A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving
A Prayer for Owen Meany Friendship Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
It was Owen Meany who kept me out of Vietnam—a trick that only Owen could have managed.
"JUST THINK OF THIS AS MY LITTLE GIFT TO YOU"—that was how he put it.
It makes me ashamed to remember that I was angry with him for taking my armadillo's claws. God knows, Owen gave me more than he ever took from me—even when you consider that he took my mother. (2.509-511)
There are many things for which John could be angry with Owen. Still, that's part of friendship – people are imperfect and do things to hurt one another without meaning to. But friends can also do amazing things for one another. In this case, Owen keeps John out of Vietnam. We don't know what would have happened to John if he had gone into the army, but perhaps Owen indirectly saves John's life by cutting off his trigger finger.
It is amazing to me, now, how such wild imaginings and philosophies—inspired by a night charged with frights and calamities—made such perfectly good sense to Owen Meany and me; but good friends are nothing to each other if they are not supportive. (5.380)
John and Owen have unique – and often embarrassing – worries and preoccupations. The great thing is that they have each other to voice their concerns to, no matter how weird they are.
"Was there a date on the gravestone?" I asked him. He gave himself away by hesitating.
"NO," he said.
"What was the date, Owen?" I asked him. He hesitated again.
"THERE WAS NO DATE," Owen said. I wanted to cry—not because I believed a single thing about his stupid "vision," but because it was the first time he had lied to me. (5.394-397)
This moment is incredibly moving, isn't it? On one hand, John's devastated that Owen is keeping secrets from him. On the other hand, this moment shows us how much Owen really cares about John – he isn't trying to hurt John; he's trying to protect him. Still, we can totally see where John's coming from – we'd be pretty irked if our best friends were obviously keeping secrets from us, too.