How would I break down The Glass Castle, for a short summary of a page?

Expert Answers
bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Any time you need to write a summary, you must understand the main ideas of the work you are summarizing. This is why it is necessary to read it more than once. After the first reading, you need to reread and take notes, paying attention to the key points the author is making. You may need to skim certain parts in order to better understand what the main ideas are. Writing a rough draft allows you to add or delete information as needed. You will find a link below that will help you write a summary as well as links to The Glass Castle that will help you further understand it.

The Glass Castle is a memoir, a specific memory of a particular period of time in a person's life. Jeannette Walls writes about her childhood and what it was like to grow up as one of four children with parents who literally neglected them. Her father is an alcoholic, and her mother is a free spirit who views their life of poverty as an adventure. These are general statements about the parents, the kind of statements you are looking for when writing a summary. To discover other main ideas, try answering these questions:

  • What are the most important events in the memoir?
  • How do these events affect each of the children?
  • How do the children feel about their parents?
  • Does the view of the parents change when the children become adults?
  • How does Jeannette's success reflect her childhood?

The title of the memoir should give you a good idea of symbolism and theme. Jeannette's father promises the children that when the family gets rich, he will build them the most magnificent house, all made of glass. He even draws up the blueprints to the house, showing the children what it will look like. The house, however, is never built. It is just one more broken promise.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have a specific question regarding this assignment.