- 6 years ago
This is the second part of the book. In prior discussions we had talked about splitting the books so that folks can read and follow at their own pace. Part 1 can be found here. These are some questions I found online. If you have other questions, please add them. I found the book very very interesting.
- What does joining the outside world do to Jack? To Ma?
Wow, it really changed them. I thought that Ma was the one who was dealing with it a lot better until she then tried to kill herself. But before then, it showed because she had started unraveling. Even during the interview. I thought she was a bit gone. I think she OD’ed on all the good stuff. She couldn’t wait to bathe and wear nicer clothes etc. Sometimes though, I thought she was a bit too abrupt with Jack. I could understand and sympathize because, I mean, she had been in the real world for a while before she was kidnapped and then to be suddenly given all that she had been missing, that was nice. I thought it was sad when she was on the computer trying to catch up on people AND also, I didn’t think she found it as easy to acclimatize as she thought it would be. Witness the OD, the media circus, the abruptness with Jack sometimes. It was sad and heartrending to see happen. Jack on the other hand, well, it was hard. I remember when Grandma was wondering why he was still having ‘some’ and the fact that he tried to touch his cousin ‘there’ and he kept bumping into stuff or the sun hurting his skin or having to navigate the nuances of everyday living. It was really really hard on him. I think that’s why he missed Room a lot.
- What role do you think the media play in the novel?
I think the media played a big role in the book. First, TV gave Ma an out in how she dealt with the real world and was able to keep Jack away from the fact that they were hostages in a way and missing out on ‘the real world’ If not for TV, or the books, I wonder how they would have spent their time. There is only so much PE one can do or so many invented games before someone starts going crazy in a confined space like that. When they were out, the media circus was insane. But it was to be expected. I remember Jack being a tad freaked by seeing himself on TV and he couldn’t understand why he was at the clinic AND also on TV at the same time. The media circus with the interview and the splashing of their faces (to the extent that folks are asking Jack to sign autographs for them) was a bit much but that’s the kind of world we live in now.
3. Why are we so fascinated by stories of long-term confinement?
I don’t know that I would say people are fascinated by stuff like this. I’m not. The novel was very very hard for me to read. It’s just one of those things that can happen to ANYONE at ANYTIME. Too too sad. When I hear of stories like this, Elizabeth Smart and the lady in CA or the one in Europe etc, it’s just sad and makes my skin crawl and I despair for humankind.
- What were you most affected by in the novel?
The relationship between Jack and Ma. Sometimes it made me uncomfortable. But what can one do? It was the situation in which they found themselves. Showering with him, breastfeeding him, almost like they had this psychic chord that stretched between them and Ma was Jack’s 100% caregiver. I was rooting for them when they came out into the real world but they way they were stumbling around trying to navigate life AFTER room was sad to behold but it was very very realistic.
- Jack often wishes he were back in Room. Is there any way in which he would be better off back in isolation with only his mother? Why or why not?
Oh hell no! I don’t think he should have been back in isolation with his mother. That situation was sick sick sick. I think they should have stayed in Clinic a little longer but Ma’s psychiatric problems made that impossible. I think though that it was good that Jack was able to go back to Room to say goodbye because it was hampering his integration back into the ‘real world’ as we see it. His world had been confined to an 11×11 feet room and now he was cast out into the real world. Of course there were bound to be problems. However, I don’t think those problems would have been solved by them returning into isolation. Old Nick or no Old Nick.
- What sort of problems do you think Ma will face now that she and Jack are out on their own?
Jack (even the Clinic folks agreed) would have fared well. I think children are very resilient. That’s why I thought it was a good idea that Ma went into an assistant living residential facility because it would have been much harder for her to remain in the Clinic or be cast into the real world all by herself. 7 years might not be such a long time but think of the way the world evolves. Very rapidly. Look at facebook and google and youtube. Seems we can’t live without them but a few years ago, we were 🙂 I don’t even want to think of how Ma would be able to trust people. To have folks (like her father) judging her for having Jack. The child of a serial rapist, kidnapper and all round sociopath. It’s a hard hard road she’s going to travel on.
7. What might have happened had Ma and Jack never escaped? Think of Jack and Old Nick both growing older. What are the implications?
I can’t even imagine them growing up much longer like that. I think Old Nick would have made something bad happen to Jack. Can you imagine him confining a man of 23 or 30?? What if Old Nick had died? I don’t even know how Ma would have kept her imagination going for much longer. One can only take so much before one breaks. What if she had another child? I don’t know. I think Old Nick would have done away with them. I can’t for the life of me picture them getting older.
8. Why do you think Old Nick allowed Ma to become pregnant and then keep her baby? One would think this would not be in his best interest.
Ugh, I can’t even get into his mindset. I think he just caved in after Ma’s first child died. I honestly don’t know WHY he allowed her to become pregnant and keep the child. I also don’t know why he believed her that Jack was dead and was tricked into carrying him outside to go bury him. Maybe he thought he had Ma sufficiently cowed and there was no way she would have pulled a trick of that magnitude on him. Who knows what goes on in the mind of a psychopath like Old Nick??