The Glass Castle

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Rose Mary Walls Character Analysis

Mother to Jeannette and her siblings, and the daughter of Grandma Smith from Phoenix. She is primarily referred to as Mom in the narrative. Mom originally wanted to be an artist, but her mother convinced her to get a teaching certificate in case that didn’t work out. She spends much of her time immersed in various artistic projects, though never ones that can support the family. Whenever she is forced to take a job teaching, she becomes bitter and hostile. At times, Mom treats her children as peripheral to her life, considering them a distraction and refusing even to ensure they get enough to eat. But Mom can also be emotionally wise and compassionate: she always takes the side of the victim. As a result, the reader feels just as ambivalently towards Mom (and Dad) as Jeannette does.

Rose Mary Walls Quotes in The Glass Castle

The The Glass Castle quotes below are all either spoken by Rose Mary Walls or refer to Rose Mary 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 1 Quotes

“You want to help me change my life?” Mom asked. “I’m fine. You’re the one who needs help. Your values are all confused.”

Related Characters: Rose Mary Walls (speaker), Jeannette Walls
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

Having caught a glimpse of her mother rifling through a dumpster in New York City, Jeannette has invited her to dinner and shared that she's worried about her. In turn, Jeannette's mother brushes off her concerns and turns the tables, suggesting that Jeannette is actually the one with a problem in this situation. Jeannette's mother has explained her actions by the fact that Americans don't recycle enough, but she is more propelled by a combination of necessity and a blasé attitude towards what others may think. 

Indeed, Jeannette's mother would most likely not be relying on a dumpster if she had other means by which to feed herself. But as this is the case, she develops a subtle worldview created around the superiority of such a lifestyle - something that Jeannette describes as typical of her childhood. According to this worldview, it is defensible and even desirable to actively choose to do what others may look down upon, especially if this means that Jeannette's mother does not need to rely on anyone else. Her critique of Jeannette is part of this ethos as well, as she claims that the lack of money or possessions is morally liberating. It is Jeannette, then, because she cares about what others think and values material possessions, who becomes the weaker and less self-sufficient of the two (at least according to her mother).

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Glass Castle quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Part 2 Quotes

Mom frowned at me. “You’d be destroying what makes it special,” she said. “It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.”

Related Characters: Rose Mary Walls (speaker), Jeannette Walls
Related Symbols: The Joshua Tree
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

The family has settled into their new life, with Dad working at a gypsum mine and Mom spending her time painting and writing illustrated short stories. Again and again she returns to paint the Joshua tree, whose gnarled branches she finds captivating and beautiful. From the start, Jeannette has been dubious about the Joshua tree's beauty, finding it gnarled and unpleasant-looking. Here, Jeannette goes so far as to imagine that she'll replant one of the tree's saplings in the ground and tend to it so that it grows up straight rather than twisted. Mom, however, couldn't think less of this idea.

Their two opposite opinions on beauty and struggle stem from their quite distinct philosophies of how to live. Mom has always embraced excitement, change, and instability. She does not only find these things interesting: for her they are almost ethical values, directly related to her artistic sensibility and search for new and unusual instances of beauty. But Jeannette has grown up with the constant anxiety that stems from not being able to enjoy a stable, worry-free childhood. For her, change and uncertainty should be fought rather than embraced as objects of beauty. The Joshua Tree gives Jeannette a physical, objective reminder of the vast distance between the way her mother thinks and her own mentality, a gap of which she will only grow more aware as time goes on.

Part 3 Quotes

“Erma can’t let go of her misery,” Mom said. “It’s all she knows.” She added that you should never hate anyone, even your worst enemies. “Everyone has something good about them,” she said. “You have to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that.”

