We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany

  

by John Irving

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Biblical and Religious References

  • The Bible (1.1, 3.150.)
  • The Book of Common Prayer (1.1)
  • Jeremiah 1:5 (2.454)
  • The Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians (2.458)
  • John Calvin, French theologian (3.66)
  • "Crown Him with Many Crowns" (3.235, 9.378)
  • Psalm 37 (3.335, 9.256)
  • St. Joseph (4.16)
  • The Virgin Mary (4.16)
  • Luke 23:34 (4.23)
  • Mary Magdalene (6.83)
  • Judas Iscariot (6.143)
  • Pontius Pilate (6.143)
  • St. Peter (6.143)
  • The Gospel According to Matthew (6.145)
  • Isaiah 5:20 (7.437)
  • C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (9.323)
  • John 11:25 (9.330)
  • The Gospel According to Mark (9.368)
  • The Burial of the Dead, Rite II (9.584)

Literary and Philosophical References

  • W. Somerset Maugham, The Constant Wife (3.99)
  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (4.9)
  • William Shakespeare, King Lear (4.244, 5.278)
  • Charles Dickens (4.252)
  • Dracula , a film based on the novel by Bram Stoker (5.14)
  • Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights (5.284, 9.85)
  • Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (5.284)
  • Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (5.284)
  • William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (6.177, 8.610)
  • Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles (6.299)
  • Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (6.310)
  • Jack Kerouac (6.314)
  • Allen Ginsberg (6.314)
  • Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory (6.314)
  • James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (6.314)
  • Pär Lagerkvist, Barabbas (6.314)
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (6.314)
  • Jean-Paul Sartre (6.314)
  • Albert Camus (6.314)
  • Søren Kierkegaard (6.314)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (6.395)
  • Robert Frost, "Nothing Gold can Stay" (6.427)
  • Robert Frost, " Fire and Ice " (6.427)
  • Robert Frost, " Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening " (6.427)
  • Robert Frost, " Birches " (6.427)
  • Robert Frost, "The Gift Outright" (6.473)
  • Arthur Miller, playwright (8.107)
  • Lawrence Durell, The Alexandria Quartet
  • Robertson Davies, Canadian novelist, playwright, and journalist (8.270)
  • Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., American historian and social critic (8.563)
  • Ford Madox Ford, Parade's End (8.604)
  • Thomas Hardy, "Hap" (8.739)
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge, " Rime of the Ancient Mariner " (9.73)
  • Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure (9.74)
  • Euripides, Classical Greek tragedian (9.77)
  • Euripides, The Medea (9.77)
  • Euripides, The Trojan Women (9.77)
  • Mordecai Richler, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (9.87)
  • William Shakespeare, Hamlet (9.90)
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (9.90)
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (9.114)
  • Margaret Atwood, Surfacing (9.117)
  • Günter Grass, Cat and Mouse (9.117)
  • Alice Munro (9.119)
  • Robertson Davies, Tempest-Tost (9.130)
  • Robertson Davies, Fifth Business (9.130)
  • George Orwell, Burmese Days (9.133)
  • George Orwell, Animal Farm (9.133)
  • George Orwell, 1984 (9.133)
  • Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice (9.154)
  • Selections from the Writings of St. Thomas Aquinas (9.162)
  • Robertson Davies, "The Ghost Who Vanished By Degrees" (9.258)
  • Timothy Findley, Famous Last Words (9.262)
  • Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge (9.262)
  • Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers (9.264)
  • Alice Munro, "The Moons of Jupiter" (9.268)

Musical References

  • Frederic Chopin (6.22)
  • Claude Debussy (6.22)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (6.22)
  • Johannes Brahms, "O Welt ich muss dich lassen" (6.142)
  • Frederic Handel, Messiah (9.352)

Historical References

  • John Wheelwright, Founder of Exeter, New Hampshire (1.26)
  • John Adams, second President of the United States (1.26)
  • George Meany, American labor leader (1.27)
  • Oliver Cromwell, English military and political leader (1.30)
  • Anne Hutchinson (1.31)
  • John Smith (1.43)
  • Pocahontas (1.43)
  • Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States (2.478, 6.423, 7.201)
  • John F. Kennedy (a.k.a. JFK), 35th President of the United States (2.480, 6.469, 7.269)
  • Ngo Dinh Diem, first President of South Vietnam (2.485)
  • Ngo Dinh Nhu, younger brother of and chief political advisor to Ngo Dinh Diem (2.485)
  • Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., American politician and former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam (2.487)
  • Lyndon B. Johnson (a.k.a. LBJ), 35th President of the United States (2.490)
  • General William Childs Westmoreland, commander in the Vietnam War (2.500, 7.446)
  • Robert F. Kennedy (also referred to as "RFK" and "Bobby"), civil rights activist, Senator from New York, Presidential candidate, and younger brother of JFK (2.505, 7.286, 8.175-176)
  • Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States (2.505, 5.202)
  • Lt. William Laws Calley, convicted American war criminal (2.506)
  • Abbie Hoffman, co-founder of the Youth International Party (2.507)
  • Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States (5.205)
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States (6.10)
  • Gary Hart, former Senator from Colorado and U.S. Presidential candidate (6.423)
  • King Fahd of Saudi Arabia (6.436)
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States (7.200)
  • General Chiang Kai-shek (7.200)
  • Nancy Reagan, former First Lady of the United States (7.257)
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Former First Lady of the United States (7.295, 8.175)
  • Robert McNamara, former Secretary of Defense (7.307)
  • Oliver North, U.S. Marine Corps Officer (7.446)
  • Melvin Laird, former Secretary of Defense (7.446)
  • General Creighton Abrams, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army (7.446)
  • General Maxwell Taylor (7.446)
  • General Curtis LeMay (7.446)
  • Ellsworth Bunker, former U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam (7.446)
  • Barry Goldwater, former U.S. Senator from Arizona and Presidential candidate (8.261)
  • Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (8.261)
  • Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (8.261)
  • Alexei Kosygin, former Soviet statesman (8.261)
  • Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Fifteenth Prime Minister of Canada (8.292)
  • Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States (8.609)
  • William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States (8.609)
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (9.154)
  • Senator Joseph McCarthy (9.205)
  • Hubert Humphrey (9.205)

