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Social Issues Presented In Jeannette Wall's Memoir, The Glass Castle

1110 words - 4 pages

There are several different social issues presented in Jeannette Wall’s memoir “The Glass Castle.” These issues included neglect – medical and education,
unsanitary living conditions, homelessness, unemployment, alcohol abuse, domestic
violence, discrimination, mental health issues, physical and sexual abuse, hunger and poverty. Poverty was one of the major key issues addressed in this memoir. Poverty is referred to as the inability to provide for one basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, medical etc. Walls (2005), stated that at times they would go days without eating and would keep their hunger to themselves, but always thought of ways to get their hands on some food. She further stated that

“At lunchtime, when other kids unwrapped their sandwiches or brought their hot meals, Brian and I would get out a book and read…..I told people that I had forgotten my lunch {but} no one believed me, so I started hiding in the bathroom {stall} during lunch hour….When other girls came in and threw away their lunch bags in the garbage pail, I’d retrieved them and return to the stall and polished of my tasty finds ”

The major thesis addressed by the author, detailed the struggles she faced
throughout her childhood with an alcoholic father and a selfish mother who cared more about her art and happiness than that of her children’s. Alcohol misuse can affect all aspects of family functioning: social life, finances, good communication, relationships between family members, parenting capability, employment and health issues , It also has a strong correlation with conflicts, disputes and domestic violence which can leave a damaging effect on children. Alcohol misuse often times change the roles played by family members in relation to one another, and to the outside world as well. Most families operate in a system where responsibilities are divided. For example, one parent manages the family's finances, while the other supervises the children as in the case of the Wall’s family. However, as one parent develops a drinking problem, the other family members, often times children included, are more likely to find themselves having to take over the other parent’s role and may be performing all the roles as a result. Such as, shopping, household management, finances and so on.

A major consequence of alcohol misuse is that the drinker's behavior is more
likely to becomes unpredictable. For example, the drinker may become easily agitated and abusive. Another area of family functioning which is often affected by alcohol misuse relates to the kind of communications that takes place between family members.

It may be that the partner with the problem refuses to talk about it, even though it is clearly beginning to dominate his or her, and the family's, life, may become tense and nervous, keeping a watchful eye over the other parent.

Alcohol Impact on parenting capabilities and children are other areas of concern.

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