What are some similarities between Jack from Room and Genie Wilder, the "feral child"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are quite a few similarities between Jack and Genie Wilder, the feral child. The first is a fictional character, while the second is a real-life figure. I am assuming that, when you refer to Jack, you are referring to the child protagonist in Room by Emma Donoghue.

I'll list some similarities between the two children. First, both Jack and Genie suffer at the hands of abusive and obsessive fathers. Jack's father is the diabolical Old Nick, who has kept both Jack and his mother in captivity for seven years. Old Nick regularly rapes Jack's mother, and Jack's birth is the result of one such rape.

Meanwhile, Genie Wilder was a real-life feral child. She is supposedly in her sixth decade now. During her childhood, Genie (like Jack) was kept imprisoned. While Jack had to stay in the "Room," Genie was tied to a toilet for almost thirteen hours a day. At night when she slept, Genie was forced to wear a diaper. Additionally, her limbs were always kept immobilized during the night. As a result, Genie could barely walk and was severely disabled for much of her childhood.

Like Genie, Jack is kept isolated from the company of other children and adults. Both, however, had mothers who cared for them and about them. In Jack's case, his mother concocts a plan to save them from Old Nick. Jack's mother tells Old Nick that Jack has died from an illness. So, Jack gets rolled up in a rug. On the way to dispose of Jack's "body," Old Nick loses Jack. The boy escapes and alerts police to the reality of the titular "room."

As for Genie, her mother walked out one day (with Genie) when Genie's father left to apply for disability benefits. The actions of Genie's mother led to their eventual rescue from the clutches of Genie's father.

The above are the basic similarities between Jack and Genie.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial