Study Guide

Room Freedom and Confinement

By Emma Donoghue

Freedom and Confinement

Even if we could choose a Room, say a room with a never-ending chocolate fountain or a room with a floor-to-ceiling TV screen equipped with all the channels and video game consoles known to man, we wouldn't want to stay in it all the time. Although Jack thinks that Room is the whole world, Ma knows it isn't. She's been inside that 11x11 box for seven years. We can't imagine being anywhere for seven years, especially not a place where we could spit from one wall to the other.

While we get to see Ma and Jack escape Room, Ma finds herself less free than she'd hoped (being pursued by paparazzi will do that to a gal), and Jack finds himself more free than he ever wanted. We've heard that freedom is never free. In Room, what is the price?

Questions About Freedom and Confinement

  1. Was Ma ever comfortable inside Room, or did she always want to get out?
  2. What unexpected issues does Ma encounter after achieving freedom from Room?
  3. Why would Jack rather be inside Room than be "free"?
  4. Ma mentions that people other than her are locked up in all sorts of ways every day. What does she mean by this?

Chew on This

Jack is comfortable inside of Room, so he doesn't want to be "free." He'd rather stay inside, whether in Room, the Clinic, or Grandma's house.

Freedom is too much for Ma, so she tries to commit suicide. She later realizes that a little confinement is good, and she rents a small apartment for just her and Jack.