The Importance Of Selfishness In The Glass Castle

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The novel, The Glass Castle, exhibits the human tendency to be selfish. This is manifested in both Rex and Rose Mary. Rex is characterized as a selfish father throughout the novel, and his paternal image is consistently skewed because of his actions. His addiction to alcohol ruins countless family events. One year the family’s Christmas is ruined when Rex drinks a great deal of alcohol and burns their tree and presents. Jeanette remembers, “Dad sat on the sofa [...] telling mom he was doing her a favor [...] no one tried to wring dad’s neck [...] or even point out that he’d ruined the Christmas his family has spent weeks planning” (115). Jeanette and her family are always left cleaning up their father’s drunken mess. Even when Rex is sober he does not apologize for ruining sentimental family events and continues to put alcohol before his family. Selfishness can also be seen in Rex’s relationship with money. He takes Jeanette into a bar in order to get money from his friend, Robbie. When Robbie asks if he can take Jeanette upstairs, Jeanette recollects, “So, with Dad’s blessing, I went upstairs” (212). Rex is so self-absorbed that he allows his daughter to go into a strange man's apartment, fully knowing his intentions. During Jeanette and her siblings’ childhood, they experience dangerous situations with their parents’ knowledge and approval. While Rex’s selfish nature is typically derived from his addiction, Rose Mary’s selfishness is simply a reflection of her personality.

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