Related Characters: Rose Mary Walls (speaker), Erma Walls
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:

Deciding that the kids are making too much noise downstairs, Erma thumps loudly on the ceiling above them. She has been cranky and unpleasant since their arrival, and Jeannette immediately dislikes her. But Mom, in what is a rare occasion for her, chastises Jeannette and asks her not to judge Erma, who has suffered a good amount in her life. Mom exhibits, here as elsewhere, a compassion stemming from the creative capacity to imagine other people's experiences. Her suggestion also stems from her desire to see certain situations differently from how others choose to see them, often putting a more positive light on what others might consider ugly or unpleasant. Although Jeannette's mother is often portrayed as relatively immature, this is an instance at which her natural optimism and empathy is shown to be wise.

She was keeping [the wedding ring], she explained, to replace the wedding ring her mother had given her, the one Dad had pawned shortly after they got married.
“But Mom,” I said, “that ring could get us a lot of food.”
“That’s true,” Mom said, “but it could also improve my self-esteem. And at times like these, self-esteem is even more vital than food.”

Related Characters: Jeannette Walls (speaker), Rose Mary Walls (speaker)
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:

While exploring, Brian and Jeannette have found a diamond ring, which turns out to be valuable. They have spent a difficult winter, hungry, cold, and lacking in basic necessities, and Jeannette and Brian can't imagine why their mother wouldn't take the ring to the pawnshop to be exchanged for money that could help them. But Mom doesn't see things that way: for her, its power stems from its capacity to replace an important possession, one that was already lost in exchange for cash.

In general, Mom is scornful of other people's tendency to collect and adore their possessions. Here, though, she is the one to claim the importance of owning a material object above other things. The contradiction can potentially be explained by Mom's usual propensity to value what others do not value and to make decisions that others might find bizarre. Usually, a desire to hold on to a valuable diamond ring would be considered socially appropriate; at this moment, though, when the ring is found among garbage, possesses little sentimental value, and could be exchanged for money to feed a family, Mom's decision begins to look much more non-conforming, even irrational.

“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.

“Who do you think you are?” [Dad] asked. “She’s your mother.”
“Then why doesn’t she act like one?” I looked at Dad for what felt like a very long moment. Then I blurted out, “And why don’t you act like a dad?”

Related Characters: Jeannette Walls (speaker), Rex Walls (speaker), Rose Mary Walls
Page Number: 219-220
Explanation and Analysis:

Mom has refused to go to school on the first day, and after begging and cajoling her, Jeannette finally grows angry and claims that Mom isn't acting like a mother. Mom tells Dad when he gets home, and in this confrontation Jeannette, for the first time, explicitly shares her disillusionment with and anger towards her father for all that he led her to expect, and all that he did to disappoint her. 

In the past, Jeannette has continued to cling to a sense that Dad was well-intentioned, and his disappointing actions redeemable, even if she has long since had to give up the idea that all his wild stories and enchanting illusions had any substance. Now, she goes a step further, suggesting that both her parents' inability to come through for their children are not just signs of their bohemian sensibility, but proof that they don't know how to be good parents. Jeannette has had to take on many of the responsibilities usually embraced by parents, and this outburst reflects the frustration Jeannette feels at this switching of roles.

Part 4 Quotes

“You can’t just live like this,” I said.
“Why not?” Mom said. “Being homeless is an adventure.”

Related Characters: Jeannette Walls (speaker), Rose Mary Walls
Page Number: 255
Explanation and Analysis:

Now that all three of the children are in New York, Mom and Dad have moved there as well - but after a series of typically disastrous events, they find themselves homeless and refuse to take help from their children. As they gather at Lori's apartment once a month, Mom shares some of the tips that they've learned from their new "adventure" as homeless people in Manhattan, from the soup kitchen's open hours to the various free events taking place all over the city. This conversation between Jeannette and Mom recapitulates the deep gap between the ways that they both see the world. Mom tends to idealize suffering and poverty, considering it a more artistically appealing life path, not to mention one that is even more valuable since others wouldn't consider it so. For Jeannette, of course, it is maddening that Mom and Dad won't settle down, ask for help, or develop a sustainable life for themselves.

I actually live on Park Avenue, I kept telling myself as I hung my clothes in the closet Eric had cleared out for me. Then I started thinking about Mom and Dad. When they had moved into their squat—a fifteen-minute subway ride south and about half a dozen worlds away—it seemed as if they had finally found the place where they belonged, and I wondered if I had done the same.

