Donoghue Leaves No “Room” For Growth
“Room,” a New York Times Bestselling Novel, shows the complexity of life even amidst simplistic situations. Emma Donoghue weaves a compelling story through realistic imagery and irresistible characters.
“Room” highlights a young mother who was kidnapped as a college student. After being sexually abused numerous times and having a child, Ma tries to shelter her son from the fragility of their situation. She doesn’t understand, however, that in her attempt to protect her child, she only hinders his ability to adapt to the real world when exposed to it.
The plot of the novel follows the main characters Ma and Jack as they continue their lives in their limited space. At the beginning of the novel, Jack turns five years old, and with this new age comes responsibility for the young boy. His mother decides that she can confide in him the truth of their situation, that she was kidnapped as a college student and that a world exists outside of their haven. Ma and Jack end up escaping their abductor and attempt to reenter the real world with little distraction or complexity. However, this proves harder than anticipated and numerous challenges arise for the newly freed pair.
With the narration of the novel told in the voice of Jack, a five-year old boy, “Room” recreates the typical main character of a complex novel. While many may question the youngster’s ability to articulate intricate plot points, Jack shows a non-traditional view of a very personal situation. He writes in readable language, and his innocence at the beginning of the novel allows the reader to grow with Jack as he learns about the world around him.
The imagery developed in “Room” allures readers and helps them understand the situation of the mother-son pair. As the two live in a 19-by-19 shed in the backyard of Ma’s kidnapper, Old Nick, the only source of entertainment for the pair lays in their room. The wardrobe in which Jack sleeps comes alive within the minds of the readers, and one can begin to understand the traumatic effects that such a situation would leave on a family.
Throughout the novel, Jack uses the basis of his lifestyle to name objects around him. Room, as he calls his world, inspires the name of the novel. Other items such as wardrobe, chair, and rug epitomize the simplicity and humble living situation of Ma and Jack. They truly depend on their greatest enemy for basic survival necessities such as food, water, and clothing.
Although the novel uses the voice of a young child to portray the story, the vivid imagery and complex plot of “Room” captivate the readers and allow them to follow the story of a tragic situation.