The Glass Castle

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The eldest of the Walls children. Lori is usually absent from the adventures of Jeannette and Brian, but is cool and calm in the face of crisis, as when she takes Dad’s pistol to defend the siblings again Billy Deel, who has showed up with a BB gun to get revenge on Jeanette for spurning him. An avid reader and extremely intelligent, Lori stands a bit apart from the rest of the family; at school, too, she dresses and acts differently. From an early age, she decides she wants to be an artist, and as the first of the siblings to move to New York, she pursues this dream by working at a German restaurant in the city to save up money.

Lori Walls Quotes in The Glass Castle

The The Glass Castle quotes below are all either spoken by Lori Walls or refer to Lori Walls. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Scribner edition of The Glass Castle published in 2006.
Part 2 Quotes

“I wonder what life will be like now,” I said to Lori.
“The same,” she said. “[Dad] tried stopping before, but it never lasted.”
“This time it will.”
“How do you know?”
“It’s his present to me.”

Related Characters: Jeannette Walls (speaker), Lori Walls (speaker), Rex Walls
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:

Jeannette has asked Dad to give up drinking as his birthday present to her, a request that deeply upsets him, as he realizes that Jeannette must be deeply ashamed of him. Now he has barricaded himself away in a committed attempt to rid himself of his addiction. Lori, however, is far more skeptical than Jeannette about the possibility of Dad truly getting sober. She prefers to judge the chances on the basis of experience: having failed to see a noticeable change in Dad's actions, she doesn't want to get her hopes up about this new commitment. A few years older than Jeannette, Lori has learned to only rely on herself rather than on others so as not to be disappointed again and again.

In some ways, Jeannette has begun to share Lori's skepticism - indeed, she has at least come to terms with the reality of Dad's drinking. But she is convinced that Dad's love for her is such that this time he tries to give up will be different. Jeannette doesn't really see Dad's addiction as a disease, but rather as something under his control, which, if he only wants or tries hard enough, he'll be able to conquer. Part of her illusions thus rests on this innocent view of adult problems.

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Part 3 Quotes

“Why do I always have to be the one who earns the money?” Mom asked. “You have a job. You can earn money. Lori can earn money, too. I’ve got more important things to do.”

Related Characters: Rose Mary Walls (speaker), Jeannette Walls, Lori Walls
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:

Lori and Mom have both returned from their summers away at the same time, both captivated and excited by the time spent developing their own artistic capacities. The book implies that, for all Lori's frustrations with her parents, there are some things she shares with Mom too. However, it is certainly troubling that Mom has a similarly self-absorbed reaction to a teenage girl, who lacks the responsibilities and tasks of a mother of three. Mom seems to refuse to accept that she does indeed have such responsibilities. Instead, she seems to be jealous of her daughters' own paths towards independence, and to want similar things for herself, even at the expense of taking care of her children. The artistic projects that Mom wants to pursue are "more important," in her mind, than the necessary but, to her, boring tasks of raising a family.

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Lori Walls Character Timeline in The Glass Castle

