Personal Response to ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue 1/12/16

This was posted on Moodle on 1/12/16

Do I read for pleasure?  I used to, a lot. Nowadays, I find myself going through phases where I will read constantly, and it really is an all-consuming process that isn’t entirely conducive to everyday life, or not at all. It’s something I, like a high proportion of people, wish to engage more with but (lame excuse) don’t seem to find the time- perhaps a reshuffle of priorities is on the cards? I did, however, welcome the opportunity which the compulsory fiction that was ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue presented and hoped it would reignite yet another of my soon to be trademarked binge reads.

‘Room’ was an enjoyable, if somewhat conflicting read. It presented challenges- interpreting the complexities of Jack’s language for one, but being someone who enjoys rules and problem solving I found this more endearing than off-putting. It’s content and themes were also incredibly current and realistic, both of which are qualities I actively seek in literature. In terms of the controversial topic at play, I thought that it handled it incredibly well and was able to tackle rather sensitive issues head on by viewing them from an unassuming child’s point of view. This no-nonsense approach at subjects commonly censored, provided a very shocking look at issues such as ma’s depression, rape and suicide attempts, as well as more humorous looks at some of the absurdities of the modern world (the paparazzi-vulture comparison).

It was very interesting to look at the development of Jack’s linguistic abilities with the context of the work which we were doing in both ‘Literacy for Understanding’ and ‘Situated Communication’ modules. Understanding the reason he personified the items in Room, and the ways in which his language had developed differently to a child growing up in a ‘normal’ setting, really added a further dimension to the reading.

In terms of relating it to my own literacy, I do not think this has had a significant impact on my desire to read, which remains high, but maybe has added another genre to the stack of ‘still to read’ books piling up in my mind.  ‘My Abandonment’ by Peter Rock has still, however, entered below my desire to read some historical fiction spurred on by my four-month binge over the summer of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ and the reflection that a primary teacher should probably know at least a bit about history.

I would recommend Room to anyone with an interest in child development, anyone who has ever wanted to delve more into the Josep Fritzl case (from which, I believe, Emma Donoghue took inspiration) or just anyone who fancies a challenging and though-provoking read.

Societies and Lifestyles- Religion Week 2

This week we were introduced to the ways in which religion and culture are interlinked, before moving onto an in depth look at “Unchurched Spirituality”. I found this very interesting and despite my previously mentioned shortcomings regarding religion I felt this was broached in a very forward and factual way without any prejudice or strong bias.

The issue of how religion impacts on culture and social issues is one that has both interested and irritated me in my own life. I have had a lot of my own thoughts on the subject and felt that some of these were echoed in the lecture; for example religion’s advertisement of their own altruistic tendencies in order to entice people in or the villainisation of religious people based on the acts of extremists. It was very interesting to look at such beliefs and stances from an objective educational standpoint and it is something I look forward to investigating further.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Marxism and felt that I resonated with a lot of what he believed so am planning on looking more into him and his theories in my spare time. And whilst I may not agree with the theories and beliefs of Weber,  Lincoln or others it is important to develop our bank of academics for backing up of points in an exam.

The final topic we looked at today was Unchurched Spiritualisation. This was interesting as I had noticed a lot of what was mentioned in the content, e.g. the uprising of fad new age spiritualities or the start up of new ‘modern’ religions, in day to day life but wasn’t aware there was a name for this movement. While some of these seem slightly extreme it does seem in the whole a positive step in the right direction to modernise the traditional (and possibly outdated) customs of religion.

Societies and Lifestyles- Religion Week 1

Religion has never been something I have interacted with throughout my life. I am non-religious and none of my immediate family members follow any religion so I have lived quite a sheltered life in regards to this. Up until recently I would have said that I disliked religion as a concept due to its negative connotations and, to me, seemingly outdated stances on a lot of subject matter. However, I realised in the past year or so that this is a very close-minded view of mine and that I should be more open. and although I myself don’t follow a religion it doesn’t mean I can’t look at it from the outside and at least attempt to understand where those who follow religion are coming from. Upon today’s lecture I discovered that this is known as the “scholarly approach” to religion, and this resonates with me. I also feel that a knowledge, even if only broad, and an understanding of a variety of different religions and cultures will be very positive for my future career.


I felt that today I looked at the place of religion in a society and the motivations behind those who are religious. I found this interesting and am keen to look more into this. We were also introduced to various theorists (Bourdillon, Durkheim, Malinowksi etc.) who write on religious culture, these will be very important moving forward when justifying viewpoints. I think I had a vague understanding of what we were looking at but will absolutely need to investigate further- and I look forward to this as I want to broaden my knowledge base. My hope is that by the end of this module I will be able to approach the variety of religions in my future classroom with a knowledgable and open mind.