A Complicated Kindness and The Glass Castle: Synthesis Essay James Esdras Faust who was an American religious leader, lawyer, and politician (en.wikipedia.org) said, “To be a good father and mother requires that the parents defer many of their own needs and desires in favor of the needs of their children” (brainyquote.com).
A Complicated kindness by Miriam Toews is a story about Nomi NIckel who is a sixteen year old girl struggling with the usual teen things, but also with the excommunication of her mother and sister from her religious town. Nomi’s community is devout, and follows a strict code of conduct. When she was thirteen, her older sister Tash left the community with her boyfriend.
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Then, her mother Trudie also departed without saying goodbyes or anything, leaving Nomi in the care of her loving but emotionally closed father, Ray. Nomi dreams of big cities and bigger adventures. She is restless, not doing well in school, and begins doing drugs. She finds some comfort in her boyfriend, Travis, to whom she also loses her virginity. But is bothered by the thought that if she stays in her hometown, she will be condemned to a dead end job at the local slaughterhouse. Nomi eventually finds out that her mother had an affair with her English teacher, Mr.
Quiring. She also discovers that it was the affair and Mr. Quiring’s threats to tell the community about her mother’s betrayal that led to her mother’s departure. Nomi’s behaviour continues to slide downhill, and she is excommunicated from the church for lack of attendance. She is also in trouble for setting her boyfriend’s truck on fire after an argument. As this conflict peaks, Nomi’s father also leaves town, finally running away from a lifetime of obedience to his culture.
However, he hands over the ownership of the family home to her, and the vehicle, setting her free to follow her own wishes. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is memoir of Jeannette’s life growing up in a poor, dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant family. Her father Rex, an alcoholic, when sober was a brilliant and charismatic father and thought his children physics, geology and how embrace life fearlessly. But when drunk he became destructive and dishonest.
Her mother Rose, was a free spirit who hated the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family. Jeannette, Lori (oldest sister), Brian (brother) and then later Maureen (youngest sister) learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another but eventually circumstances become so bad that they realize they must move away from their parents in order to achieve stable lives.
Lori and Jeannette set their sights on New York and begin saving money to move out of Welch once and for all. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. In both novels the parent(s) made some sort of a sacrifice for their children so they can have better lives. In A Complicated Kindness Ray Nickel eventually leaves the town and his lifetime obedience to his culture behind. He gives everything to Nomi and leaves, setting her free to do whatever she wants.
In The Glass Castle Rex Wall and Rose Mary followed their children to New York making sure they were safe and well, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. Like James E. Faust mentioned “To be a good father and mother requires that the parents defer many of their own needs and desires in favor of the needs of their children” (brainyquote.com) this is the case in both of the novels. In Complicated Kindness Nomi’s behaviours, habits and lack of attendance in school eventually leads to her being excommunicated from the community. Her father Ray, makes an sacrifice of leaving the town and the lifetime of obedience to his religion behind, giving her the freedom of whatever she wants. The excommunication of her mother and sister left Nomi really bewildered, she tries to fend off this disappearance and the suffocating righteousness of her religion by using “drugs and my imagination” (Miriam Toews 54). She and her group of teen friends drive around in pickup trucks, smoking , reading romance novels, and listening to Lou Reed, dreaming of city people and city pleasures.
Sometimes they sit out on the flatlands and watch the distant lights of other, thrilling places, before they have to return to their own reality: “Main Street is as dead as ever. There’s a blinding white light at the water-tower end of it and Jesus standing in the centre of it in a pale blue robe with his arms out, palms up, like he’s saying how the hell would I know? I’m just a carpenter” (Miriam Toews 47). Travis, Nomi’s boyfriend begins to not treat her well, pressured her into having sex with him and later has an affair with another girl.
Because of this Nomi sets his truck on fire;I set the truck on fire in the parking lot of Kyro Motor Inn, parked hastily outside room number six. They must have found a sitter for the Cabbage Patch doll. It was just a tiny corner of a rolled-up carpet sticking out of the end of the truck, but it went poof, fireball, really fast (Miriam Toews 229).
And because of her these constant rebellious acts she gets excommunicated from the community. But her father Ray, sacrifices his comfort and desires and leaves the town with only his personal items and a dipping bird that Nomi had bought him as a present. He leaves the car and house ownership in her custody, giving her the freedom of whatever she wants to do with it. As Nomi mentions in the book,I have a car, a Custom 500 Ford four-door, plenty of legroom .
