A Prayer for Owen Meany

Satisfactory Essays
A Prayer for Owen Meany
In A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving, Irving portrays the relationship between faith and doubt within the struggles of Johnny, which in the end alienates him from a normal, human life because the miraculous moments he has encountered changed him and vanishes all his doubt. However, it demonstrates that he is living in the past, which has causes grief and anger for his lost best friend, which has kept him from living normally.
In the beginning of the novel, it demonstrates that not only is Johnny “doomed” to remember Owen, but shows that his past continues to haunt him; although, he gains faith, the tragic events shape him into a whole different person (1). The beginning of the novel also shows that within Johnny’s past, he is faced with not only one tragic event, but two which affects him as he struggles growing up: his mother’s death and Owen’s. Owen’s death shows a prominent effect on Johnny’s new wisdom, but has led him to living a bitter life when looking back at his experiences. Owen shapes Johnny into the man he is presently and shows a parallel resemblance in criticism of religion and politics. Johnny in his childhood was skeptical, yet apathetic towards Owen’s beliefs, specifically that he is “God’s instrument.” Johnny’s doubtful childhood juxtaposes Owen’s belief, but in the end demonstrates a relationship which ties to the overall meaning of the novel. His experiences, although, keeping him from living a normal life, allow him to witness a miraculous, yet tragic moment which he pictures as a miracle. Although he ultimately accepts Owen’s beliefs, he is not necessarily ready to let go of his best friend. Owen’s miraculous death has created a barrier from a normal life. Losing a loved one i...

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...nstrates that he is an outsider and is cut out of one of the most miraculous moment in the Bible and the Christian faith. By comparing Johnny and Joseph, it shows that Johnny as well is an outsider in Owen’s miracle. Johnny states that he is “still a Joseph” and “was a Joseph then” (439). This reveals the guilt and hopelessness that is keeping Johnny from living a normal life. Although he has regained his faith, his life is being controlled by his depression despite witnessing a miracle. He fails to realize that Joseph is a watcher which is what he resembles. As a protector who oversees everything, wisdom is gained which Johnny gains in the end. However, his depression is affecting him and his relationships which is standing in his way of overcoming his guilt and bitterness

Works Cited

Irving, John. A Prayer for Owen Meany: A Novel. New York: Morrow, 1989. Print.
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