Owen Meany is one of the most fascinating characters in the story; natural tiny size of his body, but biggest soul and fortitude are harmonically combined in this character. He is thus the representation of the natural and supernatural, the holiness and mystery. Owen Meany is so light, that all his classmates could lift him up, so wise, that he could foretell his fate and so clumsy, that one awkward baseball shot, made by Owen killed his best friend’s mother.
Developing a Christ-like character, John Irving does not intend to reach perfection and idealism: Owen Meany is familiar with smoking and simple boyish behavior, however he possess what others utterly lack: firm and unflagging belief in the existence of God, who charged him with special mission. This strong principle overcomes all the doubts and leads to a “miracle”, that undoubtedly has influence on John Wheelwright. Owen Meany just as a Christ visualizes his death and devotionally habituates to it.Order now
Symbolism in the novel is one of the most effective and important strategies that the author uses. Owen, himself, is depicted as a divine being: he is literally a fragile male miniature with a falsetto high voice, strong will and developed opinions. Owen is the symbol of Jesus, a medium between God and Mankind. Likewise, Owen constantly exclaims: “I AM GOD’S INSTRUMENT.” There is a reference to nativity set in Meany’s home that is missing the Baby Jesus in the crib, as well as Owen Meany. Similarly to Jesus, Owen ultimately forfeits his own life for the good of others.
Equally important is that Owen was able to build up his character and become respected, esteemed and admired in the American society. He concealed knowledge, wisdom and light and sacred mind. Owen was a treasure for people, a rare godly creation, ceasing to live, like crucified Christ. Owen was in direct communication with God; he was born to serve a special purpose, accomplish his duty and pass away right after. Why was Owen Meany endowed with such destiny? This is what makes the novel so special and unusual.
“Into paradise may the angels lead you.” Owen referred to the fact that the angels will guide oneself into Heaven after the death, to encourage John in hoping and being optimistic. Owens’s absolute devotion to God urged John to understand death as a transitional journey, rather than a tragedy. Owen Meany was the focus of Irving’s idea. Owen Meany not only taught his best friend a lesson, but also gave readers a reason to reevaluate and reconsider life. The idea of America is thematized through the events that take place in the novel. The loss of Owen Meany can be read as the result of the Vietnamese war. A game of baseball- an important symbol of America relates to John’s mother’s death- an key event in the story.
The critique of American politics and society can be found in the novel, initially dramatizing it. Throughout the book, I could vividly visualize Owen as a Christ-like figure with angel’s wings on his back. The reason is that Owen Meany perfectly fitted in this role. Irving greatly portrayed Owen, giving him an appropriate appearance, suitable actions and personality. I believe that John Irving’s goal to show Owen Meany as a Christ figure was successfully attained. Jesus , itself is a heroic and brave man with mighty good deeds and Owen Meany, likely to Christ remains a hero in the novel. According to the fact that Jesus was sent to give his believers eternal life, Owen Meany served as a saver of human’s lives. There were constant comparisons of Owen to Jesus, which proove the idea that Owen is an “Instrument of God”. I find this idea quite comprehensible and realistic.