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Character Analysis of John Wheelright, in John Irving`s `A Prayer for Owen Meany`

A CHARACTER ANALYSIS OF JOHN IRVING ‘S NOVEL `A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY ‘2005 Applying to the theme of religious faith and personal fate in his famous novel A Prayer for Owen Meany , John Irving discusses this crucial issue through the narrator John Wheelwright whose unusual understanding of God and extreme political views uncover inner doubts of people in relation to Christianity . In this regard , John Wheelwright is portrayed as a person who is lost in his wrong worship and who is destroyed by his obsession of his closest friend Owen Meany , failing to find the true meaning of his life . In the novel A Prayer for Owen Meany John Wheelwright , the offspring of the noble family , uncovers the story of his upbringing , religious faith and his relations with Owen Meany who is usually treated by the narrator as a symbol of Christianity . In fact , John ‘s belief in God is based not on his faith , but on his belief in Owen Meany . As the narrator claims at the beginning of the novel , “I am a Christian because of Owen Meany . I make no claims to have a life in Christ , or with Christ – and certainly not for Christ , which I ‘ve heard some zealots claim (Irving 1 . John acknowledges that he has no profound knowledge of the Bible , although he regularly visits the Church and is used to repeat some passages from this Holy book . Such a contradictory attitude towards Christian religion reveals inner doubts of John , his inability to accept all religious dogmas created by the Church and his attempts to form his own belief .This is especially obvious from the following words of John Wheelwright :“ . but every study of the gods , of everyone ‘s gods , is a revelation of vengeance toward the innocent (This is a part of my particular faith that meets with opposition from my Congregationalist and Episcopalian and Anglican friends (Irving 7 . Thus , the narrator eliminates some wrong assumptions of Christianity , substituting them with his own concepts and demonstrating his ironical attitude towards the existing images of gods . Applying to such a portrayal of the principal character ,Irving makes an attempt to show that a person ‘s fate depends on his /her actions and his /her ability to critically evaluate social and religious systems of the modern world . But despite his acquired wisdom , John is unable to accept reality instead he constantly returns to the past ,failing to accept the changes that occur in the present . As John Wheelwright rightfully states , “Your memory is a monster you forget – it doesn ‘t . It simply files things away . It keeps things for you , or hides things from you – and summons them to your recall with a will of its own . You think you have a memory but it has you (Irving 35 . As a result , in his middle age John appears to occupy a neutral position in life , while his friend Owen Meany is overwhelmed with powerful emotions and energy in his religious activity . Despite…

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