The main character in The Glass Castle is Jeanette Walls . She faced many tribulations as a child due to her parent's (Rex and Rosemary) unpreparedness and disregard for their children Lori, herself, and Brian. She could only rely on herself to take care of everyone as her parents were unable to.
After cooking hot dogs at the stove at just three years old (by parent's instruction), Jeanette got burned and had to go to the hospital. After being in there for six weeks, her father Rex comes in and sneaks her out, most likely to avoid both CPS agents and expensive hospital bills. This scene gives an example of how early she started taking care of herself. (14
As a child, Walls lived in the desert, her second glimpse of the harsh reality of what it would be like living with her parents. Away from responsibility (her parent's intention), she roamed around, exploring her curious side as she attempted to find animals and look at the stars with her father. This was an innocent time for her; she was still following her father's path as she appreciated his genius and loved him more than anything. (18)
After moving to and living in Welch, WV for a few years, Jeanette begins baby-sitting a woman who is planning on moving to Iowa and gives Jeanette money for work. Instead of using the money for herself, Jeanette gives the money to Lori, someone she recognized needed it more. This act demonstrates her care and desire to support others who need things more than her. (229)
Jeanette eventually escaped Welch, WV to New York. She worried about sticking out as she was raised in Welch in a very poor environment, and suddenly being thrust into such a different world that was so unusual for her. Through moving here, she showed her adventurous self and her daring nature, and persevered through self-doubt and insecurity. (245)
After a while in New York, she realized she didn't need the material things that being there brought her. She missed her home in Welch, and never let her traumatic memories there plague her idea of a small-town-life. She left her husband in New York to return home, and ultimately reconciled with her family. (280-281)