Woman on the Street

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The Glass Castle pp. 1-18

What is a memoir?

Part I – “Woman on the Street” pp.3-5

  1. What do we learn about the main character, Jeannette Walls, and her mom, Rose Mary Walls, in these pages? How does Jeannette feel about her mom and her mom’s condition?

Part II – “The Desert”

  1. How does Jeannette “catch fire”? p.9

  1. What are the doctors and nurses wondering about? Why are they asking Jeannette so many questions? p.10

  1. What are some of the things Jeannette liked about the hospital that she was not used to at home? p.11

  1. Why does Jeannette think everyone is staring at her dad?

  1. Why do you think everyone stares at her dad?

  1. What is the argument between Rex Walls (Jeannette’s dad) and the doctor about?

  1. What is “checking out Rex Walls’ style” ?

  1. What is the name of the family car?

  1. After Jeannette gets out of the hospital, what does she become obsessed with? What happens to Tinkerbell?

10) What does doing the skedaddle mean? (p.17-18)

  1. Who is Quixote and what happens to him?

  1. How does Jeannette’s mom comfort her?


    1. Who is Grandma Smith and how is she described?

    1. Who does most of the children’s teaching and what do they learn?

    1. Why were the Walls’ kids ‘sort of like’ cactus?

    1. What are some of Rex Walls’ strengths? What is his plan?

    1. What is the Glass Castle and how does it relate to Jeannette’s dad?

    1. What doesn’t dad like to talk about?

    1. Who is Mary Charlene? Why is this important?

    1. What is the birth order of the Walls’ children and what significant attribute is each baby attributed with?



    1. What happened to Mom’s wedding ring?

    1. What car replaced the Blue Goose?

    1. How many places do Lori and Jeannette decide they have lived? (How does Jeannette determine if the family has lived someplace?)

    1. How does the term “snot locker” get introduced? Is there anything disturbing about this incident?

    1. What happens in Las Vegas and why does the family have to leave?

    1. Does Rex do anything good?

    1. What does Jeannette wonder about the fire?

pp. 35-61

  1. Why does the family decide to stay in Midland?

  1. Why is Jeannette’s nickname Mountain Goat?

  1. Who or what is the Demon?

  1. What is Dad’s advice about the Demon? Do you think it is good advice?

  1. What does the Walls family do about the extra cats?

  1. According to Jeannette’s mom, what about the Joshua tree gives it beauty?

p.39 7) What is the Wall’s philosophy of Christmas?

8) This year, what does Rex Walls give each of his children for Christmas? Why does he say it is a better gift than the plastic toys most children receive?

pp.44-45) 9) What happens to Jeannette on the way home from school and how does Brian help?

P47 10) What is the baby named and why?

p.48 11) During the move from Blythe to Battle Mountain, where will the children ride?

12) What are some of the things they did in Battle Mountain with their dad?

  1. What do they do at night? (p.56)

14 ) What limits do the Walls children have? What did Jeannette’s mom believe was best for them?

15) What does Dad say after Brian started a fire with “nuclear fuel”?


