By Richard MacTough
Dr. Andrea McClanahan, faculty chair of the one book one campus committee, hosted a discussion of “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls.
Students and faculty had the opportunity to discuss the topics important to them in Monroe Hall.
Despite Jeannette Walls’ success and living on Park Avenue in New York, there was something she was still hiding.
Dr. Andrea McClanahan showed a video of Oprah Winfrey interviewing Walls about writing the book.
Her mother, Rosemary Walls, was in attendance on the talk show Like in the beginning of the book, Walls describes the shame of hiding from her mother, seeing Ms. Walls looking through the garbage.
McClanahan asked the audience what they thought about shame, and what rooted Jeannette’s personal shame.
Some believed Walls felt like a fraud from hiding her life growing up.
The audience felt there was shame of her poverties background, as well as hiding her parents.
McClanahan also rekindled a point made from Dr. Marianne Cutler in the previous discussion.
The Walls children were able to get out of poverty because of social capital, an analysis made from a sociology perspective.
Social capital, from a sociology concept, is the social networks between groups of people. Jeannette was able to get her sister, Lori, a summer job with a ticket to New York.
Lori was able to start a new life and bring her sister following her high school graduation. Brian eventually joined his two siblings.
The social relations between the three siblings had a positive influence on their economic status.
Many in the discussion, enjoyed the kids because they took leadership roles.
Dr. Storm Heter was in attendance and spoke about the particular aspect.
One scene in the memoir explains the parents refusing to close their house door, and becomes a problem when an expected town molester is lurking the streets.
“One thing I really loved, Brian chased a possible molester with a hatchet,” said Heter. “The siblings took roles.”
The children at one point wrote a budget for their mother to follow. Jeannette researches and advises her mother to divorce the father, Rex Walls, in order to qualify for welfare. Jeannette openly shows the bond between her and the father.
He calls her “mountain goat,” a special nickname. She struggles to challenge her father to stop drinking and work for the family.
After the Walls children grew into adults, they were able to live with careers and stability.
The audience discussed whether or not it was ok for Rex and Rosemary Walls to continue their lifestyle.
Both lived homeless at times and scavenged for food.
Student Yaasmeen Piper described the experience as being the parent’s last adventure, and added the children were not hurt in the process.
“We can’t always understand why people think or live a certain way, but I think the fact Mr. and Mrs. Walls were happy was enough for them,” said Piper.
Jeannette Walls comes to campus Thursday Nov. 2 to speak about “The Glass Castle.”
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