Study Guide

Room Part 2: Unlying

By Emma Donoghue

Part 2: Unlying

  • Jack tries to apologize for breaking Jeep, but Ma doesn't care about Jeep. She's mad that Jack woke up Old Nick.
  • Old Nick thought Ma was attacking him, and he left bruises on her neck.
  • The day continues as normal: breakfast, Phys Ed, etc., until Jack asks Ma to read Dylan the Digger, and she's just so sick of it.
  • She tries to read Dylan the Digger for a bit; then Jack lets her read Runaway Bunny instead.
  • When it's time to do Scream, Ma is hoarse because of the bruises on her throat. Jack realizes they're Old Nick's fingerprints.
  • On TV, Jack notices that the "killer" (2.70) bottle is the same as the one his Ma has. (It's a bottle of painkillers.)
  • Ma tells Jack that Old Nick goes into the TV and gets things there.
  • Jack believes her, but Ma can't believe that she told that lie, so she tells him the truth. "What we see on TV is… it's pictures of real things" (2.101).
  • Well, except for Dora and SpongeBob. Sorry, Jack.
  • Jack's mind is totally blown to find out that there's a whole life Outside Room that isn't Outer Space. He can't sleep all night.
  • The next day "Ma is Gone" (2.121).
  • To clarify: She's there, inside Room, she's just not waking up, moving, or talking.
  • Jack entertains himself all day, and thinks all day, still trying to figure out what life is like Outside Room.
  • At night, Jack tucks himself into Bed—err… into Wardrobe, but Old Nick doesn't come.
  • Ma slowly returns to normal over the next few days. She braids Jack's hair into three long braids and tells him a story about a mermaid who is captured by a fisherman. She has the fisherman's baby, but one day, she escapes.
  • Jack doesn't like the story, because the mermaid doesn't take the baby with her when she escapes. Ma corrects herself, saying that of course the mermaid takes the baby with her, and that the baby is half merman and can breathe underwater.
  • Story time is cut short when Old Nick comes in.
  • He's mad that the place smells like curry, not because he hates delicious Indian food, but because he's afraid the neighbors will smell it.
  • The bed doesn't creak as much as it usually does that night…
  • Sunday breakfast is bagels! What? No cream cheese? Ma loses Bad Tooth in one of the bagels.
  • We cut to the next night, when Jack is woken up by the sound of Old Nick's voice.
  • He's mad that Ma is asking for vitamins. Hey, it's not like she's asking for fancy gummy ones.
  • He's also angry because he's lost his job and can't afford everything Ma is asking for. He also asks if Jack is a "poor little freak [with] two heads or something?" (2.301).
  • However, he did bring Jack a lollipop. He tries to coax Jack out of Wardrobe, but Jack won't come out.
  • Jack hides under Blanket and tries not to hear the creaking of the bed… but he still does.
  • Later in the night, Jack wakes up. It's dark, and he crawls out of Wardrobe. Old Nick is still there… and he wakes up… like the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk or something.
  • Everyone freaks out. Old Nick gets mad at Ma again and leaves. Jack hides in Wardrobe waiting for Ma to get him, but she never does.
  • A bad dream wakes him up the next day. As if a bad dream wasn't bad enough, the power is also out.
  • It's cold, and they can't heat up any food, but they can get by for a couple of days.
  • One day, Ma tells Jack a story. It's a story about her real childhood, before she was in Room… before she was Ma.
  • She had a brother, Paul, and a family, and a hammock in the backyard. She tells Jack that she'd much rather be outside than be in Room.
  • The next day, Jack sees an airplane through Skylight. He wants to go Outside, but it's not that easy. They don't know the code for the door to get out of Room. Only Old Nick knows.
  • Ma chooses this moment to tell Jack that Old Nick kidnapped her. He tricked her when she was nineteen, saying that his dog was dying. When she got in his pickup truck, he blindfolded her and took her away. She's lived in Room for seven years.
  • Ma tried to get away a few times, even digging a hole through the floor. There was a chain-link fence under the floor. Whoa.
  • And another time Ma whacked Old Nick in the head with the toilet cover and pressed her knife against his throat.
  • Old Nick twisted Ma's wrist and made her drop the knife. That's why the toilet doesn't have a cover and why Ma's wrist always hurts now.
  • Ma is afraid that Old Nick will leave them there to starve.
  • Thankfully, Ma's wrong. At least for today. Lamp comes back on.