The World According to Garp by John Irving
The World According to Garp is a complex and multi-layered work that deals with themes of love, loss, sexuality, and the human condition. John Irving's novel is an emotional and intellectual journey that takes readers through the life of T.S. Garp, a man who struggles to find his identity and place in the world.
The novel is divided into four parts, each of which explores a different stage in Garp's life. As readers delve into the first part, titled "The T.S. Garp Foundation," they are introduced to Garp as a young boy growing up in a world that is both strange and fascinating to him. We learn about his family, including his mother Jenny Fields, a strong-willed nurse who has decided to have a child without a husband. The novel explores the complexities of motherhood, feminism, and gender roles through Jenny Fields, who becomes a symbol of female empowerment and autonomy.
In the second part, titled "Garp," readers follow Garp as he attends college, becomes a writer, and falls in love with a woman named Helen. The relationship between Garp and Helen is complicated, and they struggle to find a way to be together while also pursuing their own dreams and desires. The novel explores the complexities of love, sexuality, and the sacrifices we make for those we love.
The third part, titled "The World According to Bensenhaver," shifts the focus away from Garp and onto his son, Walt. Walt is a talented athlete who is struggling to come to terms with his own identity and sexuality. The novel explores the relationship between Walt and Garp, and how they both strive to find their own place in the world. This part of the novel is a commentary on the societal and cultural restrictions that limit individuals' freedom of expression and self-discovery.
The final part of the novel, titled "The Funeral of T.S. Garp," brings the story full circle as Garp's life comes to a close. The novel explores the themes of love, loss, and the human condition in a powerful and poignant way, leaving readers with a profound sense of the complexity of the human experience. This part of the novel is a meditation on the inevitability of death and the ways in which we come to terms with our mortality.
One of the key themes of the novel is the idea of identity and how it is constructed. Garp struggles throughout the novel to find his place in the world, and his journey is one that many readers can relate to. The novel also deals with themes of sexuality and the complexities of relationships, as well as the idea of mortality and the fleeting nature of life. Irving's novel is not just a story, it is a profound philosophical exploration of the human condition.
The World According to Garp is a profound and deeply moving work of literature that explores the human experience in all its complexities. Irving's writing is rich with symbolism and imagery, and his characters are fully-realized and deeply human. This novel is a masterpiece of modern literature that will stay with readers long after they have finished reading. It is a powerful reminder that life is complex, beautiful, and fleeting, and that it is our responsibility to make the most of it.