The Small Room: A Novel

Room by Emma Donoghue - review
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The Small Room book. Read 39 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. How the central characters—students and teachers—react to the crisis. The Small Room: A Novel and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle . This item:The Small Room (Norton Library (Paperback)) by May Sarton .

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Book Review - Room by Emma Donoghue

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Vote Are you sure you want to submit this vote? Submit vote Cancel. You must be logged in to vote. Report Comment Are you sure you want to mark this comment as inappropriate? Their realities are cleanly juxtaposed: Noah, who lives in an apartment on the Upper West Side filled with books and a cherished black leather Le Corbusier chaise, is prone to long-winded discourse on scientific principles and French cultural norms he left Europe at 4, during World War II ; hard-knocks Michael, who is preoccupied with taking selfies and protecting the sanctity of his Air Jordan sneakers, is guided by recycled wisdom of the streets.

Donoghue nails not only the class differences but the generational impasse: the adult who cannot grasp the extent to which society has broken; the child who has never known it to be otherwise. To Noah, they feel potentially compromising.

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Could his mother have been pressed into spying for fascist officials? Did she have a lover? For every time you want to or, ahem, actuall do yell at them, as Lucy does, to stop holding themselves back, there are times when their enthusiasm and curiosity rise up to meet you and you feel the thrill and the responsibility of being their guide and companion in something that matters.

Is that really what we want? We as teachers? One final note: I happened to be working through Death in a Tenured Position this week in one of my classes and I notice that it is dedicated to May Sarton. You can follow all the replies to this entry through the comments feed. I was wondering as I read this book what the several professors who I knew were also reading this would think about it.

I know in my university experience as a student I have never had teachers personally involved with my studies. I had one or two who were genuinely interested in my development as a scholar and gave me guidance and encouragement but it was all on a professional basis, there was no emotional handholding or expectations of it on either side of the relationship. Appleton seems ideal in some ways but claustrophic and unhealthy in others.

There must be a happy middle in there somewhere. I was most looking forward to reading the responses to this book from teachers and pupils so this post was fascinating. I wondered if this might be a comment on the place of the psychologist in university life, or if my feelings as a modern reader were just significantly different to someone reading when The Small Room was written.

Room, by Emma Donoghue

There is something appealing about it, yes, but knowing myself, I would find it exhausting. I need more of a life outside of school than Lucy seems to have, and I need lots of time and distance from students to recover from the exhaustion of teaching. That said, the ways I do interact with my students I really value. Fascinating post, Rohan, and a wonderful response to the novel.

Class size clearly makes the difference. If I teach a seminar or a language class, the maximum number of students will be In supervision, the maximum is 3. So most of my teaching was in ones and twos.

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And yes, thank goodness, fixed procedures for problems like plagiarism. The thing is, in my experience, the difficulties the students have with learning are partly personal, always. There is an element of straightforward incomprehension, but so much resistance to learning comes from insecurity, uncertainty and prejudice. These things rarely get aired in a classroom situation. But it does also limit the effect you can ever expect to have on them.

The tough part of Cambridge teaching is the responsibility — if I see a student individually for a whole year then surely I can always get a very good result out of him. So these things are always swings and roundabouts.