Messy Room by Shel Silverstein

As can be imagined from the title of the poem, Messy Room by Shel Silverstein is about a heavily disorganized room, described from the point of view of a speaker who is stunned and horrified at the lack of responsibility of the anonymous owner of the said room.

Messy Room


Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
His underwear is hanging on the lamp.
His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,
And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.
His workbook is wedged in the window,
His sweater’s been thrown on the floor.
His scarf and one ski are beneath the TV,
And his pants have been carelessly hung on the door.
His books are all jammed in the closet,
His vest has been left in the hall.
A lizard named Ed is asleep in his bed,
And his smelly old sock has been stuck to the wall.
Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
Donald or Robert or Willie or–
Huh? You say it’s mine? Oh, dear,
I knew it looked familiar!

Analysis of Silverstein’s ‘”Messy Room”

Similar to other Shel Silverstein poems, Messy Room is easy and fun to read. It has a jovial touch to the lines as the speaker goes through the numerous aspects of the room that are placed in the wrong way, in an exasperated manner. Whosever room this is should be ashamed!” It is implied that the owner of the room is a teenage boy and the reader cannot help but not notice that the tone of the speaker’s speech is reminiscent of that of a tired but affectionate mother.

Meanwhile the poem follows the continuous rants of the speaker as he or she list the gross wrongdoings of the owner of the room. The first line of the poem, Whosever room this is should be ashamed!”, is also repeated in order to put emphasis on the growing indignation of the speaker, who has now resorted to trying to guess the name of the owner of this messy room. Herein lies the ultimate twist ending; the reader may be surprised to find out that it is actually the speaker himself who is the main culprit. It is his room and therefore, his responsibility to ensure the hygiene of the room.

The moral of the story is as simple as the plot it has been construed from. Do not be so quick to judge someone for a deed that may easily be an act that you may be responsible for too. It is easy to give in to the powers of hypocrisy. However, negligence or any other sort of wrongdoing, while should be reprimanded for, may be easy to accuse someone else of but hard to accept when you may realize that it is a fault that also lies within you.