There are too many ways to say goodbye, but too few ways to simply forget.
Ma has, no matter what she does and where she goes, a shadow in her memories and etched in the corners of her heart. Room by Emma Donoghue is a beautifully captivating story of hope, loss, and family. When faced with the most brutal of situations, Ma found endless courage and love in Jack that gave her a reason to continue living. But sometimes, even after we say goodbye to the monsters, we cannot, no matter how hard we try, forget them. Ma’s internal world is very complex and thus, I chose to write a blog post on her personal conflict and the struggles she has to overcome.
After Ma and Jack leave Room, they are sent to a clinic in which they slowly adapt and become accustomed to the world. Jack spends some time living with his grandparents before they are moved to Independent Living and begin to integrate with society. Jack notices that “There’s lots of every kind of thing in the world but it all costs money, even stuff to throw away,” (Donoghue 285). He is learning new things every day and bit by bit, becoming used to the new world around him, and Ma is changing too.
Ma “says remember, but she doesn’t want to remember Room.” (Donoghue 305). She doesn’t want to remember that 11-by-11 foot space that she had been trapped in for years, but it is so hard for her to forget.
She is only getting used to locked doors and is still sensitive to the idea of being closed in. For example, “When the elevator bangs shut Ma shivers.” (Donoghue 301). This is a serious obstacle Ma has to overcome because it is almost impossible to get anywhere without doors opening and closing. She had to deal with Door opening and closing and knowing that she can never get out, so when she finally escaped, Ma never wants to be trapped alone with no one but Jack ever again.
When she was in Room, Ma craved company. But now, for “‘most days… Jack’s enough for me.'” (Donoghue 314). There are so many people around her that it is overwhelming now, especially when, for years and years, her only real company was Jack. It’s tiring and difficult and Ma is desperately searching for even an echo of the girl she used to be. Ma doesn’t want to shut herself in because “it’s not how I remember myself'” (Donoghue 314), but some days, it is a lot easier being with just Jack and the beautiful knowledge that she has control of her own destiny. Ma wants to treasure that feeling of freedom and never let go.
Goodbye is an inevitable part of life. Sometimes goodbyes are welcome and sometimes goodbyes are dreaded. When Ma and Jack visit Room for the last time, they say their farewells. Jack says,
Ma says it but on mute.
I look back one more time. It’s like a crater, a hole where something happened. Then we go out the door.” (Donoghue 321)
When we say farewell to somebody, they will disappear from our lives but they will not disappear from our memories. No matter how much Ma wants to forget, she can’t. She cannot cut out a part of her, even as unwanted as it is, but maybe, Time will cut it out for her.
Donoghue, Emma. Room: A Novel. New York: Little, Brown, 2010. Print.