Owen Meany is both a realistic and a symbolic character. His diminutive size and screechy, undeveloped voice contrast with his powerful presence. As his name, Meany, implies, Owen believes that all actions and objects have meaning. In an indecisive world that has lost its sense of purpose, Owen sees all actions as purposeful. He processes all information, forgets nothing, and saves everything. He believes in strong moral leadership in a country of flawed leaders and morally righteous hypocrites who value public relations above human relations.
Owen is also a Christ figure. In Sunday school, he endures the other students raising him overhead. He is hung on a coat rack like a crucified Christ, and his parents tell him that he is the result of a virgin birth. Playing the Christ child, he disturbs the complacent churchgoers. Owen’s life also focuses on death and resurrection as he absorbs appropriate quotations from Scripture, hymns, and the works of William Shakespeare. He carves gravestones and later delivers the bodies of dead soldiers. Owen knows that he must sacrifice his life to save others, both physically and spiritually. He also proclaims the resurrection of the dead. Raised overhead as a young man, elevated as a Christmas angel, lifted up to slam dunk a basketball, and thrown up to a window to shelter children from a grenade, Owen is connected with resurrection even in the moment of death, as he sees himself raised above the palm trees. Owen is a...
(The entire section is 526 words.)