A Prayer for Owen Meany

The antagonist in the novel, Dick Jarvits is a deeply troubled teenage boy whose older brother, Frank, was killed in Vietnam. Dick is obsessed with war and killing, and he often arms himself with lethal weaponry that his brother smuggled home from Vietnam and loiters menacingly around the airport. Although the airport security guards usually confiscate his weapons, they always return the weapons to him at the end of the day. One day, when a group of nuns and Vietnamese children are disembarking from a plane, Dick finally makes his move, throwing a grenade into the bathroom where the children have stopped off at. Just like in his dream, Owen Meany catches the grenade and does his long-practiced “slam-dunk” move with John to get the grenade as far from the children as possible. Owen dies in the explosion, and Major Rawls kills Dick, but everyone else is safe.

Dick Jarvits Quotes in A Prayer for Owen Meany

The A Prayer for Owen Meany quotes below are all either spoken by Dick Jarvits or refer to Dick Jarvits. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fate and Predestination Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Collins edition of A Prayer for Owen Meany published in 1989.
Chapter 9 Quotes

“THAT IS WHERE THIS COUNTRY IS HEADED—IT IS HEADED TOWARD OVERSIMPLIFICATION. YOU WANT TO SEE A PRESIDENT OF THE FUTURE? TURN ON ANY TELEVISION ON ANY SUNDAY MORNING—FIND ONE OF THOSE HOLY ROLLERS: THAT’S HIM, THAT’S THE NEW MISTER PRESIDENT! AND DO YOU WANT TO SEE THE FUTURE OF ALL THOSE KIDS WHO ARE GOING TO FALL IN THE CRACKS OF THIS GREAT, BIG, SLOPPY SOCIETY OF OURS? I JUST MET HIM; HE’S A TALL, SKINNY, FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD BOY NAMED ‘DICK.’ HE’S PRETTY SCARY. WHAT’S WRONG WITH HIM IS NOT UNLIKE WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE TV EVANGELIST—OUR FUTURE PRESIDENT. WHAT’S WRONG WITH BOTH OF THEM IS THAT THEY’RE SO SURE THEY’RE RIGHT! THAT’S PRETTY SCARY.”

Related Characters: Owen Meany (speaker), Dick Jarvits
Page Number: 613-614
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other A Prayer for Owen Meany quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire A Prayer for Owen Meany LitChart as a printable PDF.
A prayer for owen meany.pdf.medium

Dick Jarvits Character Timeline in A Prayer for Owen Meany

The timeline below shows where the character Dick Jarvits appears in A Prayer for Owen Meany. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9: The Shot
Powerlessness Theme Icon
...his name is, so he can speak to him. She tells Owen his name is Dick. Rawls tells Owen that the police at the airport never take their eyes off this... (full context)
Christianity and Faith Theme Icon
Powerlessness Theme Icon
Rawls tells Dick he had better not bring the rifle or the grenades to the airport. He’s not... (full context)
Fate and Predestination Theme Icon
Christianity and Faith Theme Icon
Powerlessness Theme Icon
...day, Owen writes in his diary about his fear for the future of kids like Dick who never learned real morality, who only know a simplistic, antagonistic mindset: “THEY’RE SO SURE... (full context)
Fate and Predestination Theme Icon
Christianity and Faith Theme Icon
Powerlessness Theme Icon
...children stop crying, captivated by the sight of a soldier nearly their size. They pass Dick Jarvits on the way to the restroom. The children use the unfamiliar bathroom, chattering to... (full context)
Fate and Predestination Theme Icon
Christianity and Faith Theme Icon
Powerlessness Theme Icon
Dick kicks in the door, holding a grenade. A boy screams and the others begin to... (full context)
Fate and Predestination Theme Icon
Christianity and Faith Theme Icon
Powerlessness Theme Icon
A nun who was waiting outside the bathroom ran to get Rawls, who caught Dick running away from the men’s room. Dick draws his bayonet, but Rawls grabs Dick’s machete... (full context)