Related Characters: Jeannette Walls (speaker), Rex Walls, Rose Mary Walls
Page Number: 268
Explanation and Analysis:

Jeannette has moved in with her boyfriend, Eric, around the same time that her parents have moved into a squat - not physically far away from Park Avenue, but certainly in another world. Jeannette has spent much of the book dreaming about a place she could call home, whether that means the Glass Castle of her childhood, a yellow-painted house, or simply a place of order and stability. Now, though, she has a more serious view of what it means to establish a home and ownership over a place. Jeannette isn't entirely sure that the apartment on Park Avenue is where she really belongs - indeed, she seems to wonder whether her parents haven't done a better job at finding a home that truly fits their sensibilities. She might have succeeded by the standards of society around her, the standards of material success, but Jeannette's search is not yet over.

Part 5 Quotes

“Grandma Walls is different from your other grandma,” I told [Veronica].
“Way different,” Veronica said.
John’s daughter, Jessica, turned to me and said, “But she laughs just like you do.”

Related Characters: Jeannette Walls (speaker), Jessica (speaker), Veronica (speaker), Rose Mary Walls
Page Number: 287
Explanation and Analysis:

For most of the book, Jeannette has emphasized just how different she and her mother are. They grow excited about different things, are annoyed by different things, and in particular Jeannette's love of order and stability has long clashed with her mother's endless search for adventure and here easygoing attitude towards parenting.

Jessica, though, has a slightly different view. Noticing how Jeannette and Rose Mary have an identical laugh, she shows how someone outside the family, with little knowledge of the internal family dynamics, can still pick up on certain elements of continuity. That Jeannette mentions this conversation suggests that she is acknowledging that her childhood wish to be nothing if not opposite from her mother might be just that, a child's desire. Now, she is more willing to recognize that parallels can exist, and that fact does not mean Jeannette is condemned to the same kind of life as her mother.

“We should drink a toast to Rex,” John said.
Mom stared at the ceiling, miming perplexed thought. “I’ve got it.” She held up her glass. “Life with your father was never boring.”

Related Characters: Rose Mary Walls (speaker), John (speaker), Rex Walls
Page Number: 288
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Jeannette's mother acknowledges something that the entire family knows to be true, and that the reader will by this point recognize as obvious as well. Rose Mary does, of course, put a more positive spin on Dad's mode of parenting and of life in general by calling it "never boring." By doing so she skates over some of the more unpleasant and even dangerous elements of this life, including Dad's drinking and his irresponsibility with money. Of course, Rose Mary Walls was not exempt from some of these examples of irresponsibility either, and in any case, the toast is a chance to celebrate and remember Dad's life. In addition, of course, emphasizing the excitement that Dad brought to everything allows the family to remember what was so appealing about his attitude towards life.

Get the entire The Glass Castle LitChart as a printable PDF.
The glass castle.pdf.medium

