The World According to Garp

A Lack of Confrontation: Repression and Evasion in the Work of John Irving 12th Grade

In The Cider House Rules, Homer, the protagonist, after stifling all of the uncomfortable situations in his life would “lay awake [at night] because the phantoms of those days were not gone” (312). While Homer liked to think that he was in control of his life, especially his emotions, the quote exemplifies a theme common for characters in John Irving novels: evasion and repression of feelings. In several of his novels, characters face disordering circumstances that cause discomfort. Rather than confronting these problems, the characters tend to evade the situations. Homer, despite his beliefs, is haunted at night because he cannot come to terms with his emotions during the day. In A Prayer for Owen Meany, Johnny, unable to face life at home after his best friend’s death, runs away to Canada; similarly, in The Cider House Rules, Homer moves due to unresolved and conflicting feelings towards his orphanage. The Water-Method Man and The World According to Garp involve characters that, fearful of their relationships, ruin ties with others. These situations are contrasted with organic imagery through symbolism, perceived by the characters, and the nature and actions of characters and their environment. The negative consequences that...

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