Perspectives on Childhood in The Glass Castle and The Kite Runner

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In John Connolly’s novel, The Book of Lost Things, he writes, “for in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be”. Does one’s childhood truly have an effect on the person one someday becomes? In Jeannette Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle and Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner, this question is tackled through the recounting of Jeannette and Amir’s childhoods from the perspectives of their older, more developed selves. In the novels, an emphasis is placed on the dynamics of the relationships Jeannette and Amir have with their fathers while growing up, and the effects that these relations have on the people they each become. The environment to which they are both exposed as children …show more content…
When sober, Rex is a very intelligent, charismatic man who takes pride in sharing his diverse knowledge with his children and teaching them to embrace life with a fearless attitude. For instance, while the Walls’ are living in Phoenix, Rex impulsively decides to take his family to the zoo after local police officers killed a mountain lion wandering in the city. While there, he leads his children into a cheetah’s cage to pet the creature in order to teach them that “no animal, no matter how big or wild, is dangerous as long as you know what you’re doing” (Walls 106). In the novel, Jeannette recounts this memory with pride and happiness, admiring the fearlessness and calmness she observed in her father around the animal. However, although Jeannette’s perception of her father in that moment is positive, the other visitors at the zoo view Rex as a “crazy drunk man” behaving irresponsibly and recklessly (109). Unfortunately, this behaviour is characteristic of another facet of Rex’s personality: the unpredictable alcoholic. When the burden of his family’s poverty becomes overwhelming and he is unable to remain employed at various odd jobs, Rex turns to alcohol, gambling and prostitution to escape. As a young girl, Jeannette remembers “when Dad pulled out a bottle of what Mom called ‘the hard stuff,’ … Dad turned into an

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