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Ray Russell’s “The Room”

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The short story “The Room,” by Ray Russell, focuses on aspects developing in our society and creates exaggerations to show a future world that psychologically destroys the people. It explores the excess advertisement and addiction to technology present in the West today. While the protagonist tries to escape his horrible life, where he seeks refuge turns out to be a conspiracy of the government. Through the irony and the tone Russel uses in his story, he implies that the global population’s majority doesn’t realize where technological development leads them and deteriorates their personal skills.

The details that Russell uses to describe the exaggerated aspects included in a fictional society convey the satirical irony in our era. Ironically, Bob Crane ignores all advertisement around him. “As his feet touched the floor, the TV set went on. It would go off, automatically, at ten p.m. Crane was perfectly free to switch the channels, but he saw no point in that” (Russell 1). The government’s purpose in the overstated advertisement leads to influencing the people but Crane turns his back to it and convinces himself of the non-usefulness in his surroundings. Also, when the main character goes to meet Mrs. Ferman to get a new apartment, he is content about its old-fashioned style. “He entered a rather run-down frame building, found the correct door, and pressed the doorbell. He could hear inside the flat, the sound of an old-fashioned buzzer, not a chime playing the Eetmeet or Jetfly or Krispy Kola jingles. Hope filled him” (2). Ironically, hope fills him when away from his routine, contrarily to the feeling of familiarity the corrupt system tries to create. Therefore, through the situational irony, the author hints at the inflated presence of technology and advertisement that stems from the government.

The tone that the author uses through Bob Crane in the story shows the protagonist’s desperation to escape the society. The sentences are short and straight-forward. “Then he stared at the ceiling: it was still blank. Must be pretty early, he told himself” (1). This technique shows the readers that his lifestyle does not encourage further analysis. Moreover, the vocabulary used is either very simple and basic or harsh and shocking. When Bob tries to concentrate on a governmental news story, he describes the distracting ads as “sadistic, masochistic, incestuous and autoerotic” (2). This tone shows how much the over-advertisement has an influence on a person’s vocabulary and thoughts. Thus, the tone the author incorporates in the story illustrates the mental state of the main character for the readers’ further comprehension.

Ray Russell displays the difficulties that arise in one’s mind when they are in conflict with the whole of society. Ironically, the desire of escaping his fate leads Crane to get caught in illegal act at the end. Bob Crane goes too far to fulfill his desire for him to walk back on his steps. “The Room” is thus more than a short story about a man looking for a new place to live: it is a dystopia that examines the future of society. The irony and the tone in the story betray the social criticism of Western society, showing that advertisement and technology has taken over our lives.

Work Cited

Russell, Ray. “The Room.” 1961. Print.

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