Study Guide

Room Part 5: Living

By Emma Donoghue

Part 5: Living

  • Jack is living with Grandma now, "in the house with the hammock" (5.1), though the hammock isn't actually up yet.
  • Grandma assures Jack that Ma isn't dead, but Jack isn't sure if she's telling the truth or not.
  • Jack is nervous to sleep by himself in Grandma's spare room. He can't stay in Ma's old room because Grandma has turned it into a fitness room.
  • When Grandma notices that Jack is sucking on Tooth for comfort, she tries to take it from him. Jack hits her in the stomach.
  • She decides to put an air mattress up next to the bed she shares with Leo, Jack's step-grandpa, or "Steppa."
  • The mattress inflates, but Jack doesn't want to go to sleep by himself. He's also sad that Ma decided she wanted to go Heaven without him. Grandma lies on the bed nearby until Jack gets sleepy.
  • In the morning, Dr. Clay calls and tells the family that Ma is stable.
  • Jack's Grandpa also comes by to say goodbye. Jack doesn't really want to see him, since he wants Jack "not born" (5.97), but they have blueberry pancakes together. Pancakes don't take away the pain of being hated by your grandfather, but at least they taste yummy.
  • Tired of Jack watching TV all day, Grandma takes him to the playground. Jack is scared to play with the other kids.
  • Also, Grandma forgot to put Jack's sunscreen on, so his nose burns. Grandma puts some after-sun cream on, and Jack gets to lie on the couch and watch cartoons.
  • The next day, Jack learns about the coins of the U.S., including all the state quarters. We also learn that Grandma isn't very good at geography: she doesn't know that Guam is part of the U.S.
  • Another phone call from the hospital lets everyone know that Ma "turned the corner" (5.196). Jack doesn't know what that is, so Grandma explains that "she's on the mend" (5.200). At least it's not a hairpin turn…
  • After a nap, Jack plays with Grandma in the backyard. They talk about death, like you do on a nice spring day, and Grandma decides to fish the hammock out of the basement and hang it up.
  • While she's gone, Jack goes to pet a bee and it stings him. Out of all the rhymes and songs he did with Ma, she never sang the baby bumblebee one to him?
  • Grandma spreads an ointment on the sting, and Jack helps her hang the hammock. He gets to stretch out in it and relax.
  • Steppa comes out because Ma is on the phone for Jack. She says she made a mistake and that she'll be better and home soon.
  • Jack tells her "the sun burned my skin off and a bee stinged me" (5.300). Just another good day at Grandma's.
  • At dinner, Jack plays with matches. Steppa stops him from playing with fire (but doesn't teach him to stop, drop, and roll).
  • Steppa then quizzes Jack about kitchen tools, like grater, garlic crusher, and citrus zester. Watch out, Martha Stewart. Jack's gunning for your job.
  • Later, Dr. Clay comes by. He tells Jack that Ma is getting better and asks if Jack wants to stay at the Clinic. Jack decides to stay at Grandma's because he'd have to stay in another room at the Clinic, not with Ma.
  • Jack says good-bye and goes to the bathroom. From the toilet, he overhears Grandma telling Dr. Clay, "I raised two children, don't give me acceptable standard of care" (5.370).
  • The next morning, Grandma gets up early to take Jack to the playground before any other kid gets there.
  • She puts him in the swing and he has fun… until a mouthy little girl shows up and asks why Jack, who she thinks is a girl, is "in the baby swing" (5.415). Oh, yeah? Why are you in the loser swing, loser? This is why we don't have kids.
  • That afternoon, Jack eavesdrops on Grandma and her book club. They don't seem to be talking about books; they're talking about Jack.
  • Grandma thinks it's strange that Jack knows so much math but doesn't know how to go down a slide.
  • The ladies also talk about how Jack's photo has been leaked on the Internet.
  • Jack sucks on Ma's Tooth, but it "doesn't taste like Ma" (5.460) anymore.
  • Later, Grandma finds a big box of LEGOs in the basement, and he and Steppa make cars and bikes.
