The Glass Castle Quotes

Quotes are phrases, sentences, lines and paragraphs taken from a literary piece. These quotes express universal truths or situations. Some popular quotes from Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle are analyzed below.

Quotes in The Glass Castle

Quote #1

“Mom pointed her chopsticks at me. ‘You see?’ she said. ‘Right there. That’s exactly what I’m saying. You’re way too easily embarrassed. Your father and I are who we are. Accept it.’” Chapter 1 – A Woman on the Street

The title of the first chapter, “A Woman on the Street,” alludes to Jeannette Walls’ mother whom she sees in a dumpster. These lines are a bit of dialogue spoken by Jeannette’s mother, Mary Rose, trying to convince Jeannette to accept without shame the reality that her mother and father are homeless people and that they have passed life like that.

Quote #2

“Later that night, Dad stopped the car out in the middle of the desert, and we slept under the stars. We had no pillows, but Dad said that was part of his plan. He was teaching us to have good posture. ‘The Indians didn’t use pillows, either,’ he explained, ‘and look how straight they stood.’ We did have our scratchy army-surplus blankets, so we spread them out and lay there, looking up at the field of stars. I told Lori how lucky we were to be sleeping out under the sky like Indians.”

Chapter 2 – The Desert

In these lines, the author makes it clear how their father was taking them from place to place after having no home but making them enjoy life in the open. He tells his children that he is teaching them how to sleep in the open like the Indians using natural things. Here Rex Walls, Jeannette’s father, is fantasizing the natural environment to make his children see positivity even in the difficult circumstances. Jeannette Walls tells it to Lori that they are lucky, having their own fantasy world.

Quote #3

“When Dad wasn’t telling us about all the amazing things he had already done, he was telling us about the wondrous things he was going to do. Like build the Glass Castle.”

Chapter 2 – The Desert

These lines explain the title of the book, demonstrating that “the glass castle” is actually Rex’s dream. Here Jeannette tells that it was her father’s future plan to build the Glass Castle somewhere in the desert.

Quote #4

“That was the thing to remember about all monsters, Dad said: They love to frighten people, but the minute you stare them down, they turn tail and run. ‘All you have to do, Mountain Goat, is show old Demon that you’re not afraid.’”

Chapter 2 – The Desert

Here Jeannette Walls states that during their conversation with their father, Rex tried to make them be unfearful of the monsters. He tells them that monsters are mostly cowards and whenever you stare at them, they run away. Terming his daughters as mountain goats, he states that all they have to do is to stare at the monsters and they would run away. This is how he is teaching them how to live in this world.

Quote #5

“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.’”

Chapter 2 – The Desert

Her mother’s main point is that Jeannette Walls should not destroy the Joshua tree. The reason is that this tree struggles to live in the desert and its beauty lies in this struggle. Therefore, it is her argument that she wants to make children keep in mind that they would have to struggle hard to live a good life.

Quote #6

“Then he pointed to the top of the fire, where the snapping yellow flames dissolved into an invisible shimmery heat that made the desert beyond seem to waver, like a mirage. Dad told us that zone was known in physics as the boundary between turbulence and order. ‘It’s a place where no rules apply, or at least they haven’t figured ’em out yet,’ he said.”

Chapter 2 – The Desert

Rex is making Jeannette and her siblings enjoy life in the desert. He is telling them to make a distinction between turbulence and order. It means that their dad is a reasonably educated person, yet he is teaching his kids to live in nature rather than in society. He is teaching them that they should live according to rules yet showing them places where no rules apply.

Quote #7

“Mom liked to encourage self-sufficiency in all living creatures.”

Chapter 2 – The Desert

Here Mary Rose is teaching her children that even if they have pets, they need to know how to be self-sufficient. In a way, it is a method to teach her children that they would have to fend for themselves in case of any emergency. Here living creatures means ‘them’, too.

Quote #8

“Mom gave me a startled look. I’d broken one of our unspoken rules: We were always supposed to pretend our life was one long and incredibly fun adventure.”

Chapter 2 – The Desert

Here Jeannette tells about her mother that she shows frowning looks toward her when they ate their food and expressed their desire to have more. Mother, in fact, pointed out to them that they are having an adventurous life where they should not demonstrate such selfishness.

Quote #9

“No one had planned this arrangement, and no rules enforced it. That was just the way it was.”

Chapter 3 – Welch

Jeanette Walls is referring to the swimming pool where white and black people have been segregated. However, she states that these have been silent rules. Nobody has enforced them. it was just a way of living over there that African American and white people will have a bath separately.

Quote #10

“A wind picked up, rattling the windows, and the candle flames suddenly shifted, dancing along the border between turbulence and order.”

Chapter 5 – Thanksgiving

These lines show how Rex Walls and his children have taken to this life of turbulence and order where there is no rule. It also means that what father has taught the children resonates even in their unconscious mind.