The timeline below shows where the character Lori Walls appears in The Glass Castle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2: The Desert
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Jeannette’s family—Mom, Dad, Brian, and Jeannette’s older sister Lori— comes to visit, loudly interrupting the hospital’s calm. Mom is unhappy that Jeannette has tried... (full context)
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...see Jeanette in the hospital, Dad tells Jeannette a story she knows well, about when Lori was stung by a scorpion. Since Dad didn’t trust hospitals, he took her to a... (full context)
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That night, they sleep under the stars, and when Jeannette tells Lori that they could live like this forever, Lori responds, “I think we’re going to.” (full context)
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...tells us that Dad left the Air Force because he wanted to strike gold; then Lori was born and a second daughter, Mary Charlene, who died at nine months old, followed... (full context)
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...at the Bar None Bar for hours and leave the three kids outside. Jeannette asks Lori how many places they’ve lived, and Lori asks what she means by living somewhere: “If... (full context)
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...works on paintings, sketches, and sculptures while also writing and illustrating stories (spell-checked by seven-year-old Lori). The kids often accompany her to paint the Joshua tree again and again. When Jeannette... (full context)
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One day, Jeannette arrives home from exploring to learn from Lori that Dad has lost his job. Dad, though, claims he just wants to devote his... (full context)
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...to steal inconspicuous pieces of food from other kids’ lunch boxes at schools. One day, Lori and Jeannette eat a stick of margarine mixed with sugar. Mom gets mad, saying she... (full context)
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...a job at the Battle Mountain Intermediate School, and is immediately hired and assigned to Lori’s class. She is against rules and doesn’t care how her students act or work. The... (full context)
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...school principal, Miss Beatty, especially disapproves of Mom’s teaching tactics. Afraid Mom will be fired, Lori, Brian, and Jeannette start helping out with classroom tasks and homework grading. (full context)
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Lori corrects Mom’s spelling—she loves reading and writing and, according to Jeannette, is brilliant. (full context)
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Lori and Brian agree that Dad spends more money on alcohol than on family necessities, but... (full context)
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The day after that, Billy comes to meet Lori, Brian, and Jeannette at her house and calls out Jeannette’s name. Lori tries to tell... (full context)
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Lori, as the oldest, runs upstairs and comes down with Dad’s real pistol. Billy goads her... (full context)
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...rock collection, since Dad has told the kids they can only bring one thing each. Lori counters that the collection is more than one thing—in that logic, she could bring her... (full context)
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When the kids have their first eye and ear exams, the nurse tells Mom that Lori needs glasses. Mom initially refuses, saying glasses are like crutches and eyes just need exercise,... (full context)
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Later, though, Lori starts drawing and painting the details on the house and landscapes on the desert. She... (full context)
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...union, makes good, steady money. After his first payday, he buys three new bicycles for Lori, Brian, and Jeannette—their first. Jeannette marvels at the seat, purple color, and chrome handlebars with... (full context)
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The kids spend many hours with Lori as navigator (with a map procured from a gas station) biking down central Avenue to... (full context)
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...with several new dresses, and Mom reemerges with one tucked under a raincoat, while Brian, Lori, and Jeannette make noise to distract the shop employee. (full context)
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...inside the bank while Mom simultaneously takes out the money through the drive-through. He tells Lori, who objects, that he is simply getting back at the rich bank owners who swindle... (full context)
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...kids see him, though he’s pale and thin with shaking hands, and he’s never hungry. Lori tells Jeannette that it won’t last, but Jeannette insists it will, since getting sober was... (full context)
Part 3: Welch
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Lori congratulates Jeannette on standing up to Erma, but Mom says that they have to remember... (full context)
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...pick up the bikes, school records, and other things left in the house. Mom leaves Lori in charge and tells the kids to listen to Erma. (full context)
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Jeannette yells at Erma to stop and calls her a pervert. Lori runs in and tells everyone to calm down, but Erma slaps her and the two... (full context)
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...acted towards Dad as she did with Brian—it would explain a lot, she thinks. But Lori tells her not to think about it, or she’ll go crazy. (full context)
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Still committed to the adventure of it, Mom tries to teach Lori and Jeannette how to use the house’s sewing machine to make dresses, though they turn... (full context)
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Jeannette, Brian, and Lori begin to sleep with makeshift weapons by their heads, while Maureen spends nights at other... (full context)
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Lori is the family’s biggest reader, and enjoys fantasy and science fiction. Jeannette prefers books about... (full context)
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...and the snow starts to melt, it becomes difficult to find dry wood. One day Lori uses kerosene as an aid (against Dad’s wishes, since he says it’s dangerous and unnatural)... (full context)
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When Mom asks if the kids have something nice to say about Erma, Lori responds, “Ding-dong, the witch is dead.” The others start laughing, but Dad looks furious and... (full context)
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...that it’s difficult to make ends meet with four kids and an alcoholic husband, but Lori and Jeannette draw up a budget as if they were in charge of the money,... (full context)
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...sometimes feels badly about not taking care of Maureen, so that year, she, Brian, and Lori save for months to buy Maureen a toy kitchen set at the dollar store. On... (full context)
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Lori tries to console Mom as she sobs under the covers, but Jeannette looks on, feeling... (full context)
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Lori, though, feels sorry for Mom for being married to Dad. When Jeannette says that Mom... (full context)
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That summer, Mom leaves for Charleston to take college courses for her teaching certificate. Lori is heading to a state-sponsored summer camp, so Mom leaves Jeannette with two hundred dollars,... (full context)
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At the end of August, Lori returns from camp bursting with stories about the friends, food, and songs of her summer.... (full context)
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...asks Jeannette why she should be the one earning money, and says that Jeannette and Lori can get jobs. (full context)
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...never allow anyone to whip her like that again; and second, that she would follow Lori in escaping from Welch and their family. (full context)
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...by their clever, complex humor and the symbolist foreign films they show. After one showing, Lori shows them her illustrations and they say that New York City is the place to... (full context)
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Jeannette offers to make her escape fund a joint fund, and she and Lori name the piggy bank Oz. Lori starts to paint commissioned posters for Welch High students... (full context)
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As Lori’s graduation from high school approaches, she has fears for her future in New York—the escape... (full context)
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Lori then puts together a portfolio for the Cooper Union art school, but spills coffee on... (full context)
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...his plays were written by a group of people. As Dad is explaining this to Lori, he reaches over to the sculpture and wipes off the mouth, renaming it the Mute... (full context)
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Jeannette says that Lori should still go to New York, get a job, and save up until she can... (full context)
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Dad sulks since the entire family is upset with him, and wonders aloud why Lori would even want to go to a dirty sinkhole like New York. (full context)
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...worth of money that they have saved, but when she goes into the living room, Lori can tell from her face that something is wrong. She runs into the bedroom and... (full context)
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Dad doesn’t come home for three days, and when he does he seems nonchalant despite Lori’s and Jeannette’s fury. He throws a few dollars at them. Jeannette asks him why he’s... (full context)
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...pay for her ticket back to Welch. Jeannette tells the mother, Mrs. Sanders, to take Lori instead, and to buy her a return ticket to New York City rather than Welch. (full context)
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The day Lori leaves, she refuses to say a word to Dad, but hugs the rest of the... (full context)
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In New York, Lori is working as a waitress at a German Restaurant, taking classes, and loving how art... (full context)
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Lori offers Jeannette a place in her apartment, and Brian starts counting down the months, as... (full context)
Part 4: New York City
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At the bus station, Lori’s friend Evan meets her. He offers to carry her suitcase, but Jeannette soon takes it... (full context)
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Jeannette meets Lori at the restaurant where she works, called Zum Zum. As she waitresses, Lori speaks in... (full context)
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Jeannette wanders around while she’s waiting for Lori, and finds that New Yorkers, once they learn you’re not trying to get something from... (full context)
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Lori and Jeannette head to the Evangeline, a women’s hostel, that evening. Jeannette notices an orange... (full context)
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That summer, Jeannette and Lori move into an apartment in the South Bronx, a bit shabby but far nicer and... (full context)
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Sometimes Mom and Dad call from Welch, usually with new problems to report. When Lori hears that Maureen has fallen off the porch and gashed her head, she decides to... (full context)
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Lori, Jeanette, and Brian bring Maureen anyway. She lives with Lori, and they enroll her in... (full context)
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The next day, Mom and Dad meet all four of their children at Lori’s apartment. When Jeannette, who still feels a little hostile, asks why they’ve moved to New... (full context)
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Lori then lets her parents stay with her for a time. After a few months the... (full context)
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After giving Mom multiple deadlines for cleaning up, Lori finally kicks her out and she moves into the van as well. After a few... (full context)
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A few times a month, the entire family still all meet up at Lori’s apartment, where Mom tells the kids that they’ve mastered the schedules for the soup kitchens... (full context)
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...they either sleep in church pews or, when the pews are full, show up at Lori’s, where Mom sometimes breaks down and cries, saying that things can be hard as a... (full context)
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...of Barnard since she feels so hypocritical, like she’s pretending to be something she’s not. Lori, though, advises her to stay, since dropping out would be counterproductive and would devastate Dad. (full context)
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By this time, Lori is an illustrator at a comic-book company, Maureen is in high school, and Brian is... (full context)
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...out, since she’s a thousand dollars short on tuition. A week later, he arrives at Lori’s carrying a garbage bag with 950 dollars he’s won at poker. Jeannette hesitates but he... (full context)
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Though Lori and Brian have stable jobs, Maureen never manages to finish college and wanders from job... (full context)
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The family gets into a massive fight about who is responsible for Maureen’s situation: Lori blames Dad for a toxic childhood environment, whereas Mom blames junk food and Dad says... (full context)
Part 5: Thanksgiving
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Five years after Dad dies, Jeannette awaits Mom and Lori at the train station near the country farmhouse that she has recently bought and renovated... (full context)
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...drive through the woods and marsh ponds to the house, as John tells Mom and Lori about the area’s history and farm life. Jeannette feels comfortable with John, a writer, whose... (full context)
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John and Jeannette show Mom and Lori the gardens, which they’ve prepared for winter, and Mom seems to appreciate their self-sufficiency. (full context)
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Jeannette shows Mom and Lori the house, the first she’s ever owned, with fireplaces and high ceilings. The kitchen is... (full context)