Presentation on theme: "A prayer for owen meany Book by: John Irving. Date: 1989 Cultural perspective: John’s critical views on the Vietnam War, American politics, and the 1960’s."— Presentation transcript:
Date: 1989 Cultural perspective: John’s critical views on the Vietnam War, American politics, and the 1960’s. Opposing forces in the conflict: Faith vs. Doubt. Fate. John struggles with his faith throughout the whole novel. He also struggles with Owen’s concept of his fate as predestined. Important places: Gravesend, New Hampshire, Toronto, and Phoenix, Arizona Symbols: Owen as Jesus. Speaks in ALL CAPS. Was Jesus in the Christmas pageant. Armlessness represents powerlessness and helplessness Watahantowet The dressmaker’s dummy “GOD HAS TAKEN YOUR MOTHER. MY HANDS WERE THE INSTRUMENT. GOD HAS TAKEN MY HANDS. I AM GOD'S INSTRUMENT.”
Conflict with self – John vs. his faith. Throughout the novel John struggles with his doubts about God. Only as a result of Owen’s death does John gain any belief, but as time passes John loses what little faith he had. Conflict with society – John vs. American politics. The adult John often complains bitterly about American politics. “Are masses of young Americans outraged at the Reagan administration’s shoddy and deceitful behavior? Ho hum; not hardly.” Conflict with nature – n/a Setting influence anyone? Owen is somewhat influenced by the setting in that because he has never left his hometown is likes things that are exotic. “Owen is not worldly. Why does he think he’d be so happy at Sawyer Depot? Because he’s never been there.” Anyone under an illusion? Owen is under the illusion that he is a virgin birth. This illusion drives him to believe that he is an “instrument of God”.
Anyone make an important mistake? In a way Mr. Chickerin makes a mistake by sending Owen to bat for John, but it’s not technically a mistake because it was fated to happen. Anyone change? Reverend Merrill changes. At the end of the novel the Reverend regains his faith because of the ‘miracle’ of seeing Tabitha. This miracle erases all of the Mr. Merrill’s doubts. Is there a villain? n/a Anyone idealistic? Owen is idealistic about his fate and his notion that he is Christ-like. Is friendship important? Yes, Owen and John’s friendship is central to the book. John says early on in the book, that Owen gave him more than he ever took from him, even though Owen killed his mother. Owen influences all of John’s actions.
Is the narrator important? The narrator, John, plays an auxiliary role to Owen. He is important but not as much as Owen. Since John’s whole life seems to revolve around Owen so it hard for him to be important on his own. Are family relationships important? John’s relationship with Dan is important, Dan is John’s father figure. Owen loves Tabitha like a mother. Some human value asserted: faith and forgiveness. Anyone lost or alienated? Hester feels alienated from her family and later rebels against them. Cultures at odds? n/a Do the above items suggest any parallels or contrasts with other works we have read? Owen’s definite faith and direct action contrast with Hamlet’s inability to act.
Tone: Nostalgic (when John talks about Owen.), Critical ( when John talks about America.), and Longing (when John reflects on Owen.) Diction: Rambling, expansive narrative (Sparknotes, Analytical Overview.) Written in stages. Genre: Fiction Irony: “The irony is that, with all the miracles the reverend has witnessed (Owen's life and death, Owen's visitation when he reveals the baseball in his desk drawer, the divine--he believes-- intervention that caused Tabby's death), the reverend has lost his faith; the only thing that can make him believe again is a very mortal prank played by John” (Sparknotes, Chapter 9.)
Works Cited "A Prayer for Owen Meany Study Guide by John Irving: Critical Overview Study Guide." BookRags.com: Book Summaries, Study Guides. 04 May 2009. "A Prayer for Owen Meany (Style): Information from Answers.com." Answers.com - Online Dictionary, Encyclopedia and much more. 04 May 2009. "SparkNotes: A Prayer for Owen Meany: Chapter 9: The Shot." SparkNotes: Today's Most Popular Study Guides. 05 May 2009. "SparkNotes: A Prayer for Owen Meany: Analytical Overview." SparkNotes: Today's Most Popular Study Guides. 05 May 2009.