Room Imagery

Favorite toy

Jack has a handmade toy: an eggsnake that Ma made him when Jack was three. “Most of shake’s eggs are brown, but sometimes there's a white”. Eggsnake has a foil crown, yellow ribbon belt, and bits of tissue for hairs. “His tongue is a needle that keeps the red thread going right through him." The image of this toy adds a feeling of a happy childhood this little boy deserves as much as any other kid: despite their horrifying situation, Ma does what she can to give Jack happy experiences and memories.

First impression

When Jack sees the world for the first time, he is deeply astonished. Sky, lights, trees, houses, and cars are unusual for the boy, because he has never seen everything beyond Room before. Jack is especially impressed by the sky: “the sky is the most enormous, over there there's a pink orange bit, but the rest is gray.”


Jack never wore shoes in Room simply because Old Nick never bought shoes for him. One day, when he and his Grandma pass by the store, Grandma allows him to try on a pair: “I choose yellow. There are no laces or Velcro even, I just put my foot in. They're so light it's like not having any on.” Jack says to Grandma that he likes this pair of shoes because they are not the restrictive shoes and socks he was first ordered to wear once he got out of Room. This imagery demonstrates how even something as unremarkable as shoes can go a tremendous distance in helping Jack get acclimated to life outside of Room.


Cages of all forms are important images in the novel. First, Ma and Jack are in the "cage" of Room that they cannot escape from. Then, they get to live in places like the Cumberland Clinic and the independent living apartment that are "cages" designed to keep unwanted people from getting in. Ma and Jack have freedom in this arrangement, but they also get to be kept safe. Finally, Ma says that she is not ready to visit the zoo because of the animals in cages, an image that stirs her traumatic memories.