Mom is enthralled by the Joshua tree she sees in the desert, which has grown in the direction of the wind rather than standing up straight. The Joshua tree symbolizes the strength and beauty that can arise from dysfunction. As Mom tells Jeannette, the tree’s struggle is what gives the tree its beauty. This symbol can be applied to Jeannette’s need to surmount incredible difficulties in the process of growing up. It suggests that Jeannette’s childhood was not in vain, and that she would not be the person she is today without these struggles. However, the Joshua tree also reminds us how different people can see the same image or event in very different ways: for Jeannette, who as a child does not (understandably) see the need for such struggles, the tree is ugly rather than beautiful.
The Joshua Tree Quotes in The Glass Castle
The The Glass Castle quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Joshua Tree. 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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of The Glass Castle published in 2006.).
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 Symbols: The Joshua Tree
Page Number and Citation:
The Joshua Tree Symbol Timeline in The Glass Castle
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Joshua Tree appears in The Glass Castle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2: The Desert
...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 announces a plan to dig up a small sapling and... (full context)