This section was the shortest section so far. But I found as though it made the strongest impression on me. In this final section we see Jack make numerous revelations which ultimately helped him reach a stage where he had finally reached independence.
So the section opened up with Jack going to his grandma and “steppa’s” house. Now this part was a true test on how Jack could handle living without his ma by his side. As a child this is such a difficult but important thing for all kids to face. To me I found this situation incredibly similar to a child’s first day at school. On the first day of school a child feels helpless because they are finally not going to have their parents by their side all the time. Which is the true test on whether or not they are ready to move on. This connection also works because Jack is around the age where kids start kindergarten, there is a direct comparison. With Jack he was constantly wondering where Ma was which is expected.
She presses around her mouth where the little cracks are. ” I know you’re missing you ma, but just for now you need to sleep on your own. You’ll be fine, Steppa and I will be just upstairs. You’re not afraid of monsters are you?” (Donoghue, 254)
There are many quotes from this now section that I will include in this post. As it was Jack’s first night alone without his mom it was very hard for him to try and “fend” for himself. He was always used to having his mom by his side when they went to sleep. As a kid you would find it extremely weird if suddenly you had to try and sleep alone in a room when you’re used to having someone there to comfort you. Even worst for Jack since all he knows is living with his mom by his side he knows nothing else but that.
“I want some, I really really want some, I can’t get to sleep without. I suck on Tooth that’s Ma, a bit of her anyway, her cells all brown and rotten and hard. Tooth hurted her or he was hurted but not anymore. Why is it better out than in? Ma said we’d be free but this doesn’t feel like free.” (257)
I found this quotation to be quite significant. Just in that one section we see how much Jack is truly dependent on his mom. As a five year old like I mentioned before you are so dependent on your mom. We know that Jack is attached at his mom’s hip he doesn’t want to go anywhere without her. Ever since the moment he was born he has been by his moms side which makes it incredibly hard for a kid to let go, which is the whole topic of my post.
Throughout pages 271 to 273 is a very pivotal point for Jack because he is being introduced to new things such as finally going to a park and playing with lego. Both of these things are some of our favourite past times when we were kids, but I don’t think we realize how different how it would be for a child to adapt to after they have only grown up with a couple of toys.
Just a quick analysis of while Jack was living with his Grandma and Steppa. Another target of Donoghue’s subtle wit is the cult of motherhood. A bigger mommy dependence has never been seen than in the boy who lived in a single room with his mother, breast-fed well into his sixth year. I admit it’s shocking even as a reader, but you have to know she had no other choice. But yet she keeps trying to wean him off and fails. Until and interviewer in the hospital steps in, and interrogates her live on national TV about the breastfeeding, of all things.
I found that the fact that Jack got a chance to live with a different woman in his life ultimately helped him let go in the end. The grandma was able to set boundaries that made him realize that there are different ways of life when you are a citizen “outside.” Had he of just stayed in a room with his mom in the hospital he would not have been exposed to childhood just in general. Even though he had to face thing such as getting his first sun burn or getting stung by a bee. Those are things that are just a part of life that all kids must live with, and face everyday. Experiencing all of that led him to realizing that there is a possibility that he would be able to live in outside.
“When I was four I thought everything in Tv was just Tv, then I was fiche and Ma unlied about lots of it being pictures of real and Outside being totally real. Now I’m in Outside but it turns out lots of it isn’t real at all.”(277)
Jack had a revelation about what he had been learning outside, and that maybe although his Ma might have not told him the whole truth he is able to understand that there is more to the world that he has yet to find out. He in a way almost changes his perspective considering at the beginning all he thought about was what the Tv was showing him when now he realizes what there actually is.
At the end we see Ma get them an apartment to live in, at first Jack takes some time getting used to it, but that transition to the apartment made him stop wanting to be breastfed (mostly because Ma said she was done), but he was able to finally say goodbye to that passage of his life. And in the end after a last visit to room young Jack realizes that Room wasn’t all he had hoped it had been. He is finally able to say his last goodbyes to it, which helps him move on to a new chapter in his young life. What I also found to be very significant was when both Jack and Ma were able to sleep in their own rooms without each other. That was a very significant moment for the both of them.
In the end, Donoghue leaves us with two opposing thoughts. On the one hand, we see Jack finally adjust to Outside, to all the stimuli assaulting him from every direction, to becoming an individual of sorts. On the other hand, when we leave Ma, we are left with the uncomfortable sense that she will merely be moving from prison to prison for the rest of her life (metaphorically speaking of course).
In the end they were both finally able to let go of the things that had been holding them back throughout the novel.