Novels of Newness and Rebirth: ‘Room’, ‘Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded’, and ‘Robinson Crusoe’

The idea of renewal and newness are a seriously important style of the unique ‘Room’ and a principal aspect of the story itself. The novel is everything about newness, because for Jack, having actually lived his whole 5 years of life inside Room, the act of leaving into The World remains in a sense a renewal, and in the book we find out that Jack is at first totally incapable of working on the planet, as his advancement was badly stunted by his upbringing, thus why basic daily objects like automobiles or the pavement are so wholly alien to him, Space is an unique about renewal and living once again in an odd world. Yet, while the newness of the world upon leaving Room is the most apparent point to discuss, there is a more subtle sense of newness that will be expounded on; the requirement on Jack and Ma’s behalf to develop new games, stories and methods to pass the time in Room in order to stave off insanity and dullness, which is an important part of the previous half of the book. Lastly the idea of newness is challenged in a post-modernist sense as the extremely narrative reflects the situation of the primary 2 characters therein; the first half of the book is confined and limiting and extremely repetitive, but upon their escape, the narrative shifts and more ends up being more open and in the very same method that the characters are experiencing brand-new things, so does the reader as the prose takes us to new and exciting places.

The formative years of one’s childhood is quite a discovering experience for them, where they experience the world and begin to develop socially along with emotionally, where a kid might experience new experiences. When a kid is denied the typical method of development, it can leave them significantly stunted, as holds true with Jack, so as abovementioned in the intro, Jack is continuously experiencing new things, yet for the first 5 years of his life his universe consisted entirely of the Room, which is later revealed to be a small shed with a skylight. This combined with a child’s natural curiosity makes the very first act of the novel among surprise, especially given that the book is informed through the perspective of Jack, so we, the reader, are hearing his internal monologue. Jack is constantly asking his mom concerns; questions about tv, questions about his origins, questions about what is real or not, in one instance of which Jack chooses “mountains are too big to be genuine”1, but obviously later on in the novel he’ll experience all of these objects outside of television. As a contrast to his questioning earlier in the novel, it’s interesting to mention his realisation of the world outside Space, on page 85 in my edition, Jack mentions “so hospitals are real too, and motorbikes” prior to going on to announce” [his] head’s going to burst from all the new things I need to believe”2. This is an important quotation as not just does it illustrate how overwhelming all this new-reality should be to the 5 year old young boy, but the language itself is notable– “I have to believe”. To elaborate, Jack can not intrinsically believe in the daily places and objects that exist beyond his Space, he feels he needs to believe however, which appears a matter of faith, particularly, faith in his mom’s word, as Ma, who matured worldwide, understood for a truth that there’s more to life than that which is consisted of in the Space, and she told this to Jack through parables and stories and evocations of her youth. From a narrative point of view, Ma embodies the outside world, and Jack personifies a “blank-slate” unshapen and unmoulded by the outdoors world.

Ma is an especially interesting character to observe, when one thinks about that Ma had a life before she was abducted by Old Nick who ruined that, so her coming back into the world is a real renewal and it varies from Jack, while Jack is experiencing things for the very first time, Ma is discovering them after years, as she states to Jack during the healthcare facility shower scene, “I’m just trying to enjoy my very first shower in seven years”3. There is a considerable juxtaposition in between the attitudes of Jack and Ma, Jack wants to stick to the routine learned while in Room, whereas Ma no longer feels obligated to conform to the exact same schedule as they had while slave. “Breakfast comes prior to bath” states Jack on page 164, he conforms so rigidly to his preconceived concept of regular and can not comprehend doing something in a different way, however think about how in the end of the unique, Jack begins to adapt to his brand-new existence, certainly Jack is not a so-called “feral-child” like some reality cases such as “Genie” who unfortunately never ever adjusted to fit back into society4, therefore developing that the book is a tale of regeneration, also for Ma. Yet in spite of Jack discovering it more difficult to adapt to the outside world, it is Ma who attempts to eliminate herself. This exemplifies the psychological torture that need to’ve been inflicted onto Ma, who had her life taken away from her when she was just a young adult. Again, from a narrative point of view, her suicide effort is representative of the trial that will lead to the ultimate and unavoidable ‘renewal’ in the conclusion of the unique, it likewise enables a chance for Ma and Jack to be separated, for the first considerable amount of time in the novel, thus providing the reader with a look of Jack coping without Ma, someone who he has rather literally not lacked his whole life. Everything contributes to the ever-forming self-reliance and newness that is common throughout.