  • After playing, it's bath time. Jack wants Grandma in the bath with him. She agrees, but she puts on her bathing suit first.
  • The next morning, Jack cuts all his hair off. Grandma tidies him up, and makes a bracelet from the hair he cut off.
  • Jack flexes in the mirror and says, "I still have my strong" (5.530).
  • It's been a week, and Jack is still having trouble learning his boundaries. He stares at a woman breastfeeding. He also plays with a boy named Walker, and this actually goes well until Jack gives him a hug.
  • Jack accidentally knocks the boy over. The boy's dad isn't mad, but Grandma says "we don't hug strangers. Even nice ones" (5.573).
  • One day, all the stuff from Room gets delivered to Grandma's: Rug. Jeep. Remote. Meltedy Spoon, Wordy Ball, and Spaceship. Even Jack's old Dylan book.
  • It rains, and Jack plays with both his Dylan books. They fight over which one Jack loves more.
  • Later, Jack rides with Grandma and Steppa to the beach. Jack learns that all his poo doesn't go from the toilet to the sea, but he's still scared to go in the water.
  • He finds a nice white shell and keeps it.
  • Another day, Grandma takes Jack to buy a soccer ball.
  • He gets separated from Grandma at the mall, and two women approach him. They realize he's the boy from the news, and they get his autograph.
  • Grandma finds him and tears the autographs into pieces. She takes Jack away, almost stealing the unpaid-for soccer ball in the process, and tries to explain to Jack that strangers can be dangerous. He could get taken, the same way that Old Nick took Ma.
  • Jack gets mad at home. He packs his Dora bag, rolls up Rug, and decides to go back to the Clinic. He yells at Grandma, "You can't stop me because you're a, you're a stranger" (5.709).
  • Then he – gasp – calls her… he calls her… STINKY.
  • Steppa takes Jack away. Jack hits and cries, but he eventually calms down. Then it's time for TV and pie.
  • Finally, Ma comes home on an afternoon Jack is coloring. They hug.
  • Ma says that they're not staying with Grandma. They'll be staying in an apartment on their own.
  • Ma and Jack drive to their apartment: Six B.
  • Jack wants some milk, but Ma cannot breastfeed anymore. She's been away from Jack for so long that she's stopped making milk.
  • At the apartment, Jack worries that he swallowed Tooth. He keeps looking for it in his poo but cannot find it.
  • Also, Ma is fighting with Jack because she doesn't want him to keep Rug. She agrees to let him keep it in his wardrobe, but Jack is still mad. He breaks a vase against the wall.
  • Dr. Clay and Noreen come over, and they talk to Ma about Jack eventually going to school and maybe adopting a different last name.
  • Ma and Jack have a bath after they leave.
  • Jack finally tells Ma that he can't find Tooth. Ma is glad it's gone. Jack wonders if it's "going to be hiding inside me in a corner forever" (5.908).
  • Jack is learning new things every day. Grandma buys him a watercolor set. Paul buys Jack a new soccer ball and plays with him. Jack gets to see the dinosaur skeletons in the Natural History Museum.
  • Jack and Ma make a list of all the things they want to do, like "inventing something" and "going to the moon" (5.972).
  • One day Jack tells Ma that he wants to go back to Room and see it one last time.
  • Officer Oh, the officer who spoke to Jack on the night he escaped, comes to escort them there.
  • Old Nick's house is surrounded by crime scene tape, but they go inside.
  • Room is in the backyard. Ma doesn't want to go in, but she acts brave and goes inside with Jack.
  • He thinks it looks smaller and smells weird. Rug is gone. Bed is there, but without sheets. Shelf has nothing on her. And it's darker.
  • But it's still Room. Jack stands near the lines that measured his height for five years.
  • Jack says good-bye to everything. Ma cries. He has her lift him up to Roof so he can touch it and say goodbye.
  • Finally, Jack says "Good-bye, Room" (5.1129) one last time, and they leave.
  • The end.