The Glass Castle

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The youngest of the Walls siblings. Maureen’s character is not as well developed as that of the other siblings. Seven years younger than Jeannette, she is a baby for much of Jeannette’s childhood and misses out on the adventures and disasters that the rest of the family has lived together. Later, in Welch, she spends time at her friends’ houses, where she finds the responsible adults and warm meals that are absent at the Walls household. However, Maureen turns out to be the only Walls sibling with serious mental and emotional difficulties. She spends time at a psychiatric hospital before moving to California.

Maureen Walls Quotes in The Glass Castle

The The Glass Castle quotes below are all either spoken by Maureen Walls or refer to Maureen 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 4 Quotes

I also hoped that Maureen had chosen California because she thought that was her true home, the place where she really belonged, where it was always warm and you could dance in the rain, pick grapes right off the vines, and sleep outside at night under the stars.

Related Characters: Jeannette Walls (speaker), Maureen Walls
Page Number: 276
Explanation and Analysis:

Maureen, recently released from a year-long stay at a psychiatric hospital, has decided to leave for California. Here Jeannette implicitly recalls Maureen's childhood fascination with the state. As the youngest in the family, she cannot recall when the Walls lived in California, so she would always ask Jeannette, Lori, and Brian to tell her about it. Now Jeannette imagines that Maureen's desire for such stories was not just a childhood dream.

As Jeannette is trying to figure out where she belongs, and where she might settle down - around the same time that her parents seem to have settled into a routine at least slightly more stable than the norm - she wonders how such a process will play out for the rest of her family. All the Walls children are deeply affected by the kind of childhood they experienced, even if they all reacted in different ways. It is up to each of them to deal with the legacy of how their parents raised them, and to determine what comes next. 

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Maureen Walls Character Timeline in The Glass Castle

The timeline below shows where the character Maureen 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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...a girl at school, but Mom calls that name too “Mexican.” She eventually decides on Maureen. (full context)
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Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Maureen, the youngest, doesn’t have neighbors her age and spends much of her time alone. Mom... (full context)
Part 3: Welch
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Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...a skillet at the rat, it hisses at them and they run away. That night Maureen is too afraid to sleep, and to reassure her that she is “surrendering to fear,”... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
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Jeannette, Brian, and Lori begin to sleep with makeshift weapons by their heads, while Maureen spends nights at other friends’ houses. (full context)
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Maureen is the only sibling to have a stable food source, since she rotates among her... (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
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Jeannette sometimes feels badly about not taking care of Maureen, so that year, she, Brian, and Lori save for months to buy Maureen a toy... (full context)
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Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Maureen does, though, seem happier than the other children, with her beautiful face and many friends... (full context)
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...decides to leave everything from the past behind, even her geode, which she gives to Maureen. (full context)
Part 4: New York City
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Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...her about the family: Dad’s drunk or in jail, Mom’s in her own world, and Maureen has essentially moved in with friends. Although Jeannette thinks of Brian as a country rather... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
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...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 bring Maureen to... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
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Lori, Jeanette, and Brian bring Maureen anyway. She lives with Lori, and they enroll her in a Manhattan public school. They... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
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By this time, Lori is an illustrator at a comic-book company, Maureen is in high school, and Brian is working to become a policeman. The entire family... (full context)
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Though Lori and Brian have stable jobs, Maureen never manages to finish college and wanders from job to job and from boyfriend to... (full context)
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One day Maureen comes to see Jeannette, with dark makeup and bleached hair, and mentions Mormon kidnapping cults... (full context)
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Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Six months later, Mom tells Maureen she’ll need to find a place of her own instead of living in the tenement... (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... (full context)
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Maureen is sent to a hospital for a year. After she’s released, she buys a one-way... (full context)
Part 5: Thanksgiving
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Mom also mentions that Maureen is thinking about coming back for a visit. (full context)