To Room Nineteen Essay

1247 Words Oct 29th, 2012 5 Pages
To Room 19 , Final draft
In the short story “To Room Nineteen” by Doris Lessing, Susan Rawlings is a woman living what seems like the perfect life with the perfect marriage. However, it soon becomes clear that Susan isn’t as happy with her life as one might think upon first glance. Slowly but surely, Susan begins to drift away from her home life in attempts to find freedom through solitude. This reaction can be analyzed by taking a closer look at how Susan relates to the places in her life such as her beautiful home with her family and the small hotel room to which she escapes. Reading the fifth chapter of Yi-Fu Tuan’s Space and Place alongside “To Room Nineteen” helps us to understand the counterintuitive notions of space and freedom
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But with her family calling her multiple times a day, Susan felt like “the telephone wire [was] holding her to her duty like a leash” (Lessing 538). Tuan explains this phenomenon by stating that “solitude is broken not so much by the number of organisms in nature as by the sense of busy-ness—including busy-ness of the mind” (61). This is exactly what Susan felt, for although she was alone physically, her family weighed down on her mind constantly, ruining her sense of solitude. Though they tried to be helpful and supportive, Susan’s family couldn’t understand this critical concept. Had they been able to go a few days without calling her or without Mrs. Parkes nagging her with household business, perhaps Susan’s vacation would have appeased her craving for solitude. Alas, the opportunity was spoiled and Susan returned to her home feeling more exhausted than when she had left.
For all of these reasons, Susan felt it necessary to seek out Room 19 in Fred’s Hotel. This was Susan’s escape, not because it was a vast, open land like the mountains were, but because no one knew she was there. It didn’t even matter that “the room was hideous” because “she was free” (Lessing 541). The room she was shown was small and dingy, with only one small window and cheap looking sheets on the sole bed that was there. All Susan needed was to be “alone and with no one knowing where [she was]” (Lessing 537). In this way Susan’s relationship with the dreary motel room allows us

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