Poverty. From it stems off more issues than any other social issue facing people today. From it, people are more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol, get a poor education, and be drawn into criminal lifestyles. In some cities, it seems that the rates of people in poverty are only climbing to new heights. Unfortunately, a large majority of these people are young children. They are unable to change their situation because they are born into a world that their parents’ poor choices have made for them. For some children, like the Walls children, they find a way out.
In The Glass Castle, who is to blame for the horrible living conditions of the family? Personally, I blame both of the parents. Firstly, the father is to blame because of his addiction to alcohol. Every time the family comes into a little bit of money, he wastes it all with no concern to how it will affect his children. I also blame the mother, maybe even just as much. In the beginning of the memoir when the children find a ring that could buy them food and decent clothing, the mother keeps it for herself. Not thinking of her starving children, she keeps it out of selfishness. Also, when the mother actually got a paying job, she often refused to go, being to lazy and greedy to get out of bed. She cared more about her tiredness and unwillingness to work more than the lives of her family.
Now that I think of it, I almost blame the mother more than the father. In the end, we find out that the mother owns a large sum of property worth a million dollars. While the children go through life scavenging for food, wearing ragged clothing, and fighting over who gets to sleep with the dogs for warmth in the winter, the mother could have easily solved all of their problems, probably for life, with this money. Also, the mother could have left the father. In all reality she would have been much better off.
When the children leave their family for New York, they made the best decision they ever would. They had been born into a life they could do nothing about. They could not solve their father’s addiction, nor could they do anything about their mother’s depression and selfishness. In leaving to start new lives, they broke away from poverty. When the parents follow them to the city, we see how unwilling the parents are to finding a new life as well. For the first winter, they live on the streets. Then, they find a home in no better condition than the broken down home in Welsh. This may sound horrible, but I do not feel bad at all for the parents. They had so many options to change their situation, even if only in a small way. Instead of trying to make their lives better for both themselves and their family, they ignored their problem and acted as if life was just one big adventure. In my opinion, the roles of the children and the parents was completely backwards in every way. It seemed as though the children wanted a better life for the parents more than the parents wanted decent lives for their children.
If children brought into these situations can change their lives for the better, why cant the adults?