A Prayer for Owen Meany

Archibald Thorndike Character Analysis

The headmaster of Gravesend Academy during John Wheelwright and Owen Meany’s first two years of high school. “Thorny” is a classic “old-school” headmaster beloved by the student body. He believes in educating “the whole boy,” and values both sports and intellect highly. He respects and defends Owen, who nonetheless believes the headmaster to be a fool.
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Archibald Thorndike Character Timeline in A Prayer for Owen Meany

The timeline below shows where the character Archibald Thorndike appears in A Prayer for Owen Meany. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: The Voice 
Powerlessness Theme Icon
...little fella” and saying that he “wouldn’t miss reading The Voice—not for all the world!” “Thorny” is an old-school type who believes in “the whole boy,” and believes that well-educated men... (full context)
Fate and Predestination Theme Icon
Christianity and Faith Theme Icon
Powerlessness Theme Icon
Thorny warns Owen that he’s making enemies, and he should be careful not to give them... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Dream 
Fate and Predestination Theme Icon
Christianity and Faith Theme Icon
Powerlessness Theme Icon
...the whole spring term. The Executive Committee “crucified” Owen, according to John. He is expelled. Old Archibald Thorndike publicly condemns the decision, as well as “the Gestapo methods” of confiscating the students’ wallets.... (full context)