What Is Prayer for Owen Meaney About

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At least that is how most unbelievers see it. In the case of John Wheelwright, it was the opposite. Faith was introduced to John in the shape of a distorted young boy who never quite fit into society. John seemed to have it all; his mom just got married to a great guy and life was on track. All until the day, Owen took his mom from him with a swing of a bat. “A Prayer for Owen Meany”, is a novel that expresses the themes of the power of forgiveness through the characters and symbols.

John Irving takes the reader through a tear jerker and a whirlwind of emotions that brings his reader closer to finding his or her faith. John Irving writes this story ironically based on parts of his childhood. There are many similarities based on how he grew up such as Johns mother remarrying at the age of six. “His mother, Frances, and father, an Army Air Force pilot, divorced before Irving was born and at age six Irving’s mother remarried.

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Her new husband adopted Irving, giving him the name he is known by today.”(“John Irving Facts”). In the book, Johnny never knows his father just like Irving never really knows who his birth father is.

Owen Meany is brought into John’s life in a fairly ironic way; their first encounter is at Sunday School. “Unique among his friends, he was born of a claimed virgin birth, is small of stature, has a high, screeching voice that never changes, and believes that he has a divine calling.

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”(Weaver). Owen was never the popular kid and got picked on more times than not. John was sadly a witness to this neglect. They would toss Owen into the air so he could not get down until a teacher would come in and punish Owen for not being in his seat. Throughout the story, Owen a John become fairly close; friendship blossoms and the two are inseparable. Owen is always at John’s house and spending the night. Their favorite hobby they both enjoyed was baseball. John was the athletic type but Owen was quite the opposite. Then one hot summer evening the game was coming to an end and they needed a runner. Owen was fast, sneaky, and reliable when it came to stealing bases; his coach told Owen to get up there and take a walk. Most of the time pitchers could not hit his small strike zone due to the fact he was so underdeveloped for his age. Owen takes his stance and feels an urge to swing. He misses the first pitch, strike. The second is a ball, which he watches wiz by just missing his arm.

The pitcher winds up and Owen knows this is the pitch that will change everything. Little did the sweet little boy know his foul ball will be the death of his best friends loving mother, Tammy.(Irving). In summary, The boys grow up close friends in a small New Hampshire town, where Owen’s loutish parents own a quarry and where the fatherless Johnny, whose beloved mother never reveals the secret of his paternity, becomes an orphan at age 11 when a foul ball hit by Owen in a Little League game strikes his mother on the head, killing her instantly.”(“A Prayer for Owen Meany”). Throughout the story, we learn the deeper moral of the story as it progresses. Tabby Wheelright is known throughout the story as being “that” mom. “Everyone seems to love Tabby.” (Shmoop). The mom that all the boys, including their fathers, talked about. Tabby is the loving mother of John and loving wife of Dan Needham. She is a woman that knows her worth and does not settle for anything less than perfect. She finds her perfect fairytale lifestyle in Mr. Needham. They find love on a Boston and Maine train line on the way back from a business trip.

It was described as love at first sight. Early on in the novel, Tammy’s life is taken by a foul ball. She was known as a very important woman, little did she know just how important her life will be to not just John’s but also to her husband Dan. Dan can quite simply be described as a man that everyone liked. John’s first encounter with Dan changed the way he viewed his mother. John grew up with the idea that men were classy, inexperienced with children, and Dan was not that in any shape or form. He dressed poorly, had a geeky side, and awfully awkward with presence. He even gives Johnny a stuffed armadillo that he absolutely adores. While being a teacher at Gravesend Academy, he manages to make Johnny and Tammy a huge priority in his life. In four short years, Dan and Tammy get married, but only after Tammy’s ex quits blackmailing them. Their relationship can be described as being picture perfect. After the death of his wife, he becomes heartbroken. He lost the love of his life.

Knowing just how John feels about being lonely, Dan decides to adopt John and asks him to move with him to an apartment where he teaches so they can at least stay together through the devastation. Dan tries everything he could to make John happy after the death of his mother. He knows no one will ever replace her, but he feels like since he became close to him while they were together he will stay loyal to his word on always being there. John Irving is a creative author who uses death to teach his characters and readers the power of faith. “The speaker in ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’ is a middle-aged virgin named John Wheelwright, who describes himself as being ‘doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice–not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God: I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.’” (“What We Thought Not God Contrives”).

Irving teaches Johnny the power of forgiveness early on in the story through him forgiving Owen for the death of his mother. Owen never meant to kill anyone, let alone his best friends mother, the only thing that it could be described as a “freak accident”. Also in the story, Irving shows the readers another theme; he uses the power of memory. With Owen lying on his death bed he faces the struggle of recollecting the past which he helps understand with his lifetime friend Johnny. “Only a day before he dies, Owen asks John to play the ‘remember game,’ and they go over the highlights of their childhood together. (Shmoop). The meaning of Irvings use of memory is that through life people are faced with things we wish we could forget. For Johnny the loss of his mother was life-changing. For Owen, he had no regrets in life due to the fact he believed everything happens for a reason. “Your memory is a monster; you forget—it doesn’t. It simply files things away.

It keeps things for you, or hides things from you—and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory, but it has you!” (Irving pg 345). Through Owen, Irving shows readers that life can have many obstacles that can be overcome with the power of faith. The story was made to show readers what the power of faith can make someone overcome. John Irving describes certain objects or people as symbols with meaning. For instance, Owen was used as a symbol to represent the power of faith.

Owen believed he was put into Johns life to save it in many ways. Owen had what he called “dreams” that in which is where he saw John die in service. He told John his dream and convinced John not to go into the service and he strongly believes that he saved his life. John Irving created the novel “A Prayer for Owen Meany”. He created the book to express through his theme with a strong religious belief and help persuade his readers into believing everything happens for a reason. He uses Owen as a symbol to show readers the power of forgiveness. Irving shows his readers how a life, such as Johnny, can be saved by a faithful character.

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What Is Prayer for Owen Meaney About. (2022, Jan 28). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/what-is-prayer-for-owen-meaney-about-essay

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