Rose Mary Walls Character Timeline in The Glass Castle

The timeline below shows where the character Rose Mary Walls appears in The Glass Castle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: A Woman on the Street
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...one windy March evening, Jeannette Walls catches a glimpse of her mother, Rose Mary Walls (Mom) rifling through a dumpster for something to eat. Although Mom’s hair is unkempt and her... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Since she is only two blocks away from the party, Jeannette worries that Mom will see her and begin to talk to her, and that a fellow party guest... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...being surrounded by nice things while her parents are homeless downtown. She decides to invite Mom to dinner. (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Since Mom doesn’t have a phone, Jeannette has to leave a message at a friend of Mom’s... (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
When they meet, Mom seems excited to see Jeannette. She also immediately drops the packets of sauce and dried... (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Jeannette interrupts Mom to say that she’s worried about her, and asks if she can help. Mom replies... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Jeannette admits she was later ashamed that she didn’t say hello. Mom, though she doesn’t seem upset, chastises her for being embarrassed by her parents—she should accept... (full context)
Part 2: The Desert
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Jeannette screams for her mother’s help and Mom rushes into the room, throwing an army-surplus blanket around her. She then grabs Jeannette and... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
At the hospital, the nurses cut off Jeannette’s beautiful pink dress and tell Mom that Jeannette’s condition is serious, but that she will live. The doctors complete a skin... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...and why a three-year-old would be cooking hot dogs. Jeannette responds matter-of-factly to each question: Mom believes she is mature for her age and often lets her cook for herself. The... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Jeannette’s family—Mom, Dad, Brian, and Jeannette’s older sister Lori— comes to visit, loudly interrupting the hospital’s calm.... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...her to a Navajo witch doctor who cured it through chants and pastes. Dad thinks Mom should have done the same for Jeannette. (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...head is wrapped in a bandage from falling off the couch and hitting his head. Mom and Dad decided not to take him to the hospital—one kid was enough. Dad begins... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
A few days after that, Jeannette decides to cook hot dogs again, and Mom praises her for getting “right back in the saddle.” (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...doesn’t like to travel, and throws Quixote out the window. Jeannette begins to cry but Mom tells her not to be sentimental—it will be far more fun for Quixote to be... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
According to Jeannette, Dad is sure FBI agents are after him, though Mom says that the FBI just sounds more exciting than the real chasers—bill collectors. (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Once in awhile, the family stays with Mom’s mom, Grandma Smith, in her large house in Phoenix. Although Jeannette adores Grandma Smith, the... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The kids rarely enroll in school, but Mom teaches them to read early on, as well as how to find water and survive... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...around by sandstorms when they can’t find anywhere to hide from them. Unlike other parents, Mom and Dad allow them to splash and dance outside in the thunderstorms, watching the lightning... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...on a drinking episode. But he is scariest when he drinks the “hard stuff,” as Mom calls it, and since he can only afford that when the family has money, his... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...as a youth in Welch, West Virginia, he does love to retell how he met Mom, when he was in the Air Force and Mom was back home with her parents... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...months old, followed by Jeannette and Brian. While Mary Charlene’s death doesn’t seem to trouble Mom much—God saw fit to take her away, she says—any mention of Mary Charlene makes Dad... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...way to Las Vegas, where Dad has decided to move to make some money gambling, Mom and Dad stop at the Bar None Bar for hours and leave the three kids... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
When Mom and Dad finally come back, Dad continues to drive while drinking beer in the other... (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...Vegas, where the family stays for a month, the kids play in the casinos while Mom and Dad are playing blackjack. Dad makes lots of money and the kids get new... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...stay in a hotel off the beaten path that Dad calls a “flophouse,” but which Mom says has “character.” (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
On the way from San Francisco to the Mojave Desert, Mom sees an ancient Joshua tree in a spot between the desert and the mountain and... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...and drives off to a pond to throw them in. Jeannette begins to cry, and Mom comforts her by saying that the cats should be grateful for the extra time the... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
While Dad has secured a job digging out gypsum at the town’s mine, Mom works on paintings, sketches, and sculptures while also writing and illustrating stories (spell-checked by seven-year-old... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Jeannette recounts how she never believed in Santa Claus, since Mom and Dad couldn’t afford presents; instead they told the kids about the other parents’ deception. (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
