What are three significant things that impact Jeannette's life in The Glass Castle?

There are many events that impact Jeannette's life found in The Glass Castle. One is when Jeannette's father drives drunk and she falls out of his car, lacerating her face. Another formative moment is when the father comes home drunk with a head wound and demands that she sew him up. Here, she proves that she can get through horrific tasks. The final formative moment is when she and her siblings kick out their parents and they become homeless.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Jeannette's entire story is one horrific tale after another. In the end, she believes that even though she had a rough childhood, it made her the strong and independent woman she eventually becomes. Here are some of the more memorable events to me:

When Jeannette is young, her father is...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Jeannette's entire story is one horrific tale after another. In the end, she believes that even though she had a rough childhood, it made her the strong and independent woman she eventually becomes. Here are some of the more memorable events to me:

When Jeannette is young, her father is driving drunk. He has left a bar and is still holding a beer as he drives. He takes a sharp turn and Jeannette falls out of the car. Her nose is bleeding, pebbles are lodged in her forehead and cheeks, and she is utterly alone on the side of the road. She sits for a while waiting for her parents to return, and then decides she needs to walk for help. She then changes her mind again and decides that her parents won't know where she is if she leaves, so she returns to the road. After a long time, her father returns. He laughs the trauma off, telling Jeannette that her "snot locker" is really bleeding.

As Jeannette gets back into the car, the family laughs about the joke. Jeannette says the joke is "hilarious." Of course, the dark truth is that this scenario is far from funny—it's child endangerment. Although she is too young to see it at the time, the accident begins to form a pattern in the story of Jeannette's life. Her parents cannot be trusted to keep her safe.

Jeannette isn't much older when her father comes home one night with a gash in his head so deep that she can see the white of his skull. Since she's the only one awake, he instructs her to grab a needle and black thread and sew him up. She protests, but he insists that she can do it and that he is so "pickled" that he won't feel it, anyway. Jeannette, just a child, does as told and applies stitches to her father's forehead. She wills herself to keep her eyes open as she completes the task, proving that she can do difficult things that she'd rather avoid.

Toward the end of the book, the siblings are all adults, and they have their own lives and places to live. One of the most life-changing decisions Jeannette and her siblings make is forcing their parents to move out of all their homes. Neither parent can hold a job, their father still comes home drunk, and both parents refuse to adhere to basic rules of living with their children. Thus, they collectively decide that their parents need to move out of all their houses. The couple becomes homeless. Although a tough decision, this provides some needed boundaries for Jeannette and her siblings so that they can move on with their lives more productively.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team