Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Prayer For Owen Meany

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I would argue that Reverend Merrill never lost his faith in then first place. After Tabitha Wheelwright’s death, Merrill was ridden with guilt as he wished her dead right at the moment she was hit with the ball. Since Rev. Merrill blames himself for her death, he also feels that God should punish him. The way he punishes himself is not by loosing, but locking his faith away for awhile. I think that after Tabitha’s death, Rev. Merrill didn’t feel deserved of being a man or a voice of God.

Throughout the novel the audience witnesses evidence for the existence of God. Owens life is a miracle - he has supernatural visions and dreams, he believes that he acts as Gods instrument, and he has divine foreknowledge of his own death - and offers almost undeniable evidence of Gods existence. However, an irony lies in that none of this reawakens Reverend Merrill’s faith. It is not until John plays a prank on Merrill by dressing a dummy in the red dress and placing it outside of the church while throwing the baseball through his window that his faith is restored. He believes Tabby came back from her grave and from that point on he says his faith will never waiver again.

Tying all of this together, I would say that this moment was what Rev. Merrill needed to unlock that faith he closed off for so many years. Irving was showing that you can’t wait for a moment to prove God’s insistence, a person has to find it inside. Ultimately, I think that it was not so much John’s prank that revives Merrill’s faith, but that finally he was ready to believe again.

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