One day the family departs Midland for a larger town, Blythe, California, where Mom, who is pregnant, can give birth. On the way, Mom and Dad start arguing about... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
By the time they get to Blythe, Mom and Dad have made up. They find a place to rent in the “LBJ Apartments”... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom gives birth two months after arriving in Blythe. Jeannette, five at the time, is deemed... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Mom doesn’t want to name the baby before studying it for weeks. Jeannette suggests Rosita after... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The family rents a U-Haul and Mom tells the kids to keep quiet—it’s illegal for them to ride in the back. After... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom decides to buy a piano for the house, for which Dad creates a pulley system... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
At the commissary each week, Mom buys basics like flour, onions, and potatoes, rather than prepared foods like other “brainwashed” Americans. (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
While Mom reads literature like Dickens and Faulkner, Dad reads science and math books and biographies. (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
On their way home, they sneak past the Green Lantern, which Mom calls a “cathouse,” though Jeannette only sees women in short dresses, and men ducking inside.... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...only given leftovers to eat rather than pet food in order to promote “self-sufficiency,” as Mom says. She also refuses to kill flies in order to allow nature to “take its... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...at schools. One day, Lori and Jeannette eat a stick of margarine mixed with sugar. Mom gets mad, saying she needed it for bread, but Jeannette tells her that they have... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom turns red and yells at Jeannette not to blame her. That night, she gets into... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Suddenly, Mom appears from the second-floor window, upside down and held by the ankles by Dad. The... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The next day, Mom applies to a job at the Battle Mountain Intermediate School, and is immediately hired and... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
But Mom hates teaching, mainly because her mother was a teacher and “lacked faith” in Mom’s artistic... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The school principal, Miss Beatty, especially disapproves of Mom’s teaching tactics. Afraid Mom will be fired, Lori, Brian, and Jeannette start helping out with... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Lori corrects Mom’s spelling—she loves reading and writing and, according to Jeannette, is brilliant. (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
With Mom’s new job, the family now has food at home, at least until the end of... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
A few months after Mom takes the teaching job, Brian and Jeannette pass the Green Lantern and a woman smoking... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...back with her family, Jeannette makes fun of Billy’s dad and their run-down house, but Mom tells Jeannette to show more compassion—people aren’t born that way, but become delinquent if they’re... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
It isn’t long before a police car with Mom and Dad inside parks outside the house. Dad asks them what’s happened, and Jeannette says... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom and Dad spend the rest of the day whispering together upstairs. That night, they come... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...became a teacher after she had children and taught in the same one-room schoolhouse where Mom went—which Mom hated. Mom also never liked all Grandma Smith’s rules, like about cooking, dressing,... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...way to Phoenix, Jeannette asks if the family is going to stay with Grandma Smith. Mom says no—that Grandma Smith has died. Though “officially” from leukemia, Mom claims it was actually... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom is surprised when Jeannette gets upset. They’re going to Phoenix to live in Grandma Smith’s... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...painting the details on the house and landscapes on the desert. She decides to follow Mom’s footsteps and become an artist. (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom begins to set up her art studio and uses much of her inheritance to buy... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom also writes stories and plays. While she never has anything accepted, she sometimes receives personalized... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...one they’ve owned—using the electric washing machine, and playing with Grandma Smith’s old record player. Mom and Dad dance to old albums, from gospel music to opera. (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Nevertheless, the house begins to be infested with cockroaches thanks to Mom’s lack of interest in cleaning. Mom doesn’t want to poison the family with chemical roach... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...the unlocked house at night, since the doors and windows are left open for ventilation. Mom claims they’re harmless. One night, Jeannette awakens to feel someone rubbing his hand over her... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...swears he’ll kill the intruder, but fails to find him. In any case, he and Mom refuse to close the doors and windows, which to them amounts to “capitulating”, or giving... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Refusing to capitulate is a common theme for Mom and Dad, who encourage the kids never to conform. Once, Mom accompanies them to the... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom considers herself to be Catholic and usually goes to Mass, although she thinks nuns are... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...hand, believes in “science and reason” rather than God. When he comes to church, as Mom orders him to on holy days, he sometimes shouts out challenges to the priest during... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...looking livid, grabs Dad by the shoulder. Dad makes as if to fight, but when Mom asks him to listen to the guard, he leads the kids out the exit. Jeannette... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
