Representation of Motherhood

as found in the novel

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In Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel entitled Room,

a 5 year old boy narrates that he and his mother have been living for years in an eleven by eleven foot room. This room has become such an important part of the boy’s life due to the understanding that “Room” is the only world he knows. For example, one of the items in “Room” is “Rug” which still bears the stains from the night of the boy’s birth. Being the only place he knows as home with the only woman he knows as Ma, this novel shows motherhood through the strengths of Ma as she protects her son from Old Nick, telling her son, Jack, the truth, and later returning to “Room” so that he may have closure. These instances require such a deep love and compassion for the narrator, Jack, which gives an understanding of a mother’s love persevering through the torment and torture she was enduring.
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In the beginning of the novel,

Jack narrates that he hides in “Wardrobe” at night when Old Nick comes into the room to visit Ma. Old Nick goes into the room numerous times during the five years of Jack’s life yet doesn't manage to see him because Ma is so protective over their son. After seven years of confinement and sexual abuse, Ma not only fears the man they call Old Nick, but also doesn't allow him the slightest bit of trust around Jack. This is reflective of how mothers protect and assure their child’s safety around strangers. Also, this lack of trust allows her fears for Jack’s safety to exceed her fears of trying to escape from Old Nick; ultimately leading to their escape after Jack plays dead in the novel.
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As Jack gets older,

it becomes more obvious to the narrator that he does not fully understand what’s happening around him. Around this time, Ma gradually decides to reveal the truth to Jack regarding their predicament. This is similarly seen within most families as children get older. Explaining to a three year old a complex concept usually includes telling a lie to make it easier for the child to understand, however, as the child gets older; the lie makes less sense because he/she begins to see the world is seen with a different level of understanding. A more relatable example is found in the novel when Ma decides to tell Jack that Santa, the Easter bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are not real.

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Appearing at the end of the novel

novel are the details of Jack’s request to see “Room” again. After undergoing seven years of complete isolation from the world in that room it seems logical that returning would require much strength. Ma acquires this strength from her compassion as a mother in understanding that “Room” was the only world Jack knew until their escape and that he needs closure. In a parental give and take fashion, Ma puts the closure Jack requires before the pain she feels in returning to Old Nick’s backyard shack. This represents the sacrifice of motherhood, a mother putting her children’s needs before her own, and this is conveyed by Ma at the end of the novel.
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ROOM by Emma Donoghue - Book Trailer