Room

I am not quite finished with the book Room yet, but am undoubtedly in the heart of this story. To be honest, I started this novel written by Irish-born Emma Donoghue with a bit of skepticism; I was doubtful about the extremely unique narration style, and really wasn’t sure if I liked where it was going. However, I quickly changed my mind when the tension started picking up at an alarming rate. I am about half way done with this creatively brilliant novel, and am absolutely dying to know what will happen next. One thing in particular that I liked about our last section of reading was Jack’s reactions to the outside world—he is so surprised by everything, and even though the situation is so horrible, I find myself laughing at Jack’s remarks to things he experiences. For example, on page 167, when he is talking the police officer, Officer Oh, she is asking him about the tooth that he has. She asks him for the tooth he is carrying of Ma’s, and Jack says “It’s of Ma.” Then the officer says, “That’s your ma that you were talking about?” Jack carries on by telling the reader, “I think her brain’s not working like her ears aren’t, how could Ma be a tooth? I shake my head.” This was just one of many parts that stood out to me. The brilliant thing about this novel is precisely the narration from a five year old; and not only that, but one that has been locked in a 120 foot room his entire life. Every single thing he does has a completely different view that what most people get from things in life. He is basically starting from step one, and has to go against everything he knows once he gets into the real world. A lot of times, this view that Jack has is positive and honestly quite refreshing. However, it is dampened when we remember that he only has these views because he has been locked away from almost all aspects of the real world since the day he was born. In the same way, it is interesting to read about how people see Jack, and what their reactions are like. Most people know something is wrong, but can’t quite figure it out. Officer Oh was bright, and you could even say lucky enough to put the pieces together and figure out something was seriously wrong, and that his Ma needed help soon.

I am truly blown away by Donoghue’s ability in Room to create so much tension! I was honestly getting nervous myself and feeling a bit anxious because of the tension and stresses that take place during Jack’s escape and the search for Ma. There are so many factors that come into play and that can go wrong with this escape. Just the fact that Jack has no experience with anything he is going to deal with when he gets out is extremely troubling. For example, what will he possible think of trees, cars, houses, rivers, wind… the list goes on. All these things that are so normal and regular for us will be of the utmost astonishment for young Jack. Another big thing is Jack doesn’t even want to escape. He doesn’t understand it and has no clue why they would want to rebel against Old Nick or escape from Room. Finally, perhaps the most troubling thing to me while all this is going on, and maybe the most transparent or overlooked aspect, is what poor Ma is going through after Jack leaves. I imagine that her only option in a situation like this is to pray and just say it is up to Jack and God as to what happens while her son is in the outside world. Otherwise, she could drive herself mad by over thinking all these variables. Still, I feel so bad for Ma and I don’t think any of us know a half of what she is going on while Jack is in “TV”; she has to be a wreck, at least I know I would be. So far, Room has been a great read, and I cannot wait to find out what happens next!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. caseyrmcg
    Dec 03, 2013 @ 18:30:37

    I, too, was completely struck by Jack’s narration and the innocence of a five-year-old’s viewpoint, especially in such an alarming and terrifying situation. After finishing the novel, I began to think about how one could analyze this text and what one could receive from it that matters on a social or political level. Immediately, I recognized that social constructions are a major theme in this book. While Jack is confined in Room, his only associations are with Ma, the limited shows he watches on TV, Old Nick (again, limited), and the inanimate objects he befriends. In Room, Jack is allowed to be himself. In Outside, however, Jack is literally exposed to an entirely different world–a world that maintains and perpetuates certain “norms” that ordinary people in society must adhere to in order to “fit in.” We, as readers, do not normally recognize these “norms” or think much about them. Jack, however, is completely astonished by people around him, considering them to be “different” whereas most strangers who meet Jack for the first time consider him psychologically ill. Through Jack as narrator, we are able to look at Outside, the world, in a different respect than we (as people, outside of the novel) normally do. We are able to witness the constructions that society places on individuals and just how odd or unnecessary these constructions are.

    Reply

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