Assignment the Glass Castle
A. Jeannette Walls, in her memoir The Glass Castle, demonstrates Erikson’s eight stages of development. Through the carefully recounted stories of her childhood and adolescence, we are able to trace her development from one stage to the next. While Walls struggles through some of the early developmental stages, she inevitably succeeds and has positive outcomes through adulthood. The memoir itself is not only the proof that she is successful and productive in middle adulthood, but the memoir may also have been part of her healing process. Writing is often a release and in writing her memoir and remembering her history, she may have been able to come to terms with her sad past. The memoir embodies both the proof
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She is able to meet people because she is in charge of the newspaper and create the semblance of a social life. Journalism becomes her career path and she settles on this occupational identity. Erikson’s sixth stage is Young Adulthood in which the person must master the crisis of intimacy versus isolation and the quality that this stage centers around is love. Balancing intimacy and isolation is important in that only in knowing how to be on one’s own can one learn to truly love. Jeannette is married twice, first to Erik, then to John. While she was able to develop intimacy and love with Erik, after five years, she realizes that he is a good man, just not the right fit for her. After her separation, she is on her own again and appreciates her independence, exemplified through her ice-skating. Felt best when I was on the move, going someplace rather than being there Ice-skating was her way to escape, a distraction, to pretend to be somewhere she was not because she was not happy with her situation in life. After some time on her own and learning to accept isolation, she is able to find love again and this time, a more enduring love.
Generativity versus stagnation is the central conflict in Middle Adulthood, Erikson seventh stage of development. Concerns during this stage include parenting and work. Expressions of generativity are to establish and guide the next generation