Room

Narrative Perspective in Emma Donoghue’s 'Room' 12th Grade

Telling a story through the eyes of a child is by no means a new literary technique. Fantastical novels such as Rowling’s Harry Potter and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little Cabin in the Big Woods use the younger generation for their central points of view. This tactic encourages a sense of adolescence discovery – almost magic – whilst simultaneously drawing the reader back in to their own childhood. Using this particular perspective changes the way the narration records the world, and thus how the story is told. In Room, Donoghue uses the five-year-old Jack as the narrative perspective. His infantile ignorance furthers the sense of tragedy; the reader is more aware of his situation than Jack is. Additionally, it enhances the feelings of alienation that are inevitable when entering the real world. It is also interesting to consider the impact on the novel if instead Ma were the narrator. The focus would perhaps have been more on the psychological side, and less on what Jack gives us; he records what he sees, and the simple emotions it makes him feel, without the further complications of an adult psyche.

Fundamentally, the difference between an adult and child is a matter of perspective. In using Jack as the narrator, Room presents...

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