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AP Lang Summer Assignment Glass Castle

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    Through the repetition of negative circumstances, the author elaborates on the aspect of achieving happiness through tenacity. Juxtaposition between the negative, destructive decisions of the parents and the positive, beneficial decisions of the children show the potentials of the pursuit of happiness. This same juxtaposition between parent and child shows the overall SUccess of the pursuit is not entirely dependent on monetary status. Through the repetition and juxtaposition, the author thoroughly explores the concept of the American Dream, and how it can be pursued and achieved by anyone.

    For the first part of the book, the author is too young to understand that her retirement is not the average upbringing. Her father is an alcoholic, and her mother is somewhat of a free spirit. Neither can maintain jobs, and therefore do not stay in any one place for an extended period of time. Her father continually mentions building his family the “Glass Castle,” a house made completely of glass that he will build his family once they are wealthy enough. This castle represents the overall achievement of happiness later explained by the author. This is where the negative circumstances of the family are discussed.

    Jeannine is urine, and after receiving medical care, is taken from the hospital by her father to avoid paying the bill. “A few days later, when I had been in the hospital for about six weeks, Dad appeared alone in the doorway of my room. He told me we were going to check out, Rexes-Walls style. “(Walls 14) Her father loses job after job, their family moves from town to town, and the children find themselves sleeping in cardboard boxes. Despite constant setbacks, Jennet’s mother remains optimistic, and the family never stops fighting for a better lifestyle.

    This is a key aspect to the American dream; one must never stop trying to achieve happiness. Eventually the children grow old enough to realize their situation is less than ideal, and create a plan to leave. Once the children reach New York, we see the juxtaposition between their success and their parents’ failure almost immediately. All the children successfully obtain employment and begin to support themselves in The Big Apple. While their success blossoms, Jeannine hears of her parents attempt to move to New York, which causes multiple problems. After living with their children sporadically, the parents end up homeless.

    They move from shelter to shelter, getting food from one soup kitchen or another as they wander. This is juxtaposed with Jennet’s successful marriage and relative wealth. With these situations explained, the author is showing the impact that negative decision making can have on achievement of happiness. Jeannine is living a “comfortable” lifestyle after going on her own and making her own positive decisions. No longer being held back by the negativity of alcoholism or refusal to maintain a job, she is achieving happiness at an alarming rate. ‘”Mom’ I said ‘I’m doing very well.

    I’m very, very comfortable. ‘ ‘That’s what I’m worried about,’ Mom said ‘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? ‘” (Walls 269) At the same time, her parents sink farther into unhappiness because of their poor life decisions and lack of determination to achieve happiness. This juxtaposition is continued to show the true nature of happiness as the memoir continues. The children have become successful in their own way. They support themselves and maintain jobs and are happy.

    Concurrently, the parents have come into their own as homeless people. They have become friends with people who are like them, and are in no way unhappy. In this way, the author shows that happiness is not based strictly on social standing. The children have money, the parents do not, but all parties have achieved their happiness. Soon enough, disaster strikes. Maureen stabs their mother, and their father has a fatal heart attack. These events lead Jeannine to divorce her husband and seek a new lifestyle. Years later, the family reunites and discusses old times with their father.

    Maureen is expected to join the family, and it is apparent that all parties involved are happy. Through the use of repetition of negative circumstances which obviously show the necessity for tenacity to achieve happiness, and juxtaposition between relatively well off children and underprivileged parents showing the impact of decisions and the differences in peoples levels of happiness, the author has thoroughly established an explanation of achieving overall happiness, or the “Glass Castle. ” Works Cited Walls, Jennet. The Glass Castle. New York: Scribner’s, 2005. Print.

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