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Changes In Tone Throughout The Glass Castle By Jeannette Walls

770 words - 3 pages

Throughout the Glass Castle there is a constant shift in Jeanettes tone through her use of diction. Her memoir is centered around her memories with her family, but mainly her father Rex Walls. Although it is obvious through the eyes of the reader that Rex is an unfit parent and takes no responsibility for his children, in her childhood years Jeanette continually portrays Rex as an intelligent and loving father, describing her younger memories with admiration in her tone. The capitalization of “Dad” reflects Jeannette’s overall admiration for her father and his exemplary valor. “Dad always fought harder, flew faster, and gambled smarter than everyone else in his stories”(Walls 24). Jeanette also uses simple diction to describe her father, by starting sentences with, “Dad said,” over and over. By choosing to use basic language instead of stronger verbs, she captures her experience in a pure and honest tone.
However as Jeanette and her siblings quickly lose their innocence and are pulled into the reality of life, her idolization of her parents, (especially her father) gradually lessens and she comes to terms with their flawed lifestyle. As she begins to lose hope in her parents, she begins describing them in a more negative light. For example, she exposes the intensification of her father's drinking problem. “He staggered off to the bathroom, came back, ordered one for the road, slammed the shot glass down on the bar, and walked to the door. He lost his footing trying to open it and sprawled on the floor. I tried to help him up, but he kept falling over”(page?) This repugnant and embarrassing description of Rex, contrasts how Jeanette tried to showcase his admirable qualities earlier in the story. In the sentence she also no longer refers to her father as “Dad,” but rather uses the pronoun “he.” Perhaps she feels that is no longer an important aspect in her life and therefore does not deserve the title of “Dad.”
Not only does Jeanette uses specific diction to convey her feelings about her parents, she is able to uses certain words to create a tone for her overall experiences. In the beginning of her memoir, Wall’s writes about her lifestyle in positive light, using words such as “adventure.” and “love.” On page 18 she...

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