© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany


by John Irving

A Prayer for Owen Meany Fate and Free Will Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

Squeezing a hailstone the size of a marble in my hand, feeling it melt in my palm, I was also surprised by its hardness; it was as hard as a baseball. (3.206)

Again, we get this spooky sense that Tabby's death isn't necessarily an accident. Johnny holds a hailstone in his hand, much like the one that just hit his mom on the head, and likens it to a baseball. To us, the similarity is a little too close for comfort.

Quote #5

I don't remember seeing Buzzy Thurston at my mother's funeral. He should have been there. After Harry Hoyt walked, Buzzy Thurston should have been the last out. He hit such an easy grounder—it was as sure an out as I've ever seen—but somehow the shortstop bobbled the ball. Buzzy Thurston reached base on an error. Who was that shortstop? He should have been in Hurd's Church, too. (3.213)

John's memory of the baseball game shows us how a lot of careless mistakes and strange errors paved the way for Owen to step up to the plate. Doesn't it seem a little weird that the shortstop messed up on such an easy hit? We're getting the shivers here, as John would say.

Quote #6

All those same crones of my grandmother were there. I know what they came to see. How does royalty react to this? How will Harriet Wheelwright respond to Fate with a capital F—to a Freak Accident (with a capital F, too), or to an Act of God (if that's what you believe it was)? All those same crones, as black and hunchbacked as crows gathered around some road kill—they came to the service as if to say: We acknowledge, O God, that Tabby Wheelwright was not allowed to get off scot-free. (3.214)

John gets the vibe that some members of the community see Tabby's death as her punishment for her "sin" of having Johnny out of wedlock.  To them, it wasn't necessarily an accident; it was fate.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...