Is Jeannette Wall's The Glass Castle considered a classic?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While Jeannette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle, received rave reviews and earned bestseller status, it is a little too early to label it a classic. Admittedly, the term classic is ambiguous, but generally works have to stand the test of time to reach classic status.

What is interesting, and possibly one of the reasons for the popularity of Walls' memoir, is that she chooses to style the tale of her raw, difficult childhood after classical elements. The Walls family is on a literal journey throughout most of the book, reminding readers of epic quests, such as Odysseus's travels or Don Quixote's search for purpose. Similarly, Wall names the book after the fairy tale element which her father Rex futilely promised to build for her.

Could Jeannette Walls' memoir become a classic? Certainly. With the rise of nonfiction--especially the memoir genre--over the past two decades, the troubling tale of Walls' eccentric childhood and lost dreams possesses all of the necessary elements for it to be read by future generations.

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The Glass Castle

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