A Room of One’s Own by Benjamin Law
In A Room of One’s Own by Benjamin Law we have the theme of conflict, sibling rivalry, fear and reconciliation. Taken from his The Family Law collection the story is narrated in the first person by Law himself and from the beginning of the story the reader realizes that Law may be exploring the theme of conflict. Law hates his brother Andrew. Even though his mother does not like Law using the word ‘hate.’ She feels it is too strong or serious a word. This is significant as it sets the story up for just why Law may not get on with Andrew. From physical danger to emotional distress it would seem certain that Law has every right to be afraid of his brother. However as the story progresses and after watching ‘It’ the reader realizes that Andrew really loves Law and that his actions towards Law were down to sibling rivalry.
Law’s siblings are also loved by Andrew even though he has physically scarred them all. Something which some readers might find difficult to believe. However it may be a case that Andrew is bored a lot of the time and that this is why he may use his siblings as guinea pigs for his games. It is also interesting that Andrew prefers to watch ‘It’ rather than Hot Chilli. He may be deliberately picking the film in order to scare Law. This would further highlight the theme of fear. Particularly in Law’s eyes. If anything Law may mistrust Andrew and some critics might suggest that he has every reason to considering the scrapes he has been involved in with Andrew.
There is also a sense when Law and Andrew are at their cousins’ house that Andrew is delighted that he is able to scare his cousins as well as Law. So scarred are the boys that they end up going to the bathroom in pairs. It is as though they cannot differentiate between fiction (the film) and fact. Which may be the point that Law is attempting to make. Law in the story is still growing up and impressionable. His mind automatically goes back to the film long after he has seen it. The nightmares being an example of this. Symbolically Law may also be suggesting that he was an innocent in comparison to Andrew.
The end of the story is interesting as through the fish tank Law and Andrew reconcile. It is a simple yet powerful gesture from Andrew. Perhaps he has, over the period of time, realized that he was not necessarily the most loving of siblings or that he may have expressed his affection in an incorrect manner. At least in Law’s eyes. The claiming of the room for himself is also significant as Law for the first time in his life has his own space. Even if he is limited by the desk his father has bought him. The desk too could have some symbolical significance as Law may be using it to further highlight the obstacles that Law faced when growing up. Space to any child is important and Law was no different. He longed for his own space no matter how small he eventually discovered the space was.