Pop Culture References

  • Angel Street (3.25)
  • Gaslight (3.25)
  • Ingrid Bergman, Swedish actress (3.25)
  • Charles Boyer, French actor (3.25)
  • Angela Lansbury, English actress (3.29)
  • Joseph Cotten, American actor (3.30)
  • Frank Sinatra, singer (6.4)
  • Tommy Dorsey, American jazz bandleader (6.4)
  • Frank Sinatra, "I'll be Seeing You" (6.4)
  • Frank Sinatra, ""Fools Rush In" (6.4)
  • Frank Sinatra, "I Haven't Time to Be a Millionaire" (6.4)
  • Frank Sinatra, "It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow" (6.4)
  • Frank Sinatra, "All This and Heaven, Too" (6.4)
  • Frank Sinatra, "Do You Keep Your Heart?" (6.5)
  • Frank Sinatra, "Trade Winds" (6.5)
  • Frank Sinatra, "The Call of the Canyon" (6.5)
  • Frank Sinatra, "Too Romantic" (6.5)
  • Tarzan (6.12-13)
  • Liberace, American entertainer and pianist (6.23)
  • Boy George (6.25)
  • Elton John (6.25)
  • "Mack the Knife" (6.25)
  • Appointment with Danger, a 1951 film (6.50)
  • Jack Webb, an American actor (6.52)
  • Dragnet, a 1950s TV crime drama (6.52)
  • Captain Blood, a 1935 film (6.71)
  • Errol Flynn, an Australian-American actor (6.71)
  • Olivia de Havilland, American actress (6.71)
  • It Happens Every Spring, a 1949 film (6.73)
  • Treasure of the Golden Condor, a 1953 film (6.79)
  • Cornel Wilde, Actor (6.79)
  • Drum Beat, a 1954 Film (6.79)
  • Alan Ladd, American actor (6.79)
  • Audrey Dalton, actress (6.79)
  • The Robe, a 1953 film (6.80)
  • Jean Simmons, an English actress (6.80)
  • Richard Burton, an English actor (6.81)
  • Cecil B. DeMille, legendary American film director (6.93)
  • The Ten Commandments, a 1956 film (6.93)
  • Charlton Heston, an American actor (6.93, 6.196)
  • Yul Brynner, a Russian actor (6.94)
  • John Derek, actor (6.94)
  • Edward G. Robinson, actor (6.94)
  • Bette Davis, actress (6.98)
  • Dark Victory, a 1939 film (6.98)
  • George Brent, actor (6.100)
  • Humphrey Bogart, actor (6.102)
  • Fred Astaire, dancer, singer and actor (6.141)
  • Audrey Hepburn, actress (6.141)
  • Funny Face, a 1957 film (6.141)
  • Ben-Hur, a 1959 film
  • Marilyn Monroe (7.269, 8.107, 8.176)
  • Joe DiMaggio (8.107)
  • Gordon Lightfoot (8.305)
  • Neil Young (8.305)
  • Joni Mitchell (8.305)
  • Ian and Sylvia (8.305)
  • Bob Dylan (8.305)
  • Joan Baez (8.305)
  • Ian Tyson, "Four Strong Winds" (8.305)
  • Betty Grable, actress (8.497)
  • Moon over Miami, a 1941 film (8.497)
  • Carole Landis, American actress (8.502)
  • Don Ameche, American actor (8.502)
  • John Wayne, American actor (8.556)
  • Esther Williams, competitive swimmer and movie star (8.556)
  • Operation Pacific, a 1951 film (8.556)
  • Sherlock Holmes in Terror by Night, a 1946 mystery film (8.563)
  • Basil Rathbone, a British actor (8.563)
  • The Beatles (9.3)
  • Hank Bauer, Major League Baseball player (9.106)
  • The Today Show (9.110)
  • Simon and Garfunkel, "Mrs. Robinson" (9.154)
  • The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, a 1953 film (9.426)
  • Mother is a Freshman, a 1949 film (9.426)
  • Loretta Young, an American actress (9.426)
  • An American in Paris (9.426)
  • Gene Kelly, an American actor (9.426)
  • "When You Wish Upon a Star" (9.433)

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement