Christ Essay, Research Paper
How Owen Meany is Directly Compared to Jesus Christ
Throughout the novel a prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving, the main character is portrayed as a very religious martyr. In the Christian faith Jesus Christ is a martyr as well. Although there are many differences between the life of Jesus, as depicted in the bible and Owen Meany, there are many similarities as well, so many in fact, that the reader is forced to ponder if these similarities are intentional.
Jesus Christ was a miracle birth: he was born from a virgin.
The virgin will be with child and she will give birth to a son – Matthew 1:23
To be born from virgin makes the child blessed because the mother is then untouched and pure. Owen Meany was also born from a virgin.
You re saying Owen Meany was a virgin birth? I asked Mr. Meany; he wouldn t look at me, but he nodded vigorously.
She was a virgin-yes! he said
According to the bible if a women is with child, but is also untouched, then the child is a son of God. It was a miracle that Mary became impregnated with Jesus; it was a miracle that Mrs. Meany became impregnated with Owen. Both children are thus marked, and become a tool of God.
In Matthew 16:21 to Matthew 16:28 Jesus predicts his own death. God allows Jesus to see how he is going to die and why he is going to die in order that Jesus knew how he would fulfil the will of God. Owen was similarly informed of his death, ironically at about the same age as Jesus (between 11 and 13, the bible isn t specific) when he reads his own name on the tombstone in the play. Both Jesus and Owen are informed, though dreams, how and when they were both going to die. They were also both given an opportunity to escape this fate. In fact Peter asks Jesus to run from the Roman s, to which Jesus replies it is God s will for me to die. Similarly Hester begs Owen to not go to Vietnam, saying they could instead move to Canada and live there for the rest of their lives. Owen instead refuses, prepared to meet the plan God intended for him. This act of not running makes both Jesus and Owen a martyr; both having died to save people, both dying as well for their faith, both putting all their trust in God.
His best friend tells the retelling of Owen s life: John. John s faith is kindled after the martyr death of Owen, and John is inspired to chronicle Owen s life. Owen met John when John hadn t made any positive declaration of his faith; his faith changed as his family did, and his belief in the church was sketchy at best. Owen, meanwhile, had absolute trust in God. Whenever John would talk about random chance, Owen would be angered, and instead call it God s will. But when Owen s life ends, John s faith is rekindled, and he becomes a devout Anglican. In the Bible, John was a Jesus first deciple and best friend to Jesus. The bible depicts that John didn t have absolute faith in God, but he had faith in Jesus, which was why he followed him. But when Jesus is crucified John sees this miracle and converts to Christianity himself. As well, John is inspired to chronicle the life of Jesus; his four books about Jesus make up more of the Bible then any other author.
There are many differences between the life of Jesus and Owen Meany. Obviously they are very different people. But there are many similarities as well, so many, in fact, that the reader must give pause to speculate on whether or not these biblical allusions are intentional. Both Jesus and Owen were glorified in both their births, both having been born of a virgin. Their lives, after that point, were, for the most part, dissimilar, but by the end both died under similar circumstances. This raises a lot of questions, such as whether or not the author is trying to indicate that Owen Meany is a second Messiah; the bible does indicate that God will send another of his sons to earth someday. Or did the author intend that Owen was simply a hapless pawn in a grand scheme of God? These questions, and many more, help to make the book an immensely enjoyable experience.