Character Anaylsis: Rex Walls

Blog #2: Character

While most of the characters in the novel, The Glass Castle, are compelling and complex, I found the character Rex Wells, the father figure in the story, to be the most compelling. Since Rex Wells is not the protagonist of the novel, most of what the reader knows about Rex is based on the observations and details that Jeannette chooses to share with the reader. From what Jeannette shares with the reader, one can see Rex Walls slowly loss control of his family and loss faith in himself as he turns to alcohol and crime.
In first initial chapters of Jeannette’s memoir, Rex Wells is seen as a respectable parent who encourages himself and others to dream. He believes in himself and aspires to be better then he is. “When dad wasn’t telling us about the amazing things he had done, he was telling us about the wondrous things he was going to do,”(25). He may not be the most traditional parent but his intentions were clear, always aspires for better. Because of his own terrible childhood, Rex is conscience to not make the same mistakes that his parents did. While his attempts are somewhat respectable, examples being; he teaches the children how to survive on next to nothing, properly fight attackers and encourages them to work hard in school; Rex still can’t not escape his past and poverty, and consequently falls subject to alcoholism. Once the Walls family has to move back to Rex Wall’s parents’ house, his downfall and loss of hope becomes a permanent state of mind. Back at his parents' house, Rex is forced to face reality that he is not able to provide for his family and he has not achieved any of the things that he aspired to do. Rex is described to “had taken to disappearing for days at a time…his explanations [for disappearing] were either so vague or improbable that I [Jeannette] stopped asking,”(171). Once Rex realizes the improbability of his dreams, he gives up and falls into a deeper dependence on his children and alcohol. Rex changes from a loving, idealist to a mad drunk, leaving behind all previous faith that he had in himself and the quality of his life.

1 comment:

  1. I found your analysis of Rex Walls to be very insightful. I strongly agree with your statement that "Rex Walls is seen as a respectable parent who encourages himself and others to dream" and I would infer that by "seen" you mean on the exterior, because within himself, Rex is a selfish and greedy man, evolving into an extreme version of this by the middle of the novel. While Rex had a poverty stricken childhood, he attempts to change that outcome for his children, although miserably fails.