2: The Highs and Lows of City Life (Pages 110-125)

2: The Highs and Lows of City Life (Pages 110-125)

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Storyboard Description

After Rex lost many jobs while living in Phoenix, there was no steady income and the family's wealth slowly dwindled. Rex’s alcoholism continued to run rampant as the living conditions of the family worsened. In desperation, the family began stealing the money and clothing they needed. On the night of Christmas Eve, a drunk and ill-mannered Rex causes the family to be forcefully removed from the mass Rose Mary had brought them to. Upon their return home, Rose Mary gifts Rex a new lighter which he uses to light the tree on fire, burning it and all the presents beneath it. The kids cried out in dismay as Rex laughed at what he had done. The family once again is forced to shut down and close off from Rex’s actions. Later, that spring, Jeannette turned 10. Now being in the double digits, Rex was happy to offer her anything she could ever want. In response to this opportunity, Jeannette asked for her father to become a sober man. After some deep thought, Rex then decided to lock himself in his bedroom for the next few days, restrained, to suffer through the effects of withdrawal without any temptations. Through his agonizing screams, Jeannette remained outside his door with an orange juice jug filled with water, for whenever he may need it. On the way to Rex’s spur of the moment destination, the Grand Canyon, a sober Rex drives so fast that the car breaks down. With their road trip ruined and no car, the family has no choice but to walk and hitchhike eighty miles back to Phoenix, a reluctant Rex was forced to accept help from a traveling woman. When they return, Rex begins drinking again, and the family becomes frustrated with him and with their life in Phoenix. Rose Mary acquires a new car and makes plans to leave city life behind her. She wants to relocate the family across the country to West Virginia, where Rex's parents live. On the day of their departure, Rex refuses to go with them, but the kids beg him to come until he agrees to come along.

Storyboard Text

  • "You know if it's humanly possible, I'll get it for you. And if it ain't humanly possible, I'll die trying." (Walls 116).
  • "Do you think you could maybe stop drinking?" (Walls 116).
  • What have I become?
  • Rex is offering the world to Jeannette for her 10th birthday, yet all she wants is for her dad to be sober from now on.
  • Once hearing Jeannette's wish, Rex feels that Jeannette is ashamed of him as he sits in quiet contemplation under the orange tree.
  • The next morning, as well as for the next few days, Rex stays tied in his bedroom to fight his urges for alcohol. He groans in agony while going through each stage of withdrawal.
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