A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving
A Prayer for Owen Meany Friendship Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
My mother stopped the car and hugged him, and kissed him, and told him he was always welcome to come with us, anywhere we went; and I rather awkwardly put my arm around him, and we just sat that way in the car, until he had composed himself sufficiently for his return to 80 Front Street, where he marched in the back door, past Lydia's room and the maids fussing in the kitchen, up the back stairs past the maids' rooms, to my room and my bathroom, where he closed himself in and drew a deep bath. He handed me his sodden clothes, and I brought the clothes to the maids, who began their work on them. (2.423)
It's kind of nice to know you have a good friend who is supportive of you all the time, even when you pee all over yourself.
Dan understood that I loved Owen, and that I wanted to talk with him—most of all—but that it was a conversation, for both Owen's sake and mine, that was best to delay. But before we finished loading the baseball cards in the car, Dan Needham asked me, "What are you giving him?"
"What?" I said.
"To show him that you love him," Dan Needham said. "That's what he was showing you. What have you got to give him?" (2.447-449)
John and Owen's exchange of gifts might seem like a trivial or overly sentimental scene in the novel, but it is a key moment in their friendship. Owen has just killed John's mother without meaning to. Rather than expressing his regret in words, Owen does it through actions: he gives John his baseball card collection, his most prized possession. What's striking here is that most of us would have an impossible time trying to forgive Owen – we mean, could you look at your best friend the same way if he or she killed your mother? This moment is a testament to the strength of the bond between these two friends.
"The main thing is, Johnny," Dan Needham said, "you have to show Owen that you love him enough to trust anything with him—to not care if you do or don't get it back. It's got to be something he knows you want back. That's what makes it special." (2.451)
Dan's friendship and guidance is a key force in helping John and Owen to keep their friendship intact. Dan shows John how he has to be able to make certain sacrifices in order to show his best friend how much he loves him – even if it means giving up his stuffed armadillo.