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A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany

by John Irving

A Prayer for Owen Meany Analysis

Literary Devices in A Prayer for Owen Meany

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

At times, the images that liken Owen to Jesus kind of hit us over the head. Maybe the most obvious instance that compares Owen to Jesus is the events that take place during Christmas of 1953. Owen...

Setting

A Prayer for Owen Meany takes place in two distinct periods of John Wheelwright's life. These two periods are interwoven together, meaning that we constantly move back and forth in time. The first...

Narrator Point of View

Our narrator, John Wheelwright, is an unbelievably nice guy, but when it comes down to his narration, he is also kind of tricky. What's interesting about the way he narrates the novel is that he cr...

Genre

On one hand, A Prayer for Owen Meany is a classic coming-of-age story, albeit with more than a few unique quirks and twists. The whole novel is narrated by John as an older man, reflecting upon the...

Tone

One thing you'll notice immediately is that our narrator, John, makes himself vulnerable to us from the get-go. Even before we know what his name is, we know some pretty big details about his life:...

Writing Style

Our main man John Irving is a big fan of Charles Dickens (and heck, once you pick up a copy of Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, or David Copperfield you will be, too). We see Irving give D...

What's Up With the Title?

You'll find pretty quickly that the topic of prayer is a huge one in this novel. A Prayer for Owen Meany is all about figuring out one's personal faith. It's also about one man's sacrifice of himse...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

"Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." –The Letter of Paul to the PhilippiansOur first epigraph h...

What's Up With the Ending?

We don't know about you, but when we were reading A Prayer for Owen Meany, we couldn't believe how much attention John, our narrator, pays to every single little detail. We also puzzled over why so...

Tough-o-Meter

A Prayer for Owen Meany can be really complex at times. All of the historical references (like the Vietnam War, the assassination of JFK, and the Iran-Contra affair) and all of the pop culture and...

Plot Analysis

John wonders who his father is. Tabby marries Dan. As John starts to set the scene for us, we learn about some pretty key circumstances that help put the story in motion. As we are introduced to ou...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Owen accidentally kills Tabby and becomes convinced that he is God's Instrument.In "The Call" stage, our hero realizes that he has to make a difficult journey and gets some kind of vision of the go...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Owen accidentally kills Johnny's mom when he hits a foul ball that hits her in the head.As Owen and John grow up, Owen becomes more and more convinced that he is answering a particular call to acti...

Trivia

John Irving asked the screenwriter who adapted A Prayer for Owen Meany for film to change the title and the characters' names, because he felt the movie strayed too much from the original text and...

Steaminess Rating

Not to subscribe to stereotypes or anything, but a lot of the novel centers around John and Owen as adolescent boys, and let's face it: adolescent boys have a reputation for being fascinated with s...

Allusions

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....
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