Room Metaphors and Similes

Warmth of a Smile (Simile)

Jack likes listening to different stories of his Grandma, and when he speaks with her, Jack notices that “lines around her mouth are like sun rays.” This comparison illuminates the fact that his Grandma is a good-natured and kind person whose kindness warms like sun rays. Of course, she's not perfect and she gets frustrated with him, but overall, she is a bright spot in his new life.

Like an Angel (Simile)

Jack is a little boy, and all of the friends of his Grandma say that “he looks like a little angel.” Typically, children are like angels because they are innocent and open-hearted. Jack is also a kind and sweet child, but his cute appearance, small, bright eyes, and voice like a bird's singing attract the attention of many people and exacerbate their pity for him.

Energy (Simile/Metaphor)

When Jack sees Ma sleeping, he reflects that "when I was small I thought her battery was used up like what happened to Watch one time, we had to ask a new battery for him for Sundaytreat" (23). This simile/metaphor is an effective way for the author to convey what a five-year-old's mind is like. Jack understands Watch and its battery and can only see what happens to Ma and himself when they are sleeping as the same thing. This isn't far too off from reality, of course, and it is line with Jack's personification of inanimate objects that happens because of his small, intimate environment.

Book (Simile)

Ma grimly tells Jack of Old Nick, "We're like people in a book, and he won't let anybody else read it" (90). This is an apt simile because the reader can now picture Ma and Jack as characters that live in the pages of a book owned by Nick: when the book is closed, no one can read it; when it is open, only Old Nick can read it. Thus, they are invisible, secreted away, and only available for the entertainment of one person. It is a haunting thought indeed, and a narratively apt one, given that Ma and Jack are characters in a book.

Rats in a Wheel (Simile)

Ma knows that she and Jack have to get out of Room, so she says they have to think of ideas of how to accomplish that. When Jack asks her if she has any new ideas after a period of brainstorming, she says, "Just the same ones going around and around like rats on a wheel" (106). This is an excellent simile because it suggests how similar, repeating, and ultimately useless her ideas are at this point, not to mention the fact that rats are usually in cages—an image that corresponds to Ma and Jack's situation as well.