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A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany

by John Irving

Principles Theme

You've probably figured out by now that Owen has a lot of big ideas, and he is very firm in his beliefs in what is right and what is wrong. Even as a young boy, he tries to instruct others on how to do the right thing. In A Prayer for Owen Meany, we see him assert his principles the most directly, though, when he starts writing his column for The Grave under the pseudonym "The Voice." There is no issue too big or too small: he lets his views be known on topics ranging from school dance etiquette to President Kennedy to Catholicism to the food in the school cafeteria.

Questions About Principles

  1. What are some principles that John seems to adhere to in his daily life?
  2. When Owen writes as The Voice, do you think that his opinions come from an already-established set of principles, or do you think he establishes some opinions merely as a way to contradict the school administration? Justify your choice.
  3. What are some principles that Dan employs to guide Johnny's behavior?
  4. How does Owen seem to use principles as a defense mechanism when he feels vulnerable?

Chew on This

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

In A Prayer for Owen Meany, Owen seems to gain a set of principles as he goes along.

In A Prayer for Owen Meany, a small set of firmly-established principles guides Owen's behavior throughout his life.

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