The Glass Castle Part III: Welch (High School), continued Summary & Analysis | SparkNotes (2023)

Summary: Part III (High School), continued

When Jeannette starts high school, Dinitia tells Jeannette that her mother’s boyfriend has moved in. Later, she tells Jeannette she is pregnant. When Dinitia disappears, Jeannette hears that she stabbed her mother’s boyfriend to death.

Jeannette is disappointed that boys don’t like her. She describes herself as tall and pale with bright red hair and buck teeth. Jeannette works as a proofreader for the school newspaper, the Maroon Wave, and finds that she likes the professional, fast-paced atmosphere of a newsroom. The typesetter complains about the way Jeannette smells, so she starts taking baths at Uncle Stanley’s again, making sure to keep a safe distance.

(Video) Explanatory Essay - Part II for The Glass Castle

The following summer, Mom goes to a conference in Charleston to renew her teaching license. Lori goes to a summer camp for gifted high school students, and Jeannette is excited to take control of the family budget. But when Dad asks for money, she finds herself unable to tell him no.

To pay Jeannette back for the money he’s used, he takes her to a bar, where he wins eighty dollars in a pool game against his friend Robbie. As part of the scheme to distract Robbie, Dad lets Robbie dance with Jeannette. After, Robbie takes Jeannette upstairs to his apartment, where he attempts to rape her. When Jeannette tells Dad that Robbie attacked her, Dad compares the incident to the time he threw Jeannette in the hot spring, knowing she’d figure out how to survive. He says they make a great team.

(Video) The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls || Full Audiobook

To make ends meet, Jeannette lies about her age to get a job at Becker’s Jewel Box. She likes the work, but Mr. Becker sometimes touches her inappropriately. When Mr. Becker refuses to let Jeannette earn commission, she steals a watch, but returns it a few days later because she’s afraid of losing her job.

Lori returns from camp renewed and inspired to leave Welch as soon as possible. Mom returns from Charleston and announces she will quit her teaching job and dedicate all her time to art. Furious and fed up, Jeannette confronts her parents for not being more responsible. Dad whips her with a belt for her disrespect. Jeannette runs outside to clear her head and decides she will also leave Welch. She buys a piggy bank to help her and Lori save for a new life in New York City.


Lori, Jeannette, and Brian save all the money they earn from odd jobs around Welch. One day, Jeannette comes home to find her piggy bank slashed and all the money gone. Dad vehemently denies stealing it and then disappears for three days. In the end, Jeannette secures Lori a summer babysitting job with a bus ticket to New York City as part of the payment.

Lori thrives in New York City, and Jeannette decides she will leave that summer and finish her senior year there. Dad tries to convince her to stay by showing her the blueprints to the Glass Castle, but she is determined to leave. Mournfully, Dad walks Jeannette to the bus station.

(Video) The Glass Castle - Pages 226-241

Analysis: Part III (High School), continued

Dinitia’s plight underscores how racism and segregation enforce artificial divides between people who otherwise have a lot in common. Dinitia doesn’t identify the father when she tells Jeannette she is pregnant, but she later goes to prison for stabbing her mother’s boyfriend to death. Jeannette does not explicitly draw any conclusions, but the narration implies that Dinitia was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. From this incident, we can see that Dinitia and Jeannette’s families have quite a few similarities, including unsafe home environments, parents who put themselves before their children, and sexual violence. These parallels reveal that extreme poverty, regardless of its root causes, can have the same tragic consequences regardless of race. Furthermore, the town’s strained race relations prevent the girls from becoming very close. Had they been able to confide in each other, they could have at the very least provided some solace in mutual understanding. In this way, racism isolates Dinitia and Jeannette, depriving them of an ally.

Dad’s use of Jeannette to distract Robbie marks another shift in their relationship because Dad no longer treats her as his child. Dad actively encourages Jeannette to flirt with Robbie, a marked contrast to his childhood lesson of pervert hunting. When Jeannette confronts Dad after her escape, he cites their trip to the Hot Pot, indicating that he intentionally subjected Jeannette to the threat of sexual violence with Robbie, convinced that she could protect herself. Dad’s explanation perverts the lesson that Jeannette internalized at the Hot Pot when she was a little girl. At the Hot Pot, Dad promises that he only put her in danger so that she would learn to swim, or grow and become independent. With Robbie, Dad threw her in the proverbial pool so that they could win eighty dollars. A clue to this change in attitude lies in the way Dad says that they’re a team. This word choice shows that Dad now views Jeannette as his teammate, his equal, not his daughter whom he has a duty to protect.

(Video) The Glass Castle - Pages 110-125

Mom and Dad punish Jeannette for calling out their parenting skills because she directly challenges their authority, shattering the family narrative. When Dad whips Jeannette with a belt, it’s the first time either parent has disciplined their kids, which shows us how deeply Jeannette’s words have cut him. Throughout Jeannette’s childhood and up until Welch, the Walls family has always described themselves as creative and brilliant, and implied the children were lucky to have such wonderful parents. While their hardships in Welch have by now thoroughly shattered this illusion, Jeannette is the first to explicitly say so by accusing Mom and Dad of not acting like parents. She has not just called out Mom and Dad but completely broken through their self-images. Dad’s response, to impose physical punishment, reveals that he believes acting like a parent involves holding the power over one’s children, controlling them instead of guiding and protecting them.


