The World According to Garp Critical Analysis

Topics: The World According to Garp, Gender, Feminism Pages: 2 (559 words) Published: May 21, 2008
In a World of Feminism

"In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases" (609). This is Garp’s famous line featured in his half autobiography, biography about his struggle with his feminist leader for a mother and her feminist movement. According to John Irving’s novel, The World According to Garp, feminism can be considered as one of the many important aspect of the story. This is shown through the life of T.S. Garp. When Irving refers to Garp's mother Jenny, feminism is shown as a good thing that is for the benefit of all mankind. However, there are just as many times when Irving shows how feminism led to people acting as extremists, for example the "Ellen Jamesians". Also, the evolution of the feminist movement throughout Garp's life compares other movements in history that eventually went wrong. The story presents a fairly true picture of feminism. In the beginning of the novel Irving focuses on the story Jenny Fields. She is described as a woman trying to make it in a world of male dominance. Jenny feels and strives to prove that she can live without a man in her life. Her story starts with a simple description of how she lived. Jenny Fields was a nurse. She loved babies but refused to share her life or her body in order to conceive. Jenny eventually conceives in the most unusual way and she succeeded in her promise to keep her body completely to herself. Jenny took on complete responsibility for her son without a male figure in her life. The secret conception of Garp remains a secret until she releases her autobiography when Garp is older and instantly Jenny becomes the chosen feminist leader. Her novel A Sexual Suspect becomes a hit and Jenny grows in wealth and power very quickly. With all of her money Jenny opens a home for battered women, which becomes a target for the “Ellen Jamesians”. The "Ellen Jamesians" are a group of women who in order to show their opposition would cut their tongues from their mouths, because of Ellen James,...
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