A Prayer for Owen Meany novel

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  • Topic: Jesus, Phillips Exeter Academy, Religion
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  • Published : April 7, 2013
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Pre-AP English 10
Critique Essay
A Prayer for Owen Meany
In the novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany, the book portrays an unusual image with armlessness. Many objects throughout the writing have no arms. For example, the Watahantowet’s armless totem, the armless dressmaker’s dummy that belonged to John’s mother, the declawed armadillo, the armless statue of Mary Magdalene, and when Owen himself, loses his arms in the airport bathroom just before his death. God has taken every one of the arms and used them as His “instruments.” This illustration of armlessness represents losing a loved one or something of valuable possession. Armlessness was a reoccurring motif throughout the story. Irving seems to symbolize the theme as helplessness. Although there are many examples of armlessness, there are a few that include arms. After Owen had taken the arms off of the Mary Magdalene statue he had attached them to the wire sockets in the dressmaker’s dummy. This could represent the outstretched pose of Christ’s crucifixion.

The idea that the armlessness things were symbolic as God’s “instruments” was part of Owen Meany’s belief. Owen’s faith guided his life by how he lived. He knows that everything that occurs happens for a reason, and that there is no such thing as coincidence. Owen is religious through the entire course of the novel. He is told from age eleven that he was a virgin birth. This strengthens his belief in God. Owen shared his faith with John Wheelwright. Unlike Owen, John does not seem to know much about how strong his faith really is. John tends to even doubt is God even exists. Owen gave an example to explain what faith was. John and Owen were outside playing basketball and it was dark. Owen refers to a nearby statue that they could no longer see because of the darkness. Owen questioned John if he absolutely knew that the statue was there even though they couldn’t see it. Owen explained that’s how faith worked. Even though you can’t see God doesn’t mean...
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