that right,” I told him.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls and Evan), Page 246

 

“You’re in a horse race but you’re thinking like a sheep. Sheep don’t win horse races.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rex Walls), Page 227

 

The Glass Castle Part IV Quotes: New York City

“New Yorkers, I figured, just pretended to be unfriendly.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 246

 

“You didn’t need a college degree to become one of the people who knew what was really going on. If you paid attention, you could pick things up on your own.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 250

 

“Sometimes you need a little crisis to get your adrenaline flowing and help you realize your potential.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mary Walls about Lori Walls), Page 254

 

“Things usually work out in the end.”

“What if they don’t?”

“That just means you haven’t come to the end yet.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Characters: Rose Mary Walls and Jeannette Walls), Page 259

 

“Look at the way you live. You’ve sold out. Next thing I know you’ll become a Republican.” She shook her head. “Where are the values I raised you with?”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mary Walls to Jeannette Walls), Page 269

 

“I wanted to let the world know that no one had a perfect life, that even the people who seemed to have it all had their secrets.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 270

 

“No one expected you to amount to much,” she told me. “Lori was the smart one, Maureen the pretty one, and Brian the brave one. You never had much going for you except that you always worked hard.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Rose Mary Walls about Lori Walls), Page 270

 

“But I also hoped that Maureen had chosen California because she thought that was her true home, the place where she really belonged, where it was always warm and you could dance in the rain, pick grapes right off the vines, and sleep outside at night under the stars.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls about Maureen Walls), Page 276

 

“I felt best when I was on the move, going someplace rather than being there.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator), Page 280

 

The Glass Castle Part V Quotes: Thanksgiving

“….he said it was interesting. He used the word ‘textured’. He said ‘smooth’ is boring but ‘textured’ was interesting, and the scar meant that I was stronger than whatever had tried to hurt me.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Jeannette Walls as the narrator about John), Page 286

 

“It’s really not that hard to put food on the table if that’s what you decide to do.”

~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, (Character: Brian Walls), Page 288

 

The Glass Castle Summary 

The Glass Castle is a memoir by Jeannette Walls about her unconventional upbringing. The book follows Walls as she recounts growing up in an unstable environment with her reckless and nonconformist parents.

Despite their lifestyle, Walls’ parents instilled a love of learning, courage, and resilience in her and her siblings to face life’s obstacles. The Glass Castle is an inspiring story about the power of family and the importance of pursuing one’s dreams.

The memoir reflects Walls’ journey to adulthood, from living in poverty and nomadic life to finding success and stability. She reflects on her life with humor and heartache, speaking about the strength of family bonds and resilience.

 

The Glass Castle Characters

The Glass Castle Walls family includes the following:

  • Jeannette Walls: The protagonist and narrator
  • Rex Walls: Jeannette’s father
  • Rose Mary Walls: Jeanette’s mother
  • Lori Walls: Jeanette’s older sister
  • Brian Walls: Jeannette’s little brother
  • Maureen Walls: Jeannette’s little sister
  • Grandma Smith: Jeannette’s maternal grandmother
  • Erma Walls: Jeannette’s paternal grandmother

 

What is the glass castle a metaphor for?

The Glass Castle is a metaphor for resilience, hope, and the power of family. It symbolizes the walls Jeanette Walls built around herself to protect her from her unstable and chaotic childhood.

The Glass Castle also represents the idea that although life can be difficult, it is still possible to make something beautiful.

The metaphor reminds us that no matter what we face, we can overcome it with strength and courage. It reminds us of the importance of family and how, with their support, we can get through even the most challenging times.

 

The Best Book Quotes With Page Numbers

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