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 decides she needs to be treated specially as a result, and since they don’t have... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...and, a week later, withdrawing all the funds from a teller inside the bank while Mom simultaneously takes out the money through the drive-through. He tells Lori, who objects, that he... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom doesn’t buy into Dad’s story, and after seeing him come home repeatedly drunk, angry, and... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Sometimes, when he passes out, Jeannette picks his pocket, as Mom taught her to do. Once she tries the liquid in a small bottle, which she... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
That Christmas, Mom decides to splurge and give the kids their best Christmas ever. She takes them shopping,... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...liquor in advance and by the time they leave for midnight mass, he’s fully drunk. Mom says this is precisely the kind of situation when it’s important to say hello to... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Back home, Mom gives Dad his present—a lighter—and he hurls it, lit, into the Christmas tree. Only after... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...after, she peeks in to see him writhing on the bed, tied down with ropes. Mom says there’s nothing she can do: “Only he knows how to fight his own demons.” (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...later, Dad returns stumbling and yelling, and starts throwing silverware across the room screaming for Mom. She grabs a knife to protect herself and he wrestles her to the floor. Instantly,... (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom starts to mention moving to West Virginia where Dad’s parents, who could help him out,... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Once she has a car, Mom tells the kids they’ll leave the next morning, with no time to officially withdraw or... (full context)
Part 3: Welch
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...Oklahomans laughing at them. Jeannette hides under a blanket and refuses to come out, leading Mom to admonish her to enjoy life’s comedies a bit more. (full context)
Home Theme Icon
...kids climb into bed, tickling and teasing each other until hearing a “thump” from upstairs. Mom goes up to investigate: Erma says they’re making too much noise. (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Jeannette doubts that Erma likes them, but Mom says that she’s had a difficult life, and that they’ll adapt. (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Mom and Dad take the kids for a tour and tell them about Welch’s history. Unfit... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom agrees that things have grown shabbier since she was last in Welch after she and... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The next day the kids go to Welch Elementary, where Mom tries to convince the principal that the kids are gifted. The principal asks Jeannette eight... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
At home, Jeannette deflects Mom and Dad’s questions about school rather than face Mom’s optimistic responses to whatever she tells... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Jeannette finally tells Mom only that girls are making fun of her for being poor, and Mom says to... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Jeannette tells her not to use that word, and that Mom says black people are just like us. Erma curses at Jeannette and sends her down... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Lori congratulates Jeannette on standing up to Erma, but Mom says that they have to remember to be polite while they’re Erma’s guests—confusing Jeannette, who... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom says Erma’s parents died when she was young and she bounced around between relatives, essentially... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
That winter, Mom and Dad decide to drive back to Phoenix to pick up the bikes, school records,... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Jeannette envies Mom and Dad for returning to Phoenix, where she remembers riding her bike, eating free bananas,... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Brian and Jeannette wonder aloud if Mom and Dad will return. The kids know that they are more inconvenient to their parents... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The night Mom and Dad come back, the kids hear the door open upstairs and Erma begin to... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Mom and Dad tell the kids that they arrived in Phoenix to find the house looted,... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...no longer stay with her. The family can’t afford a rental in Welch proper, but Mom and Dad find a place over one of the mountains and up a one-lane road... (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...three small rooms and no indoor plumbing—the family doesn’t have money for electricity either. But Mom concentrates on the beauty of the cast-iron coal stove—even though there’s no chimney and the... (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Still committed to the adventure of it, Mom tries to teach Lori and Jeannette how to use the house’s sewing machine to make... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...dog, Tinkle (a stray that had followed Brian home) catches the rat and kills it. Mom says she’s sorry for the dead rat and names it Rufus, while Brian hangs it... (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom doesn’t seem worried about what the neighbors will think about the garbage or cleanliness, but... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Jeannette’s family is the poorest on Little Hobart Street, but Mom and Dad never accept welfare, food stamps, or church drive clothes, saying they can take... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom and Dad always tell the kids they don’t have it as bad as some—for instance... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom reads in bed and apologizes for not being productive by saying that reading is one... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