What happened in Part 3 of The Glass Castle? ›

Erma dies that winter, and Dad is visibly distraught. After the funeral, Lori says “Ding dong the witch is dead,” causing Dad to lose his temper and run away for four days. Erma's house burns down that same winter because Uncle Stanley fell asleep with a cigarette in his hand.

What is the overall summary of The Glass Castle? ›

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly.

What is the significance of Welch in The Glass Castle? ›

In The Glass Castle, Welch, West Virginia is the hometown of family patriarch Rex, and the town where the family settles for most of Jeannette's high school years. Read more about The Glass Castle, Welch, and how Jeannette left the town for a better life.

What is an important quote from Glass Castle Part 3? ›

The Glass Castle Quotes Part III: Welch. “Life is a drama full of tragedy and comedy. You should learn to enjoy the comic episodes a little more.” “You should never hate anyone, even your worst enemies.

What happens when Rose Mary takes the kids to get enrolled in school in Welch and tells the principal that they are gifted? ›

When Mom takes the kids to enroll in school, she doesn't have their records but assures the principal that they are gifted. The principal makes the kids answer rapid-fire questions, but the children can't understand his Appalachian accent, and the principal can't understand them.

Why did the principal at Welch Elementary place Jeannette and Brian in classes for students with learning disabilities? ›

The three of them meet with the principal who asks them simple questions to test their intelligence. However, due to their dissimilar accents, the principal can't understand their answers and they can't understand his questions, so they end up being placed into classes for students with learning disabilities.

What is the most important lesson from The Glass Castle? ›

A story of heartbreak and healing, The Glass Castle not only provokes thought, but also provides us with an important reminder: by setting goals and making steps to achieve them, the glittering castle doesn't have to be a fragile dream—it can be a firm and beautiful reality.

What is the conclusion of The Glass Castle? ›

The book ends with a heartwarming toast. Mom says, "Life with your father was never boring" (5.1. 25), and the family shares funny stories about Dad. Probably not the stories where he almost killed them, or the stories about how he defended his own mother after she sexually assaulted his son.

What does the ending to The Glass Castle mean? ›

In The Glass Castle ending, the family reminisced about the craziness of the past and all of Rex's antics, including those that showcased how much he cared about his kids. John proposed a toast to Rex, and Rose Mary raised her glass.

Why does Jeannette want to leave Welch? ›

Jeannette starts to seriously consider leaving Welch at the end of her junior year in order to obtain in-state consideration by going to a New York high school her senior year. While Mom is jealous of her plan, she does not stop Jeannette.

What do the cars symbolize in The Glass Castle? ›

The Walls family cars symbolize a second home for the kids due to their nomadic lifestyle except when they settle in Welch, West Virginia, and the new Cadillac Coupe DeVille signifies their socio-economic class according to Rose Mary.

How does Lori get out of Welch? ›

Jeannette suggests the family takes Lori instead and to send her to New York instead of Welch. Thus, Lori manages to escape and begin her new life after all.

What events happened in The Glass Castle? ›

Jeannette Walls Timeline & Summary

Jeannette falls out of the car, accidentally blows up a shack, and gets up to other unsupervised hijinks. The Walls family moves in with Dad's mom, Erma. Erma is sexually abusive toward Brian, and Lori and Jeannette defend him. The Wallses soon move into their own little shack.

What happened in Chapter 4 of The Glass Castle? ›

Winter is rough, and Mom breaks down crying in front of Lori, saying that life is hard. Jeannette considers dropping out of college to help, but Lori convinces her that that would be the dumbest thing to do. After all, Mom and Dad can take care of themselves.

What mental illness does Rose Mary have in The Glass Castle? ›

Walls' father, Rex, was a charming, intelligent alcoholic who was also likely suffering from an undiagnosed bipolar disorder; her mother Mary Rose is a self-described “excitement addict” who often neglected her children to focus on her painting.

Who has mental illness in The Glass Castle? ›

Q: Maureen has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.


1. Jeannette Walls - The Glass Castle
(Helmke Library)
2. The Glass Castle - Pages 48-61
(English 9 BAHS - Ms. Roberts & Ms. McGriff)
3. The Self as a Story - Dan McAdams
(Monmouth College)
4. Family Adopts a New Dog Then Vet Sees It and Calls the Cops
(Facts Verse)
5. FREE Audiobooks on YouTube (Full Length) and how to find them
6. The Great Reset: Joe Biden and the Rise of Twenty-First-Century Fascism English Full Audiobook
(Readers Hub)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kimberely Baumbach CPA

Last Updated: 06/19/2023

Views: 5627

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kimberely Baumbach CPA

Birthday: 1996-01-14

Address: 8381 Boyce Course, Imeldachester, ND 74681

Phone: +3571286597580

Job: Product Banking Analyst

Hobby: Cosplaying, Inline skating, Amateur radio, Baton twirling, Mountaineering, Flying, Archery

Introduction: My name is Kimberely Baumbach CPA, I am a gorgeous, bright, charming, encouraging, zealous, lively, good person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.