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Character Role Analysis

Owen Meany

We were really tempted to identify John Wheelwright as the protagonist of A Prayer for Owen Meany – in fact, you could probably argue the point both ways since we spend so much time with John. It's sort of like how, in The Great Gatsby, we spend more time with the narrator, Nick Carraway, but the novel is really about Jay Gatsby (check out our guide on The Great Gatsby for more). In the end though, we're going to make the call that Owen is really the protagonist of this novel. John tells us Owen's story from beginning to end. It's because of Owen that anything even really happens to the other characters. Owen is like the conductor of some big, crazy orchestra. He's at the center of everything, and he's not only the most memorable character of this novel – he's also one of the most memorable characters we've ever encountered in any novel.