Room

Room - Emma Donoghue For my full-length review, please visit Casual Debris.

Trapped in their small square room, Ma and Jack experience two separate realities. To five year-old Jack ROOM is his entire universe, and the universe of that room is experienced as another four-letter word, WOMB. To Jack the room is the safest possible place. He is linked twenty-four hours to his Ma and the world she has designed for him. In their room Jack is secure, happy, enclosed in a kind of prenatal state he does not wish to relinquish. It's as though the umbilical cord were still attached, and he is being fed all he requires for healthy development. Ma on the other hand experiences Room as a contrary four-letter word: JAIL. To her this is a prison where captor "Old Nick" has held her for seven years, given her the bare minimum to survive while regularly raping her. Jack and Ma, as tightly bound as they are, are ironically experiencing two separate realities. While Ma hopes only for release, Jack has difficulty in understanding why she would desire so desperately to leave such a comfortable, safe environment.

Their captor "Old Nick" also acts as the embodiment of each of their experiences. To Jack he is Saint Nicholas, as in Santa Claus, a semi-real being who brings them sundaytreat; a special requested item each Sunday. To Ma he is very much "Old Nick" in its form as a nickname for the devil, a purely evil entity driven by a demonic nature. Jack experiences Nick as a kind of benevolent yet odd stranger, while to Ma he is a monster.