Two childhoods, both plagued by hardships, suffering, alcoholic and neglecting parents–this was how Jeannette Walls and David Pelzer grew up. Their familial situations are only different in that Walls parents were forgivable because they had good intentions and tried their best despite their addictions and financial situations, whereas Pelzerr’s parents are seemingly unforgivable–one parent was a sadist and abusive mother, while the other left the family and never stood up for his son. This essay will examine the similarities and differences in the styles that Walls and Pelzer recount their unusual, and painful, childhoods.
The central argument of The Glass Castle revolves around the the theme of unconditional love. As the Walls family moved from the dessert to West Virginia, Jeannette began to understand that her life wasnt a never-ending, fun adventure. When the Walls family switched to a sedentary lifestyle, both of her parentr’s carefree mentalities caused serious damage that consumed the whole family. Jeannette suffered from extreme poverty, bullying, and having to be held accountable to feed her siblings. Though she is anxious to get away from her parents and the circumstances they have made her suffer through, Walls still loves them and never blamed them for anything. When her parents followed her and her siblings to New York and became homeless, the reader sees that she loves them enough to want to help them better their living conditions. She never turns her back on them, though she definitely has enough reasons to do so.
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Unlike The Glass Castle, A Child Called It is not a story of a familyr’s unconditional love. The central arguments of A Child Called It try to show readers how a parent can become abusive and how the human spirit can prevail. Pelzer himself states that these are his objectives for writing the memoir in the afterword. Unlike Walls The Glass Castle, Pelzer does not write his memoir to show his parents any forgiveness. His mother was his abuser, and his father was a coward that didnt stand up for his own son. He holds no sentiment for his childhood, save for the few years before his abuse. But instead, Pelzer wishes to tell his experience to show how the human spirit can conquer and survive all as long as it stays strong.
Both Pelzer and Walls wanted to use a type of language and word choice in their works that their characters would have used when when they were young to create the effect that the reader was actually reading his/her thoughts at that particular time.
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