One night Dad comes home with deep, bloody cuts on his head and arm. Mom is asleep and Dad asks Jeannette to sew up his arm. She feels like she’s... (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Sometimes, Mom receives checks from the drilling company on her land in Texas, though she is always... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...stable food source, since she rotates among her friends’ houses for dinner. But Jeannette notices Mom is getting heavier, and one day Brian finds her eating a giant Hershey bar under... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...collect coal pieces that have fallen off trucks, but usually concentrate on finding dry wood. Mom claims that life is easier for them than it was for the pioneers who lacked... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
When Mom asks if the kids have something nice to say about Erma, Lori responds, “Ding-dong, the... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Four days later Mom sends Jeannette to find Dad, who still hasn’t come home. She moves from bar to... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...Uncle Stanley’s hand easing its way onto her thigh as he touches himself. She tells Mom on him, but Mom says he’s just lonely, and that sexual assault is a “crime... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...mud into the houses; 126 people die from a landslide by a mine. According to Mom, this is nature’s revenge for man “pillaging” and building upon the land. (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
The house is consistently damp, sprouting mold and mushrooms. Mom gets bruised by falling through a rotted step. She jokes that her husband doesn’t beat... (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
One day, as Jeannette and Brian are exploring, they find a diamond ring, which Mom takes to be appraised. Though it turns out to be valuable, Mom decides to keep... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom does seem to toggle between dark moods, when she yells at the kids for preventing... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Jeannette takes advantage of one cheerful moment to broach a grand plan to Mom: that Mom should leave Dad in order to be eligible for welfare. Mom is shocked... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...the door to Jeannette’s house saying he’s from child welfare, and asking for Rex or Rose Mary Walls . He says he’s received a call about possible neglect at the house. (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Though Jeannette had initially assumed Welch was one more, brief stop, Mom and Dad seem to have lost their desire to move around. They talk vaguely about... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
When Jeannette gives Mom the child welfare man’s card, Mom grows quiet instead of being self-righteously angry like Jeannette.... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
With her teaching certificate, Mom gets a job teaching remedial reading within a week, and the family hurries to clean... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom can’t get along with Lucy Jo Rose, a fellow teacher who drives her to work... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom claims that it’s difficult to make ends meet with four kids and an alcoholic husband,... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...The Welch Daily News, where the Wave is printed, and draws on her experience proofreading Mom’s essays and her students’ homework. She adores setting the type, making corrections, and carefully pasting... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...police scanner. She realizes that being a writer doesn’t have to mean being isolated like Mom—instead a writer can be intimately acquainted with the world, and “know what was really going... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...following her around. While Brian wonders if they should keep Maureen away from the Pentecostals, Mom says that religion is individual and each person has to figure out his or her... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Though at times like these, Jeannette thinks Mom is incredibly wise, Mom’s moods are also becoming more intense and extreme. Near the end... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Lori tries to console Mom as she sobs under the covers, but Jeannette looks on, feeling scornful about her mother’s... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Lori, though, feels sorry for Mom for being married to Dad. When Jeannette says that Mom needs to be stronger, Lori... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
That summer, Mom leaves for Charleston to take college courses for her teaching certificate. Lori is heading to... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...demands another twenty dollars, which she gives him. Jeannette knows a check is coming from Mom’s Texas land, but Dad beats her to it by waiting for the postman. Dad suggests... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom returns from her summer, where she adored living without responsibilities, committed to concentrating on herself... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The first day of school, Mom refuses to leave with Lucy Jo, and when Jeannette’s cajoling doesn’t work, Jeannette says that... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom tells Dad when he returns home that Jeannette back-talked her, and Dad admonishes her for... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Mom uses the car to drive to craft fairs and try to sell some of her... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Jeannette leaves on the seven-ten morning bus, so Mom, who likes to sleep in, doesn’t wake up to see her off. But Dad is... (full context)
Part 4: New York City
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Brian writes to Jeannette telling 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... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Sometimes Mom and Dad call from Welch, usually with new problems to report. When Lori hears that... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...and a dog all over the highway. That night she gets a phone call from Mom saying that she and Dad have moved to New York. Just as Jeannette thought, the... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The next day, Mom and Dad meet all four of their children at Lori’s apartment. When Jeannette, who still... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Mom and Dad live for a while in a boardinghouse until they fall behind on the... (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...with her for a time. After a few months the entire place is jammed with Mom’s paintings, street finds, and colored glasses. Meanwhile Dad is coming home more and more often... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
