Di you think that jeannette and rex's relationship would be different if he wasn't an alcoholist?

Expert Answers
penelope3907 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Jeannette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle, Jeannette has a soft spot for her alcoholic father, Rex Walls. It's hard to determine how their relationship would be different if he didn't have a drinking problem.

On one hand, some of the things that Jeannette loves most about her father - his creativity, his spontaneity, the adventures he creates for the family - may be fueled by his drinking. Jeannette says that Rex becomes shy and quiet during the brief period he gives up drinking. So it's possible that, if he weren't an alcoholic, they might have missed out on some of the crazy experiences that brought them closer. 

On the other hand, Rex's drinking causes a lot of problems for the family and puts a strain on Jeannette and Rex's relationship. This is especially clear toward the end of the book, when Jeannette is left in charge of the family budget while her mother is away. Though she tries to avoid giving him the grocery money, Jeannette ultimately gives in and later finds herself in an uncomfortable sexual situation with a much older man while Rex gambles to win the money back. 

If Rex were not an alcoholic, it's likely he and Jeannette would have had a more subdued, but far more stable, relationship.