Character alienation is a major theme in many modern societies, which has resulted in authors incorporating the theme into their works. Character alimentation in The Lost World by Michael Crichton and in A Prayer for Owen Meany in John Irving has a similar and a different impact on other characters and the shape of the story. In a culture in which human beings deal with other people who are constantly trying to define them, the characters in the two books have different ways to define themselves.
In A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, alienation changes the course of the story. For instance, Owen is responsible for the change in Johnny’s life after he accidentally killed his mother, Tabby. However, despite the fact that Owen had killed his mother, Johnny can get along with her mainly because he knew that Owen did not intend to kill her (Davis and Kenneth, 40). On the other hand, Owen is permanently connected to the incident, which makes him alienate himself from others. The society did not expect Owen and Johnny to remain friends, which made Owen alienate himself from the society. However, despite alienating himself, he like he owed Owen, which made him vow to help him.
Owen feels like the world has lost its sense of belonging and purpose, which makes him see all actions and activities as purposeful. He starts processing all information, saving everything, and forgetting nothing. He believes the need for a strong moral leader in the community. After being alienated from the society, Owen becomes a Christ figure. However, he is still being made to feel as inferior, as he endures other students raising him overhead in Sunday school.
His parents try to make him believe in himself and integrate with the society again by telling him that he was a result of a virgin birth. However, when playing as the Christ child, he still disturbs the complacent churchgoers. His believe that the society was full of evil doers made him focus on hymns, the Scripture, and chosen works of William Shakespeare (Davis and Kenneth, 40). His alienation has many effects on other characters in the story, with the best example being Johnny. He knew that he had to sacrifice his life to be of importance to other people, with the chosen character being Johnny, simply because he had caused the death of his mother.
Despite alienating himself from the society, he forms a great relationship with Johnny, a relationship that shapes and defines his character. Owen takes care of Johnny, despite the fact that Johnny is bigger than him. His friendship with Johnny makes him vow not to leave his side, which sees him go through the ninth grade two times to make sure that he is always there for him.
Just like in A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, character alienation in The Lost World by Michael Crichton has a major impact on the course of the story. According to the story, Levine and Malcolm try to locate the dinosaurs on the Costa Rican coast. Instead of moving as a group, Levine alienates himself and leaves alone, with the assistance of Diego, a Costa Rican guide. However, things do not go as expected as the dinosaurs quickly kill Diego. With his initial plan being to move alone, Levine is forced to call for help using a high-tech satellite. Malcolm, Thorne, and Eddie, Thorne’s assistance, come to his rescue. By alienating himself, Levine changes Malcolm’s plan in how he was planning to check the dinosaurs. After being saved from the dinosaurs, Levine tries to alienate himself from the group once again by claiming that he did not need to be rescued.
Other characters alienated in the book that changed the shape of the story are the two kids, Arby and Kelly, two stowaway children. Initially, the scientists aimed at finding and studying the dinosaurs. However, after finding the children, they become responsible for their safety. The two kids are alienated from the scientists for safety purposes, especially because the scientists believed the children had nothing to offer in the study. The two kids are seen as liabilities. However, despite being seen as liabilities, the scientists handle their safety, which results in them having divided attention. It makes it hard for them to achieve the desired results as soon as they wanted.
Another similarity between the two cases of alienation is that a second party benefits. For instance, in A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Johnny benefits from Owen’s alienation as Owen feels the need to hold to Johnny as his friend. On the same note, the two kids in The Lost World by Michael Crichton benefits from the protection offered by Malcolm, Thorne, Levine, and Eddie.
A major difference between character alienation in the two stories is that alienation in The Lost Wood affects more than one character while in A Prayer for Owen Meany affects only one character. The alienated character in A Prayer for Owen Meany focuses on helping other characters in the story while the major characters help the alienated characters in The Lost Wood.
Davis, Todd F, and Kenneth Womack. The Critical Response to John Irving. Westport, Conn. [u.a.: Praeger, 2004. Print.