When thinking about personal identity has it we are shaped by either nature or nurture.
Nature versus nurture is a fancy way of saying genes versus environment. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a good example of nature versus nurture because Jeannette parents have always been irresponsible for having a stable job and home. Jeannette never liked the way her parents took life so she decided at the end of her senior year of high school to leave her parents and move to New York to go to college and start a new life without struggles. Although they shared the same genes, nurture had a greater impact on Jeannette’s life. Rex and Rose Mary Walls were Jeannette parents. In the memoir, Jeannette describes Rex as an intelligent man with a passion for logic. He is a skilled electrician and engineer, and often spends his spare time inventing contraptions he hopes will make the family rich.
Rex could never keep a job for too long because he would either leave or get fired. ” Dad had kept this job for nearly six months– longer than any other” ( Walls 67). This was when they were in Battle Mountain that Rex wanted to spend more time looking for gold.
Rex suffered sexual abuse as a child, and his troubled past coupled with his alcoholism often makes him incapable of upholding his ideals of self-sufficiency. Thus, notions of masculinity and fatherhood often trouble Rex because he is driven by certain ideas about his role as head of the family. Despite those ideals, he always comes up short due to his alcoholism, which drives him deeper into despair and further drinking. Like Rex, Rose Mary is a free spirit, who also values self-sufficiency. She has little compassion for people who complain about their situation, as she believes people have the power to make their lives whatever they want it to be. She is an artist and spends much of her spare time painting or sketching.
She went to college to be a teacher but resents teaching because she sees it as a sign she is not a talented artist. Rose Mary resents her children because she sees them as standing between her and her dream life of a bohemian artist, while also cherishing them for their companionship, Lori, who shares her interest in art. When Jeannette was 3 years old got burn making hot dogs and spent six weeks in the Hospital where for the first time she realizes not everything was how she lived and that things could be better. After coming home she was starving and no one could make her something so she made a hot dog. “‘Good for you”, said Rose Mary when she saw Jeannette cooking. “You’ve got to get right back in the saddle.
You can’t live in fear of something as basic as fire'” (Walls 15). This is a really big irresponsibility from Rose Marry with a three-year-old girl after getting burn doing the same thing because first of all, it should not have happened in the first place and second of all if it already happens one you wouldn’t want to happen again because it could be worst. Instead, Rose Mary was happy for that and in a way I see that maybe she was trying to teach Jeannette how to be fearless and independent but I don’t think it was the right way. Rose Mary also used to say ” what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” ( Walls 179). It was in January when it was really cold and Lori was trying to keep the house warm when her hair caught on fire, but the explosion had blown back her coat and skirt, and the flames scorched her thighs. So the next day she had blisters and Rose Mary told her after examining the blisters. Rex and Rose Mary were not the best they could be as an example to their children because they were just too lazy to try harder. Although they did not give Jeannette the best of them she learns from every single mistake they make and kept repeating.
On the contrary, Jeannette was different from her parents because since she was little was, mature and responsible. She notices that the struggles they had were her parents choice. She knew that they could do something better so she always tried to fix her family by telling her parents to look for jobs and try to keep the job for a while. realizes She resents Dad’s drinking and how he constantly lets her and the rest of the family down yet never openly admits it or allows his flaws to be discussed. Jeannette also resents Mom’s refusal to hold down a job long enough to provide her kids with a stable food supply. These resentments make her more and more willful and independent.
The reason why she decided during her senior year she was going to move to New York to go to college because she spent so much time trying to make things better in Welch, but nothing had worked everything was just getting worst. “My mind was made up. I was going to New York City as soon as the school year was out” (Walls 237).
Eventually, she scrapes together enough money by babysitting and doing other students homework with the help of Lori and Brian who were doing posters and cutting people grass because Lori was leaving to New York before her to look for an apartment to build the life they dream 3-year-old. When Jeannette moved to New York that start working Lori look for a better apartment that even though it wasn’t is the best neighborhood was better than anything they ever had when living with Rex and Rose Mary. “Our apartment was bigger than the entire house on Little Hobart Street and way fancier” (Walls 247). Their whole life they were used to live in small crowded places like the trailer in a southern Arizona town where Jeannette had to shared room with her siblings or the house in Little Hobart street where the house was never clean or fancy. Jeannette starts working in a hamburger joint right away when she got to New York.
“I had just turned eighteen. I quit my job at hamburger joint the next day and became a full-time reporter for the Phoenix. I’d never been happier in my life” (Walls 248). Jeannette’s dream was to be a journalist and the job at the Phoenix without going to college was heaven for her because she was always so responsible Armstrong offer her this position. Jeannette had the life of a successful reporter; however, she is haunted by her past and is at times uncomfortable with her transition from poverty into the upper-middle class. I’ve always believed that nature had a big impact on our development because it was hereditary from our parents and in some way it was most likely for us to be like them.
But Jeannette’s memoir proved me that nurture have an even stronger impact on our lives because even though you see the things your parents do wrong you chose to not do the same. While growing up you learn what is wrong and what is right and you decide what to do. Jeannette was bullied a lot throughout her life, was told by her grandmother Erma “ungrateful little shit”, was sexually abused her dad being aware and instead of being scared she found the strength within herself to push through and make her stronger.
Jeannette wasn’t completely influenced by nature or nurture because it is clear by the way she was raised by her parents had no impact on the way she turns out as a grown up. But the way she was raised help her to be different than her parents that why I consider that nurture had a greater impact because when she was older she was able to change around all the of the negative things she was taught as a child and self-educated herself to have a good, ambitious work ethic to succeed in life; something her parents never had. Jeannette is an example of how you can do anything you set your mind to, if you wanted bad enough and that you don’t have to be like your parents. The nature versus nurture debate is one of the oldest philosophical issues within psychology. Nature refers to all of the genes and hereditary factors that influence who we are from our physical appearance to our personality characteristics. Nurture refers to all the environmental variables that impact who we are, including our early childhood experiences, how we were raised, our social relationships, and our surrounding culture. My whole life I have heard it said that we are the way we are due to genetic makeup. But in this case, nurture had a greater impact on Jeannette’s life because she not only was aware of how irresponsible her parents were and didn’t care about life and prosperity but because she knew that she didn’t want to be like them.
Jeannette was always responsible for her siblings and had the hope to one day change the way her parents live life. So she decided that it was time to move on because she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life struggling like she has all her childhood. Nurture has a big impact on a child life since they learn from their experiences and their parents and most of the time they take their parents mistakes and learn from it.