From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
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

A Prayer for Owen Meany Theme of Friendship

Owen and John are quite a duo, aren't they? John seems so normal, and Owen seems so, well, strange, and yet they complement one another so well. Their friendship is central to A Prayer for Owen Meany. They are such good friends that they can both get over the fact that Owen is responsible for the death of John's mother. Of course, without their friendship, we wouldn't have much of a story, but that seems to be beside the point. Owen and John are truly invested in one another. Owen helps John figure out his identity, and he also saves his life by keeping him out of Vietnam. John, likewise, plays a key role in helping Owen to fulfill his destiny. These two are there for each other through thick and thin.

Questions About Friendship

  1. Why do you think Owen and John are able to keep Tabby's death from harming their friendship? Would you be able to do the same thing if you were in John shoes?
  2. We encounter a lot of other kids in the novel, but John and Owen don't seem to have any other friends besides one another. Why do you think that is the case?
  3. Is John more protective of Owen, or is Owen more protective of John? Justify your answer.
  4. How is the friendship between Lydia and Harriet similar to the relationship between Owen and John? How is it different?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Owen is in charge of his friendship with Johnny.

Johnny and the Wheelwrights protect Owen.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...