Last Updated 10 Jan 2022

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Category Novel
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This book makes good use of the way by which John Irving expresses his imaginative ideas with the use of his solid and humorous style.  The book manages to keep the reader’s attention focused on the story because of the clear writing style that Irving employs.

The way that John Irving narrates this story however is the main reason that it is a very good book.

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The method by which this novel is narrated is my favorite aspect of it. Three significant stories interlock in this narrative: John and Owen's childhood, their adult life and John's life after Owen's death. (“A Prayer for Owen Meany,” Analytical Overview)

The novel is told from the first person point of view, that of John’s. His narrative seems like he is rambling which is very characteristic of writing coming from streams of consciousness. We see the world through his eyes, which explains why the narrative keeps on skipping from scene to scene. (“A Prayer for Owen Meany: Analytical Overview”)

The novel is written like a memoir, which indicates that most of John’s experiences were based or, more like, parallel with historical events such as the assassination of President Kennedy and the scandal of Iran-Contra. John’s views about these events sometimes overshadow his recollection of his childhood memories and his views about religion. (“A Prayer for Owen Meany: Analytical Overview”)

The book’s study on John’s psychological confusion is difficult to understand. As it is told from his point of view, he constantly tries to shift the attention away from him and to the other characters and events that transpired throughout the story.

His own feelings over the loss of Owen Meany shows how much damaged and torn his character truly is that his constant recollection and narration of the past reveals his desire to relive them, or perhaps his failure to live in the present. (“A Prayer for Owen Meany: Analytical Overview”)


 “A Prayer for Owen Meany: Analytical Overview.” November 7, 2006.


“Plot as Repetition: John Irving's Narrative Experiments.” November 7, 2006. <>


A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving essay

Related Questions

on A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

What makes the first sentence of a prayer for Owen Meany good?

“What makes the first sentence of A Prayer for Owen Meany such a good one is that the whole novel is contained in it.” 2. John Irving based Owen Meany on a childhood friend.

What research did John Irving do before writing a prayer for Owen?

John Irving did his research before writing A Prayer for Owen Meany. In an interview with Powells, Irving said he looked into both the quarry business and being a body escort to write Owen Meany. “I feel I have to be the dutiful journalist,” he said. “I have to put myself in the hands of someone whose life that is and learn it.

Who is Hester in a prayer for Owen Meany?

Hester in A Prayer for Owen Meany is similar to another of Irving’s characters. If Johnny’s abrasive cousin Hester in Owen Meany sounds familiar, it might be because you’ve read Irving’s 1985 novel The Cider House Rules. “Certain minor characters repeat themselves,” Irving told Readers Read in 2005.

What is the plot of John Wheelwright and Owen Meany?

Published in 1989, it tells the story of John Wheelwright and his best friend Owen Meany growing up together in a small New Hampshire town during the 1950s and 1960s. According to John's narration, Owen is a remarkable boy in many ways; he believes himself to be God's instrument and sets out to fulfill the fate he has prophesied for himself.

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