A look at two of John Irving’s novels, `The Hotel New Hampshire` and `The World According to Garp` and their similarities and differences in plot and narrative structure.
In John Irving’s two novels, “The Hotel New Hampshire” and the “World According to Garp”, he maintains the ability to tell two very different stories even as they parallel each other in the way of situations, characters, and settings. The recurring subjects are Irving’s way of correlating his writing to his personal life and peculiar fetishes; while the primary objective of each novel is to allow the reader to explore the many unique quirks and idiosyncrasies of the narrator’s family life. The common threads in the novels that Irving relates to his own life allow him to become an actor for the course of the book. He takes on personality traits and physical characteristics that he could never really possess. According to Kris Gates, “[Irving’s] books are dominated by insanely convoluted and coincidental plot lines and almost all share some common plot devices” (Roth 1 of 2). We will explore the extent of the similarities these novels hold and examine what role they play in Irving’s life.