After giving Mom multiple deadlines for cleaning up, Lori finally kicks her out and she moves into the... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...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 and the locations... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Towards the winter, the Mom and Dad spend more and more time in the libraries, where Mom is reading Balzac... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Jeannette is torn, wanting both to help Mom and Dad and to abandon them. She often finds herself giving homeless people spare change,... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Mom and Dad hate shelters, so on winter nights they either sleep in church pews or,... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Jeannette meets Mom at a café to try to discuss some options that could ease her mother’s situation—moving... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...he’ll start drinking again. Instead, he gets a job doing maintenance at a resort upstate. Mom refuses to join him in the “sticks.” (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Dad seems to be doing well, and enjoys living near the country, but Mom keeps calling him and telling him how much easier homeless life is in a pair,... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...working to become a policeman. The entire family celebrates Christmas that year at Lori’s apartment. Mom and Dad give the kids battered street finds, while Jeannette gives Dad warm winter clothes.... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
That fall, Mom and Dad find an abandoned building to move into on the Lower East Side. They’ll... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...light bulb strung from the ceiling, and a hinge-less door. But their apartment fits all Mom’s scattered possessions, and Dad has hot-wired the building to a utility cable down the block. (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...home in Welch and just wants to run away, but she also realizes how proud Mom and Dad are of their new home. They tell her about their fellow squatters fighting... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Mom and Jeannette’s siblings can’t make it to her graduation that spring. Jeannette wants Dad to... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Dad refuses to come visit Jeannette, saying he’d feel out of place, but Mom does come at once and is fascinated by the china and Persian rugs. She says... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...with a car or rent or a down payment on a place they could own. Mom responds that Jeannette’s the one who she’s worried about, and asks if Jeannette’s lost the... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Jeannette’s editor assigns her a weekly gossip column, which also concerns Mom, who would rather Jeannette be doing muckraking investigative journalism. But Jeannette is thrilled, thinking that... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Jeannette marries Eric four years after moving in. Not long after, Mom’s uncle Jim dies, and Mom tells Jeannette they need to buy Jim’s half of the... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Jeannette slowly realizes that this means that Mom’s half of the land is also worth a million dollars. When Jeanette raises this point... (full context)
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Jeannette tells Mom that she can’t ask Eric for a million dollars. Mom tells her how disappointed in... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...and mentions Mormon kidnapping cults that need to be uncovered in Utah. Jeannette, alarmed, tells Mom that Maureen needs to see someone, but Mom counters that Maureen just needs “fresh air... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...who is responsible for Maureen’s situation: Lori blames Dad for a toxic childhood environment, whereas Mom blames junk food and Dad says that Maureen was just made that way. (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Jeannette hardly sees Mom and Dad for a year or so, until she gets a phone call from Dad... (full context)
Part 5: Thanksgiving
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Five years after Dad dies, Jeannette awaits Mom and Lori at the train station near the country farmhouse that she has recently bought... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
They 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... (full context)
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
...Jessica, John’s daughter from his first marriage, come out of the house, and Brian teases Mom about the dumpster gifts she probably has brought for the family. (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
John and Jeannette show Mom and Lori the gardens, which they’ve prepared for winter, and Mom seems to appreciate their... (full context)
Growing Up, Illusion, and Disillusion Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Responsibility, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-Conformity Theme Icon
When Mom sees the pool, she shrieks in delight as she runs onto the green cover and... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Jeannette shows Mom and Lori the house, the first she’s ever owned, with fireplaces and high ceilings. The... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Possessions and Ownership Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
At dinner, Mom says that the city has finally decided to sell the apartments to the squatters for... (full context)
Home Theme Icon
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
Mom also mentions that Maureen is thinking about coming back for a visit. (full context)
Order and Turbulence Theme Icon
...following John’s suggestion, drinks a toast to Dad: “Life with your father was never boring,” Mom says. (full context)