. All my dad left with was his new suit, his dipping bird, and the bible he’d had since he was kid. He laid out all the information in a note he left on the kitchen table (Miriam Toews 239).
This shows the love Ray had for Nomi, he could not bare and watch his daughter being excommunicated from the community so he leaves the town and everything behind leaving her the house and the car, giving her the choice of staying or leaving the town. He deferred many of this own needs and desires in favor of Nomi, her daughter. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is also an example of parents deferring many of their own needs and desires for their children. In The Glass Castle Jeannette is a young teen who is being raised in a very dysfunctional and poor family. Her father Rex who’s a brilliant and Charismatic guy but is an alcoholic at the same time, her mother Rose on other hand has her own desires of becoming an successful artist. Rose also abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family. The children learned to take care of themselves.
Jeannette from a very young age had to cook and feed herself, like Jeannette mentions it in the book; I was three years old, and we were living in a trailer park in a southern Arizona town whose name I never knew. I was standing on a chair in front of a stove, wearing a pink dress my grand-mother had bought me … But at the moment, I was wearing the dress to cook hot dogs, watching them swell and bob in the boiling water as the late-morning sunlight filtered in through the trailer’s smallKitchen window (Jeannette Walls 9).
This unfortunately even gets worse as they group up and move from town to town because Rex can’t maintain a job due to his alcoholism and attitude or “the unpaid bills piled up too high or the lineman from the electrical company found out he Rex had hot-wired our trailer to the utility poles” (Jeannette Walls 19). Jeanette’s mother does get a job as a teacher in Welch because “Qualified teachers were so scare in McDowell County that two of the teachers I’d Jeannette have at Welch High School had never been to collage. Mom was able to land a job by the end of the week” (Jeannette Walls 196) Jeannette explains. But The Job doesn’t last long beacuse; One morning toward the end of the school year, Mom had a complete meltdown. She was supposed to write up evaluations of her students’ progress, but she’d spent every free minute painting, and now the deadline was on her and evaluations were unwritten. The remedial reading program was going to lose its funding and the principle would be either furious or just plain disgusted .
.. Mom lay wrapped up in blankets on the sofa bed, sobbing about how much she hated her life (Jeannette Walls 207).
So the children realize that the only way they could could have proper stable lives is that they move away from their parents. Jeannette and Lori come up with a plan to leave for New York and apply for collage there when they have finished high school and are old enough, Brain later also joins in on the plan. One by one they move to New York, Lori was the first, then Jeannette and later Brain and Maureen. One morning three years after Jeannette had moved to New York she heard on the radio about a terrible traffic jam on New Jersey Turnpike; “The announcer reported a terrible traffic jam on the New Jersey Turnpike.
A van had broken down, spilling clothes and furniture all over the road and creating a big backup” (Jeannette Walls 252).Jeannette and her siblings realize that it was their parents doing. Jeannette later calls them to ask and they admitted that it was them. They have a get together at Lori’s apartment the next day and during a conversation Rex says that they moved “so we could be a family again” (Jeannette Walls 253) they stayed at Lori place for a month before they had move out since Lori could afford rent and resources. Rex and Rose start living on the streets, the children tried to help them with money but they denied the offers. Jeannette’s parent eventually find an abandoned apartment to live in and are off the streets. Unfortunately Rex gets really sick and passes away, they have have a get together on thanksgiving day at end of the book. Rose and the rest of the family all to a toast to Rex.
Rose holds up her glass and says “Life with your father was never boring” (Jeannette Walls 288). This shows how much sacrifice the parents had to make in The Glass Castle they left everything all there desires behind and move to New York to look after and help their children in the time of need. There was time when Jeannette was going to dropout of College because she could not afford it, her dad Rex gave her the money by gambling In New York even though they needed the money more than Jeannette. In A Complicated Kindness Ray Nickel eventually leaves the town and his lifetime obedience to his culture behind. He gives everything to Nomi and leaves, setting her free to do whatever she wants.
In The Glass Castle Rex Wall and Rose Mary followed their children to New York making sure they were safe and well, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. Like James E. Faust mentioned “To be a good father and mother requires that the parents defer many of their own needs and desires in favor of the needs of their children” (brainyquote.com).