A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving
A Prayer for Owen Meany Principles Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO REFER TO ME AS 'LITTLE,' AS 'DIMINUTIVE,' AS 'MINIATURE'?" Owen raved. "THEY DON'T MAKE SUCH QUALIFYING REMARKS ABOUT THE OTHER ACTORS!"
"You forgot 'Tiny Tim-sized,'" I told him.
"I KNOW, I KNOW," he said. "DO THEY SAY, 'FORMER DOG-OWNER FISH' IS A SUPERB SCROOGE? DO THEY SAY, 'VICIOUS SUNDAY-SCHOOL TYRANT WALKER' MAKES CHARMING MOTHER FOR TINY TIM?" (5.6-8)
It really bugs Owen that the review of his acting pays so much attention to his physical size. Sure, his stature is one of his most noticeable characteristics, but it doesn't really have anything to do with his acting – and also, the review doesn't say anything about the other actors' personal characteristics!
"ARE YOU TELLING ME CHRIST WAS LUCKY?" Owen asked her. "I WOULD SAY HE COULD HAVE USED A LITTLE MORE LUCK THAN HE HAD. I WOULD SAY HE RAN OUT OF LUCK, AT THE END."
"But Owen," Rector Wiggin said. "He was crucified, yet he rose from the dead—he was resurrected. Isn't the point that he was saved?"
"HE WAS USED," said Owen Meany, who was in a contrary mood. (5.112-114)
Owen provides a different perspective on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. If you look at him like just any other ordinary guy, Owen seems to be saying, he wasn't lucky; he was used.
Or we would drive to Rye Harbor and sit on the breakwater, and watch the small boats slapping on the ruffled, pondlike surface; the breakwater itself had been built with the slag—the broken slabs—from the Meany Granite Quarry.
"THEREFORE, I HAVE A RIGHT TO SIT HERE," Owen always said; no one, of course, ever challenged our being there. (6.181-182)
Here, Owen invokes a principle of ownership: if the slabs of granite that make up the breakwater once belonged to Owen's family, then somehow they still do. Even if nobody ever tells him not to sit there, he seems to think it's important to assert his right to be there.