A Prayer for Owen Meany Essay

Topics: Phillips Exeter Academy, John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany Pages: 2 (771 words) Published: November 22, 2013
Adam Osherow
9/9/13
Pd. 2 AP English Lit.
A Prayer for Owen Meany Essay

In his novel A Prayer for Owen Meany, author John Irving uses a final chapter of over 100 pages to provide appropriate closure of his intricate novel. In the final chapter, Irving provides answers to large questions the rest of the novel raises. Irving answers the question “who is John Wheelwright’s father?” while also providing further information and closure, as well as the answer to “why the practicing of ‘the shot’ was so important for Owen and John.” Finally, Irving is most thorough in carrying out the closure of a main theme in the novel, Owen’s prophecy of his own exact death, how it happens, when it happens, and most importantly with whom it happens.

Since John Wheelwright was born due to “a little fling” his mother had on a train, he never knew who his real father was. As a boy he always believed his mother would tell him when he was old enough to know, but she died at an early age before she could ever tell him. The novel continues, and although John is curious, Owen is more curious, and the theme is maintained mostly through the efforts of Owen. In the final chapter, after Owen has died and John goes to the local reverend to discuss the funeral amongst other topics, John’s true father is revealed. His birth father, the Reverend Lewis Merrill himself, reveals himself to John seemingly with Owen’s voice, which tells John to look in a specific drawer to find the ball that struck John’s mother. John experiences all sorts of feelings when he finds out the truth about who his father is, most of them being rage and disappointment. The way Irving reveals Wheelwright’s father and the detail used to describe the reason’s John was never told are very thoughtful and elaborate, a very thorough closure to a very important theme of the novel. In addition to the process of revealing John Wheelwright’s birth father, the reason ‘The Shot’ was practiced so tirelessly is equally and...
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