Study Guide

Room Wisdom and Knowledge

By Emma Donoghue

Wisdom and Knowledge

Kids are sometimes described as little sponges. They soak up knowledge (and bad words) and let the wisdom leak out when you least expect it.

In Room, Jack is no different, and he gets his knowledge from more than just SpongeBob. Because Ma is with Jack 24/7, she teaches him everything she knows. As a result, Jack is a walking Wikipedia of knowledge from pop music to Bible trivia and everything in between. He even has the huge vocabulary to talk about everything he knows. Once Jack and Ma reach the Outside, Jack has a whole host of new places to soak up knowledge. We don't think he'll ever be full.

Questions About Wisdom and Knowledge

  1. When Ma teaches Jack new things inside Room, what subject areas does she focus on?
  2. What things should Ma have taught Jack in order to better prepare him for Outside?
  3. How does Jack learn things when Ma is recovering by herself at the Clinic?
  4. At the end of the novel, they discuss Jack possibly going to school in the future. How do you think Jack will do in school?

Chew on This

Jack only knows as much as his environment will allow. He thinks he knows everything while he's in Room because Room is so small. Once he realizes how large the world is, he realizes he will never know everything there is to know.

Many of things Ma teaches Jack, like the "fact" that Room is the whole world and that he will always be safe, aren't real, but they're what Ma wishes were real.