The novel Room by Emma Donoghue opens with Jack celebrating his fifth birthday. He is a bright boy, but has lived his entire life in a garden shed that he calls ‘Room’. He believes this is the entire world and can’t imagine that there is anything real outside of the Room. He lives there with his ‘Ma’, their only outside contact is a visitor who comes at night time that Jack knows as Old Nick.
Old Nick rapes Ma each night while Jack hides in the Wardrobe. The room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Ma devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. The risky plan to escape works, Jack and Ma gradually begin to learn more about the Outside world and begin to feel more at home.Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult tells the story of how a dead infant found on an Amish farm shakes the entire community. As the police investigate the death, they discover that the baby was not stillborn, but died shortly after birth.
An eighteen-year-old, unmarried Amish girl, Katie Fisher, is charged with the murder of her newborn son but denies ever being pregnant. Ellie Hathaway, a top defense lawyer and a distant relative of Katie, reluctantly accepts the case after a confrontation with her aunt. As part of the bail conditions of the pre-trial hearing, Ellie has to remain on the farm with Katie prior to the trial—a period that lasts several months.
A doctor determines that the infant was born prematurely and could have died from natural causes. After the jury deliberates for several days, Katie gets a plea and is sentenced to one year of electronic monitoring, allowing her to stay at the farm while wearing an electronic bracelet.Complete isolation from the world means that there are few main characters in Room.
Jack is one of the two protagonists and the narrative perspective from which the novel is told. He is the five-year-old boy of a woman named ‘Ma’, who has been kidnapped and imprisoned in a room for seven years. Ma is the other protagonist, While it is acknowledged that she has another name, she is only ever referred to from Jack’s perspective, and therefore always called ‘Ma’. She was kidnapped at age 17 by a man they call ‘Old Nick’, and imprisoned in Room, a secured garage with an electronically locked door. Her son, Jack, is the product of rape, yet this is rarely mentioned. He is never accurately described as a person as if the reader is also viewing him from inside Jack’s cupboard. These three characters comprised the character list. Although, the majority of the novel was just Jack and Ma.
There are several aspects that play into the structuralism criticism, Room by Emma Donoghue is told from the point of view of a 5-year-old boy who is trapped inside of a garden shed with his mother. This unique perspective shows the readers an unexpected side of the story. In the beginning of the story, it is challenging to understand what Jack is trying to get across, but as you read further into the text you get better at interpreting his language. This particular point of view is great in many ways, although it hinders the reader’s insights at times. Jack is unfamiliar with why he and his mother are in this one room. You can recognize that he is so oblivious to signs that they are trapped inside of the room, but does not recognize them because he is so young. An external narrator may have been better so that the feelings, actions, and other responses could be recognized further.
Room is a novel that constantly contrasts the difference between freedom and captivity. This important theme is also portrayed in the skylight, the only part of Room that allows Ma and Jack a glimpse into the outside world. The skylight proves that there is an outside world still there, yet always remains out of reach; it serves as a constant reminder of Ma’s captivity, and the possibilities that are just out of her grasp. The skylight also develops into an important symbol for Jack. When he sees the leaf land on the skylight, it begins to prove to him that trees exist in the outside world too, and not just on the TV.
Symbolically, the skylight is also a source of light –and of hope –in a room that is otherwise dark and hopeless.For many, a television set is seen as a form of entertainment. Due to Ma and Jack’s imprisonment, it becomes symbolic of so much more; it becomes the only way of communicating the outside events to them in their captivity. For Ma, she is able to watch how the world changes, so that she does not receive a drastic culture shock when she escapes Room.
Yet, she also tells Jack that before he was born, she used to watch TV all the time as a way of comfort and company. Thus, the TV evolves from merely a symbol to almost a person within itself. Yet the most important aspect of the TV as a symbol is the effect it has on Jack. It develops his imagination to the extent that he cannot distinguish between reality and TV program. This highlights especially the social issues that Jack has now developed; in growing up with only imaginary people, it is with them that he feels most safe.
Make belief is still such a huge part of Jack’s life, he can only venture outside when Maureen suggests that they are characters themselves in a book. Therefore, the TV is representative of more than just fantasy; it becomes Jack’s world and creates issues of social interaction when faced with real people. Katie Fisher is one the main characters in Plain Truth, she is an unmarried 18-year-old Amish farm girl. After having a baby later found dead, she pushes it from her mind and is accused of murdering him. As the police investigate the death, they discover that the baby was not stillborn, but died shortly after birth. Police find cloth fibers in the infant’s mouth and throat, including bruises on the mouth, which leads them to conclude that he was suffocated.
This is when Ellie Hathway, a 39-year-old lawyer steps up to help and defend her case. Due to Katie’s bail conditions, Ellie must live on the farm to watch Katie.Jacob Fisher is Katie’s older brother that was exiled from the Amish community for continuing his education and not following religious rituals, Katie and Jacob have a very close relationship. Katie is very envious of her brother.
As time goes on, Katie and Ellie develop an undeniable relationship. In order to develop a strong defense, Ellie concludes that she needs a physiatrist. She calls an old ‘friend’ to help Katie work through her denial issues.
One thing leads to another and Ellie and Coop rekindle their long lost relationship. Ellie becomes pregnant with Coop’s child, the story ends with Coop picking up Ellie from the farm to start their family. The complete separation and strict gender roles in the Amish community are many times shocking to people. In the Amish lifestyle, there is a specific path that one must follow and if you do not do exactly as outlines you will be outcasted. Katie Fisher was a victim of the compressed gender roles in her community. She was expected to marry her boyfriend and then have children.
She was so brainwashed by this mentality that she denies ever being pregnant – even though there was medical evidence that she had given birth. In her mind, she believed that it wasn’t possible to be pregnant if you are not married. Her community did not support or believe her, they isolated her from their religion and would not accept her back in unless she made a confession of her sins to the church.
Religion is a powerful mindset that can at many times alter someone’s decisions. Empathy is an effective way to evaluate a person’s character. The only characters that empathized with Katie were female characters. Studies show that Women are more empathetic compared to men counterparts. In this novel, women are portrayed as housemaids – Ellie Hathaway, who is a lawyer was looked down on by the Amish community because she had a real job. The Amish community has clear definitions of what women are expected to do around the house – clean, do the laundry, take care of the children.
In conclusion, there are several similarities that you can pull from when analyzing Room and Plain Truth. Isolation as a theme as well as a symbol is present in both of these texts. The characters struggle to overcome issues of isolation, in some instances, the isolation was caused by religion, or being held against their will. The Amish lifestyle that Katie was raised in was not accepting of her wishes, which in the end caused her to feel alone and isolated from her friends and family.
Although Jack and Ma were isolated this was not due to their own actions and choices. Ma was abducted and held captive for countless years. Isolation was a key factor in these stories and can be interpreted in many ways.