Friday, October 1, 2010


This week, I heard an interview with author, Emma Donoghue. She is best known for her historic fiction and her knack for inserting homosexual characters in those settings. While I am not a fan of her previous writings, I was intrigued by the idea of her newest release, which was the reason for the interview.

Her new novel is titled, Room. It is told from the viewpoint of a five year-old boy named Jack, who has never left the eleven by eleven room that he shares with his mother. Seven years prior to the time of the novel, Jack’s mother was kidnapped and held captive in a man’s soundproof garden shed. She has never left the room, and even gave birth to Jack there. Jack has never known any other existence.

The room is furnished with a television, a bed, a rocking chair, a rug, a sink and toilet. The man who kidnapped the mother furnishes them with groceries, and makes sure they are well. He is not really a character in the novel as much as a device to bring them food and such.

Because Jack has never had any human interaction other than his mother, he believes they are the only humans on the earth. He thinks that the images he sees on television are only “cartoons.” He is even unsure that “Old Nick,” the kidnapper, is real. He thinks he is only partially real at best.

Because Jack has never known any other existence, his five year-old imagination has allowed him to become friends with the items in the room. Since the novel is told from his words and point of view, whenever he refers to an item it is capitalized. For example, there is Lamp, Rug, Television and Rocking Chair. All of these are personified in some way by Jack. They are his friends, and Jack seems to be a pretty happy boy. He has no sense that he and his mother are actually prisoners.

We as human beings grew up in sin. Sinfulness is all we know. Even though it is not the ideal way to live, we tend to be fine with it. Why? Because we know nothing of another existence. Before experiencing Christ in our lives, we have no idea how it feels to be free from the burden of sin.

Jack spent his whole life in the confinement of a small room. We spend our days confined to the darkness of our sinfulness. When we are offered a way out, we often resist because a new way of doing or thinking is frightening to us. We have been chained for so long; we have even made friends with our chains, just as Jack made “friends” with Lamp and Rug.

We need to allow God to shine the light of His Holy Spirit into our darkness and bring us into the light. We have been held prisoner for too long by the world and our comfort of “the way it has always been.” In order to follow Christ we must be ready to move into a better existence with Him. There is indeed more to this life than simply existing. Jesus died to give you a more significant life. Will you come out of your room and follow Him?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:1-5 KJV)

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