The idea of rebirth could likewise be made for the character of Mr. B in Samuel Richardson’s epistolary novel Pamela, however unlike Jack and Ma in Space, it is not a physical rehabilitation, but a moral one, and even that is perhaps ambiguous, but when concerning Mr. B throughout Pamela, one can very much see him as a lecherous male who attempts to benefit from Pamela, and yet by the end of the book is purportedly transformed into an honourable and good hubby. Indeed in among the last letters, Mr. B is described as a “generous partner”, for the less negative, this could be translated as a comment on the redeeming powers of love. Certainly it is referable to the complete title of the novel itself, ‘Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded’, as Pamela is ‘rewarded’ with a partner and a stable income for keeping her purity. She “took pleasure in … the reward of her virtue, piety and charity”5. Both books explore the idea of being reborn, whether in a religious, ethical or physical sense. Literary critic Janice Harayda, paraphrasing Sue Donoghue, comments on how Room utilizes religious allegory to convey its themes, on how the book is “a fight between Mary and the Devil for young Jesus” and this is credible, when thinking about the connotations of the name ‘Old Nick’6. Furthermore the concept of being born-again ties in to the fundamental beliefs of Christians, how Jesus passed away and was born-again anew.

Again, if one conflates the idea of renewal and religious beliefs, that is, renewal as a religious improvement, then Robinson Crusoe features such themes plainly, given that the whole novel can be checked out as a spiritual allegory with Robinson Crusoe avoiding his wicked past and eventually becoming a devout follower in God. At the start of the novel, Crusoe disobeys his Dad by going out to see, against his dad’s desires. As Crusoe says “if I did take this silly step, God would not bless me”.7.Even after encountering a storm out at sea and receiving a warning from the ship’s captain, Crusoe still ventures out looking for wealth and experience, so his “imprisonment” on the island takes on the role of sort of an emotional purgatory. From a religious standpoint, Crusoe makes a serious mistake when he “made numerous vows … that if God would please … extra [his] life this one voyage … [he] would go straight home to [his] daddy”8. He blatantly disobeys this prayer and forgets “the pledges and guarantees that [he] made in [his] distress”9. Throughout the unique, there are occasions that if one is interpreting the book through a religious lens, might be a test of faith from God, and undoubtedly there are plenty of circumstances where Crusoe concerns God, upon landing on the island, Crusoe considers suicide due to the “dismal possibility of [his] condition] “10 however then appears to accept his fate, and because especially English manner, continues onwards and upwards with a stiff upper lip and reconciles it. The renewal aspect enters into play around page 63 in my edition of the unique, this is when Crusoe really begins to have genuine faith in God and the “prodigy of Nature”11.

Robinson Crusoe is changed as a guy, learning to love the island as the “most enjoyable place in the world”12, the redemptive arc is quite prominent. If one sees Old Nick as the “God” figure in Space, while Jack learns to live away from him and his authority and the Room, in contrast Crusoe deserts his defiant methods and by the end of the book is grateful to God for his miseries and is quite the devout believer.

The concepts of rebirth, restoration and a sense of newness are checked out in Space, Crusoe and Pamela, with Space focusing more on adjusting to life after a traumatic occasion, and reintegrating into society, and in Pamela, the rebirth more akin to a religious conversion, manifesting itself in a spiritual/moral sense. For Jack in Room, his departure from captivity allows him to explore with childish surprise this huge new world of possibilities. The character arc for Jack develops that he is able to carry on from Space and totally welcome his position in the new world. Ma even asks him if he “would like the door closed for a minute”, to which Jack responds “no”13. This solidifies his decision to carry on, and is a sign of considerable sign of progress and maturity, further demonstrating the renewal theme common throughout the unique, for it is here that the Space ends up being merely a room. It enables both the reader and the protagonists a sense of closure befitting of their ordeal. While Space and Pamela definitely have spiritual undertones, Robinson Crusoe is the novel with the most obvious spiritual narrative, as the story decidedly portrays a male’s spiritual redemption in the middle of the horror of the frustrating and cumulative torment of the tropical island. Though tying in with Mr. B in Pamela, not only is Crusoe’s redemption entirely a spiritual one, but an ethical one too. For that reason we can see how in each novel there is a sense of newness, and a renewal of many kinds; ultimately leaving each character inexorably changed by the end of the story.

Bibliography

  • Emma Donoghue, Space, Kindle edn ([ n.p.]: Picador Classic, 2010).

  • Business Expert, The heartbreaking story of Genie, a feral child who will never ever find out to interact (2015) <

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