Study Guide

Room Family

By Emma Donoghue

Family

Barney the purple dinosaur sang, "I love you. You love me. We're a happy family," which implies that any two people (or dinosaurs, or people in dinosaur suits) who love each other can be a family. This is true, especially for young Jack in Room—and not just because he watches Barney. Jack loves everyone in Room: Plant, Chair, Wardrobe, Skylight. Even though these things aren't even human, Jack loves them, and they are part of his family.

When Jack gets out of Room, he learns he has other family members: Grandma, Grandpa, Steppa, Paul, and more. That's all sweet, but we can't forget about Ma. Room is above all a story about the unbreakable bond between mother and son.

Questions About Family

  1. Who is Jack's family when he's inside Room? Who is his family Outside?
  2. How does Ma's family change while she's inside Room?
  3. How do you think Jack would define the word "family"?

Chew on This

Jack thinks that Ma is the only true family he has. As a result, he has trouble learning to trust other people.

Ma knows that she has other family outside of Room, but they're not all there for her when she gets out. She learns that the only family member she can alwaystrust is Jack.