Imagine a world where prestige is evaluated by neither one’s character nor accomplishments, but predetermined by skin color. Visualize a world in which the nuances of skin color are used to sort and divide people amongst two factions: White or Black. Envision society segregated. Whites and Blacks tossed into two different worlds, as if mankind is a pile of dirty laundry which needs to be organized by color. The reality is this hypothetical world did in fact exist in the United States prior to the 1970s.
Racial segregation is one of the most recognized branches of social stratification in American history. Jeannette Walls was a witness of the effects of segregation. She was born on April 21, 1960 in Phoenix, Arizona. Thus, she lived through the segregation period in the Southwest. Her books reflect experiences of her life, such as growing up in poverty and being neglected by her parents. “The Glass Castle” is a perfect example of how she used literature to share her life experiences. “Jeannette Walls expertly turns her painful childhood into a book that depicts poverty from the understanding and point of view as a child, a teenager and an adult.”(Reno) Jeanette Walls also wrote “Silver Star”, a story which takes place in the South and revolves around two troubled teenage girls living in the seventies. One can infer she used the characters to reflect her own experiences growing up as a teenager in the seventies. Although the main characters in the book were fictional, the sociological conflicts people dealt with in this time period were real.
In the book Bean and Liz are abandoned by their mother Charlotte who has a meltdown and runs away after Bean finds out that Charlotte lied about having a boyfriend. This “tribe of three” is under financial duress since Charlotte is incapable of landing a job which will provide them with a steady income and so they live off of old money which they had inherited from their ancestors. After their mother runs away and a few days later the “bandersnatchers” become suspicious of the girls who are living on their own, they have to find their way to shelter by traveling from California all the way to Byler Virginia to find family who will hopefully be willing to take care of them until their mother decides to come back for them. However, it is prevalent that this isn’t the first time the girls have to try and get around on their own. Charlotte has made a habit of running away from her problems and despite her daughters’ desire to have a permanent home the girls frequently have to migrate from one place to another often.
“Every time we run into a problem, we just leave,” I said. “But we always run into a new problem in the new place, and then we have to leave there, too. We’re always just leaving. Can’t we just for once just stay somewhere and solve the problem?” (Walls 236)
Bean blatantly tells her mother that she is sick of running away from her problems and moving every time something goes wrong. She disagrees...