What Is Owen Meany Archetype

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The Strange Savior of Salvation: Owen Meany John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany contains one of literatures quirkiest, most unforgettable characters: Owen Meany, whose humorous, and often feeble adventures shape the story. This entertaining novel takes an unorthodox spin to a classic literary archetype, with this stunted midget as the comical antiheroic protagonist. John Irving, the author, is utilizing a multitude of Christ symbolisms to add depth to his portrayal of this dwarfed boy, whose otherwise ordinary life comprises of a truly extraordinary quest of faith and mortality. Owen Meany, an eccentric, devout Christian is perhaps the most unlikely hero in all of history. Described as having a high-pitched nasally voice that “bring dead …show more content…

Irving continuously references this throughout the novel, that is until John reflects on it in the final paragraph. He proclaims the reason Owen felt light was that a spiritual force was holding him up: “We did not realize that there were forces ... that contributed to our illusion of Owen's weightlessness; they were the forces we didn't have the faith to feel, they were the forces we failed to believe in—and they were also lifting up Owen Meany, taking him out of our hands” (627). This quotation clearly shows how Irving, is not only utilizing the symbolism of Owen’s physical lightness for his spiritual status, but making a direct …show more content…

Owen is a martyr, he must sacrifice his own life to save others much like Christ had to do. Denny Weaver, a published professor of religion, stated in an literary analysis of the novel, that “each was sent on a mission to die to save others—Jesus' death absorbed the punishment that sinful humankind deserved; Owen's death absorbed a grenade blast that saved Vietnamese orphans.” Like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Owen had to submit to the will of God. Salvation depended on it the death of these virtuous, innocent victim in both cases (Weaver). Furthermore, after Owen dies his friend John continues to wish that God would return Owen to him: “O God — please give him back! I shall keep asking You” (Irving 627). This parallels when the Christians awaited the return of Jesus

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