Room by Emma Donoghue Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Room

Plot Summary Part 1

The story starts from the perspective of Jack, a five year old boy who lives in a single room with his mother, called "Ma". We learn that Jack and Ma live in a 12 foot by 12 foot room and Jack at least has never gone outside; indeed, he has no knowledge that outside even exists. He sees "outside" on TV, but doesn't think it's real. The only connection to the outside world is a skylight in the ceiling.

Even though Jack is only five years there is something disturbingly erotic going on between him and his Ma. They take baths together and Jack notices that his p_nis floats. Indeed, Jack talks about his p_nis a lot. He gets erections a lot. And the only woman around is his mother. You have to wonder if something perverse is going on. Jack says things like "Silly P_nis is always standing up in the morning. I push him down." This is after a night of sharing a bed with his mother.

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Then there is the sucking. Jack sucks on Ma's breasts even though he is five years old, which is far too old for children to be doing. You have to wonder if it is purely for feeding purposes. Since Jack eats solid food now, what is the point? Does it make Ma feel more secure? Or is there some sort of incestual connection that is being reinforced here?

Another weird thing. When Jack goes to sleep at night he has to hide in the "wardrobe". That's because Ma has a nocturnal visitor at night who she is hiding Jack from. Even stranger is that this visitor, named Old Nick, is fully aware of Jack's presence so we are wondering why Ma is hiding Jack from him.

Nick shows up one night and the next day Jack notices "dirt" on Ma's neck. Jack left kissing marks when he boned her!

Ma makes a big announcement. What Jack sees on TV is not fake. There is actually an outside world. Jack is stunned. He has never considered the idea of there being anything other than the 12 by 12 room they live in. He has trouble believing it.

Some days Ma is "gone", which means she is depressed and just lies there for an entire day, not doing anything. Seeing his Mom lying there like a blowup doll sexually arouses Jack and causes his p_nis to stand up.

The place is a mess. The mattress is bloody from where Ma gave birth to Jack and there is a big bloodstain on the rug as well. Evidently Ma gave birth to Jack in this tiny room. Either that or she has no access to tampons.

Nick comes by to visit. He gets angry when Ma requests a ventilator fan. Nick tells her how good she has it here, free food and free lodging. Ma apologizes and thanks him for holding her in captivity. Then he bones her, heh heh. Jack counts 97 squeaks of the bed before Nick spurts into Ma's v_gina. Yes, Jack is only inches away while Nick bones his momma. No wonder he's getting erections all the time, watching Nick have sex with his Ma!

Another night Nick tries to get Jack to come out of the closet but Ma, protective of Jack, distracts Nick by offering him sex.

Nick gets angry when Ma yells and Nick cuts the electricity to the room for three days. He also stops bringing them food. Then three days later everything is restored.

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