Owen Meany Religion

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John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, follows the unlikely companionship between two boys, John Wheelwright and Paul Owen Meany, as they grow up and come of age. John and Owen deal with a great amount of pressing life circumstances and matters at a very young age together, which aids to the strong bond between them. This bond connects the two through high school and into adulthood where they encounter newfound political awareness, the draft, and ultimately, the Vietnam War. Regardless of the situation, it becomes inherently clear how substantial a role religion plays in this novel through the lives of the characters and the inventiveness of the author. While Irving incorporates the impact of cultural events on the lives of John and Owen,…show more content…
I AM GOD’S INSTRUMENT,” (Irving 87). Very early on in the plot, John tells of how the original Reverend John Wheelwright purchased the land to found Gravesend from an Indian sagamore, Watahantowet, who signed the deed of the transaction with the totem of an armless man (Irving 7-8). While not directly connected to Owen when mentioned, the story of Watahantowet does act as a connection that aids in cohesively explaining the other times this symbol occurs. The second occurrence of this symbol is when a foul ball Owen hit during one little league game kills John’s mother, Tabitha, and John lends Owen his beloved taxidermy armadillo as a peace offering and sign of forgiveness (Irving 84). Later, when Owen returns the armadillo without its arms, Dan, John’s stepfather, helps John realize that by killing Tabitha, Owen feels he has lost a part of himself when he hit the fatal foul ball (Irving 85-86). Additionally, Owen kept Tabitha’s dress form after her death (Irving 142). Irving employs the symbol again at the time of Owen’s expulsion when he places the armless statue of Mary Magdalene on the Great Hall stage (Irving 402). The final presentation of the lack of hands symbol is during the death of Owen Meany. Owen loses his arms when he saves the group of nuns and Vietnamese orphans from dying from a grenade explosion (Irving

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