Memoir Unit

Memoir Unit
The Glass Castle
Week One
Formative Analysis Reflection
Make foldables
Choice Reading
From the desk of Zach…
Rex Walls explained to his children that the shimmering
heat waves, which radiated from the tops of flames, as
the boundary between turbulence and order. The Walls
family greatly reflects this line between chaos and
This border is portrayed as the Walls’ reside in Welch.
Jeannette’s mother protestingly agrees to apply for a
teaching position. The occupation accrues a steady
income for the household, yet no stability. Jeannette
epitomizes the situation, “So even though she had a
steady job, we were pretty much living like we were
before” (Walls 198).
The boundary between turbulence and order is exemplified
though the Walls’ house on 93 Little Hobart Street. With
the failed attempt of Jeannette’s to improve its
appearance, the house became two-toned. It consisted
of, “Instead of a freshly painted yellow house, or even a
dingy gray one, we now had a weird-looking half
finished patch job..” (158).
The dual-colored dwelling symbolized this boundary
with the fresh paint representing order and with the
dingy gray displaying tumultion. However, neither
color dominated and both were ever present.
The final manifestation of the Walls’ life habitually
residing in the gray area between turbulence and
order is the idea of The Glass Castle. This essential
ideology of the family is based upon order and array
as it would be a habitable, permanent residence.
Their current lifestyle is mostly chaos, but the castle
is so deeply rooted in their psyche that it drives them
not to completely fall into the fire. Jeannette and
Brian even begin to dig the foundation, “We found a
shovel and a pick axe… and spent just about every
free minute digging” (155).
From the desk of Patricia…
“The speedometer needle crept past 100, the last number on
the dial, and pushed into the empty space beyond.” This
quote from page 119 of Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle is
a stomach-dropping excerpt from the everyday life of the
Walls family. Rex Walls, Jeannette’s dad, tells his children
one day when they set a shed on fire to look at the
shimmering place between the fire and the sky, where colors
blur and molecules separate excitedly, and tells them that
this is the zone known in physics as the boundary between
turbulence and order- which draws a strong connection to
the life they lead.
Later, when he challenges their old car to go as fast as it can,
for a second or two they cross that boundary. The zone in
physics is also known as a place that no rules apply, and
when the speedometer climbs past 100 and into “the empty
space beyond” it seems that anything could happen, since
nothing is written after that number. Who knows whether the
car will continue to speed up, or explode, or go “Back to the
Future”? Turbulence is in its element for Rex Walls and his
Order, however, also demands a turn. If one were to
read on, one would find that “white steam that
smelled like iron started pouring out from the sides
of the hood…with a terrible coughing, clunking
noise, the car began to slow” (119). As the family
nears some kind of metaphorical impossibility, the
car breaks down (which makes the laws of physics
and the laws of the universe in charge of the family
The Walls family is never completely in turbulence nor
in order. When either one goes on for too long, they
are catapulted by their own inner nature into each
Title, author, year
Concise claim
Support and quotes
Set the scene
Quote to qualify
Loop for logic
Rhetorical Vocab.
Interruption (2)
Omission (2)
Repetition (6)
Comparison (6)
Balance (8)
Word Play (9)
GRAPESSS Analysis
David Sedaris
Video Clip
Me Talk Pretty One Day excerpt
G.R.A.P.E.S.S.S. analysis
G- Genre
R- Rhetoric
A- Audience
P- Purpose
E- Effect (tone)
S- Speaker
S- Subject
S- Situation
Meet David Sedaris
“The ‘rock star’ of writing”
~Writer’s Digest
Me Talk Pretty Excerpt
Group discussion on Current Events
GRAPESSS analysis
SSR and conferring
Current Events
USA Today
Fox News
NBC News
Effect (tone)
Find a Current Events Article
Print, Read, and Annotate
GRAPESSS Analysis on page 8-9 in
notebook for a formative assessment
Ready to share tomorrow
SSR and conferring
Discuss Current Events article
AP 30 Book Challenge
Keep track in notebook
Conferring provides evidence
Award at end of the year!
What is tone?
How is it established in a piece?
Written and visual
Why is it important?
“That was the thing about the hospital. You
never had to worry about running out of
stuff like food or ice or even chewing gum.
I would have been happy staying in that
hospital forever” (Walls 12).
Tone in The Glass Castle
“All we had to do was find gold, Dad said,
and we were on the verge of that. Once he
finished the Prospector and we struck it
rich, he’d start work on our Glass Castle”
(Walls 25).
Tone in The Glass Castle
 “After a while, it got cold and uncomfortable in
the back of the dark U-Haul. The engine made
the floor vibrate, and we’d all go tumbling
whenever we hit a bump. Several hours passed.
By then we were all dying to pee and wondering
if Dad was going to pull over for a rest stop.
Suddenly, with a bang, we hit a huge pothole
and the back doors on the U-Haul flew open.
The wind shrieked through the compartment”
(Walls 49).
Current Events
Group discussion
GRAPESSS analysis
Thoughts on article
Formative Analysis #3
Choice Reading
Focus Question #4
Look at the last sentence in The Glass Castle:
“A wind picked up, rattling the windows, and
the candle flames suddenly shifted, dancing
along the border between turbulence and
order” (288).
How is the tone of this last sentence consistent
with the ending of the story?
Writing Plan
1. Explain the tone of the passage from
the book (remember the details!)
2. Analyze the word choice in the quote
that makes up the tone and qualify your
3. Explain what happened at the end of
the memoir
4. Explain how the two are consistent with
each other (tone and ending)
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