Wisdom In John Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany

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Wisdom in fiction has developed through the years and can take many forms in todays literature. We can see wisdom ranging from the common old wizards or grandmother figures, to something along the lines of children or teens realizing and learning pieces of life early on. In this paper we will focus on one such child, Owen Meany, from the novel A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. One’s perception of what characters are wisest all depend on how the term is defined and by what formula it is laid out. For the purpose of this paper and analysis the wisdom will be very Ardelt in theory. Wisdom is not simply knowledge but rather knowledge gained through personal experience and growth and then, in turn, applied back into the person’s life in a way that benefits the world that they live in. In the beginning of Irvings’ novel we meet Johnny Wheelwright; our narrator and one of our main characters. The story is told through his eyes as he recounts his own coming…show more content…
Over their childhood and adolescence Owens wisdom expanded past the realm of his faith in the direct way he presented his interpretations as a child. When he and Johnny were about seventeen they were discussing what they wanted to do with their lives. Johnny mentioned wanting to do something where he could read, then offhandedly said that it was silly because the only reason he even liked reading was because of Owen. Owen’s response was to tell him: “"IT DOESN 'T MATTER WHERE YOU LEARNED IT- IT 'S A GIFT. IF YOU CARE ABOUT SOMETHING, YOU HAVE TO PROTECT IT. IF YOU 'RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO FIND A WAY OF LIFE YOU LOVE, YOU HAVE TO FIND THE COURAGE TO LIVE IT.” This insight is taken from Owen’s long held belief that every person has a purpose in life but only they can truly embrace it. One of the key elements of being wise is sharing the wisdom with others. Owen displays this beautifully in this scene with Johnny as he explains to him that this is what he is meant for, what he loves, and he has

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