At this point in the novel, Jack has been exposed to the true cruelty of Old Nick. While hiding in Wardrobe, Jack turns on his remote-controlled Jeep toy and it falls on top of Old Nick. Old Nick, thinking that it was Ma trying to attack him with a heavy object, retaliated by leaving bruises on her neck. Ma explains to Jack that there is a whole world outside of Room, outside of the sturdy locked door and firm walls that cage them. Jack is amazed but confused, why are some things real and others stuck in TV? Old Nick cuts off all power in the room and so Ma tells Jack about her family: her mother, father, and brother Paul. Ma explains that Old Nick tricked her into his truck and kidnapped her, and that she had been living in Room for seven solemn years. Eventually, the power is turned back on.
I think that Emma Donoghue uses Ma’s rotten tooth (Bad Tooth) for a symbol as well as foreshadowing. Like the tooth, Ma and Jack are barely clinging on to life inside of Room, and it gives them great pain to suffer within the walls. But finally, Bad Tooth gets pulled out, and Ma is relieved. However, she notices her other rotten teeth much more now with the absence of the first. I think this foreshadows an escape for Jack and Ma, but after they find freedom, they because swept up with the problems and difficulties of the outside world as opposed to the terrors of “living” in captivity.
I also found that the author used the mouse in Room as a symbol for Old Nick. Old Nick brings presents and treats for Jack, but in reality, he is abusive and inflicts pain on Ma. The mouse may look cute and harmless, but it could cause serious destruction if you let your guard down.
Emma Donoghue juxtaposes light and dark to give meaning to the two. In the daytime, Jack is free and can play, sing, and have fun. Ma can be care-free without having to worry about Old Nick’s wrath. When night falls, it means that Jack must hide away in Wardrobe and Ma must hope that Old Nick does not get mad at her. Therefore, contrasting light and dark is the same to comparing peace and fear.