  1. What is the Green Lantern?

  1. What does Mom believe about pets? (p.64)

  1. How does Rex (dad) teach Jeannette how to swim? How do you feel about his methods?

  1. What are Maureen’s first words and why is this significant? What does it show us about Rex?

  1. What does Mom say about food?

  1. What is the unspoken rule that Jeannette breaks?

  1. What happens during the argument between Rex and Rose Mary?

  1. What does Mary Walls decide to do and how does she feel about this?

  1. How do the kids help their mom?

  1. What starts happening to mom’s paycheck?

  1. What does Rex tell Jeannette? (pp.78)

  1. How do most people feel about Battle Mountain?

  1. Who is Billy Deele?

  1. What happens with him (Billy Deele)?

  1. Why do they have to go to Phoenix?


  1. What one thing does Jeannette bring with them?

  1. What happened to Grandma Smith?

  1. Which house does Mom choose and why? What does Mom say she is addicted to?

  1. How does Mom feel about Nuns?

  1. What does the elementary school discover about Lori? Why does Lori cry?

  1. What is mom working on? Does she make any money doing this?

  1. While their lives are better, what are some of the problems in the house in Phoenix?

  1. How does “Pervert Hunting” become a past time? Do you think Maureen’s dreams were real?

  1. What is the Walls’ family church experience like?

  1. What does Dad say about Animal Psychology? How does he prove his theory?

  1. What do Jeannette & Brian find in the dumpster?

  1. What is “Justifiable pilfering”?

  1. Why does Dad have a tough time getting work?

  1. How does the best Christmas ever turn out?

  1. What does Jeannette ask for her 10th birthday present from her dad?

  1. What is Lori’s prediction regarding her Dad?

  1. What happens on the way to the Grand Canyon?

  1. Where is the family moving?

III Welch pp. 129-158

    1. How did the Walls family ‘out Oki the Okies’?

  1. What are dad’s relatives like? Erma, grandpa, Uncle Stanley?

  1. What does mom decide despite that Welch seems like a poor town?

  1. What is the Tug river known for?

  1. What happens at school for Jeannette?

  1. What do Jeannette and Erma fight about?

  1. How does mom defend Erma?

  1. What does Mom say about Erma and all people?

  1. What does Jeannette witness between Erma and Brian? What does Lori do?

  1. What does Jeannette suspect happened to her dad? What might that explain?

  1. What does 93 Little Hobart Street look like?

  1. Why does Dad say it’s good we raised you young’uns to be tough because this is not a house for the faint of heart?

  1. Why is the kitchen called the loose juice room?

  1. What use does the hole for the Glass Castle serve?

  1. Who is Rufus?


  1. Why doesn’t anyone help Jeannette paint?

  1. Why do Mom and Dad refuse charity?

  1. Who is Ginnie Sue Pastor and what does Jeannette conclude?

  1. What happens during the battle of Little Hobart Street?

  1. What is another one of Mom’s addictions?

  1. What happens to the ham and what does Mom say to do about it?

  1. What does Brian discover that Mom is hoarding?

  1. What problem do the Walls’ children face with the coming of winter and cold weather?

  1. How cold is it inside the Walls’ house? (p.176)

  1. How does Lori get burned?

  1. What happens between Jeannette and Uncle Stanley?

  1. What is Mom’s reaction?

  1. How does Mom solve the problem of the slippery porch at night?

  1. What does Mom say about self esteem on page 186? Do you agree?

  1. What two suggestions does Jeannette make to her mom regarding their situation?

pp.189- 213

  1. What does Dinitia Hewitt invite Jeannette to do?

  1. Who comes to visit and ask questions at 93 Little Hobart Street?

  1. What does Mom decide to do in response to this visitor?

  1. Why does Mom always buy something the family does not need?

  1. Why does she buy dented cans even if they weren’t cheaper?

  1. What happens to Dinitia Hewitt?

  1. How does Jeannette solve the problem of needing braces?

  1. What activity does Jeannette get involved in even though she is a seventh grader?

  1. What happens when Jeannette is trying to manage the Walls’money when Mom goes away?

  1. How do Jeannette and Dad get the money back?

pp. 214- 244

  1. What job does Jeannette take after her dad takes the check her mom sent?

  1. How does Lori seem after coming home from camp for the summer?

  1. What has Mom decided to do?

  1. What happens between Dad and Jeannette? What does Jeannette decide after this?

  1. How does Lori start making money to go to New York?

  1. Who or what is Elvis?

  1. What does Dad do to Lori’s sculpture? Why do you think he does this?

  1. What happens to Oz?

  1. How does Lori still make it to New York?

10) After Jeannette talks to her guidance counselor, what does she decide to do?

  1. What happens during the conversation about The Glass Castle? What does Jeannette tell her dad?

  1. What does Dad give Jeannette before she leaves?

pp. 242- end

Create 10 study guide questions based on the final section of the book:
End of the Novel Discussion/Review Questions

    1. Though The Glass Castle is brimming with unforgettable stories, which scenes were the most memorable for you? Which were the most shocking, the most inspiring, the funniest?

    1. Discuss the metaphor of the glass castle and what is signifies to Jeannette and her father. Why is it important that, just before leaving for New York, Jeannette tells her father that she doesn’t believe he’ll ever build it?

    1. The first story Walls tells of her childhood is that of her burning herself severly at age three, and her father dramatically takers her from the hospital: “Your safe now” (p.14). Why do you think she opens with that story, and how dies it set the stage for the rest of the memoir?

    1. Rex Walls often asked his children, “Have I ever let you down?” Why was this question (and the required, “No, Dad” response) so important for him – and for his kids? On what occasions did he actually come through for them?

    1. Jeannette’s mother insists that, no matter what, “life with your father was never boring” (p.288). What kind of man was Rex Walls? What were his strengths and weaknesses, his flaws and contradictions?

    1. Discuss Rose Mary Walls. What did you think about her description of herself as an “excitement addict”?(p.93)

    1. Though is portrays an incredibly hardscrabble life, The Glass Castle is never sad or depressing. Discuss the tone of the book, and how do you think the Walls achieved that effect?

    1. Describe Jeannette’s relationship with her siblings and the role they played in each other’s lives.

    1. In college, Jeannette is singled out by a professor for not understanding the plight of homeless people; instead of defending herself, she keeps quiet. Why do you think she does this?

    1. The two major pieces of the memoir—one half set in the desert and one half in West Virginia—feel distinct. What effect did such a big move have on the family—an on your reading of the story? How would you describe the shift in the book’s tone?

    1. Were you surprised to learn that, as adults, Jeannette and her siblings remained close to her parents? Why do you think this is?

    1. What character traits – both good and bad- do you think Jeannette inherited from her parents? And how do you think those traits shaped Jeannette’s life?

13. For many reviewers and readers, the most extraordinary thing about The Glass Castle is that, despite everything, Jeannette Walls refuses to condemn her parents. Were you able to be equally nonjudgemental?

Overall, how would you characterize the Walls’ parenting style? Were there more good things than bad?

What makes a good parent? Is there any such thing as a normal family?

Research dysfunctional families/ homelessness and find out how many families in the United States are

    1. Homeless

    1. Have one or two parents that suffer from alcoholism

    1. How does child welfare work? What constitutes whether a child should be removed from a home

Should the Walls’ children have been placed someplace else?

Explain how the foster child system works – what are its problems
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