A Prayer for Owen Meany

John Wheelwright’s female cousin, who is younger than her two brothers, Noah and Simon Eastman, but one year older than John. Being younger and smaller than her brothers, she can never beat them in their endless athletic competitions. They make fun of her for being a girl and generally make her feel inferior. Hester’s parents, Alfred and Martha Eastman, also treat her as inferior to her brothers when they won’t let her attend a private high school or a university like the boys do. She takes her revenge on her family for their sexist attitudes by flouting every rule of female modesty and chastity they expect of her, and sleeping freely with whomever she pleases—including most of her brothers’ friends. She later becomes involved with Owen Meany for the last several years of his life. After he willingly martyrs himself and dies, she refuses to attend his funeral in protest of his choice, but grieves him for the rest of her life, believing that Owen was truly her soulmate. In his memory, she becomes a famous anti-war rock star, and never seriously dates again.

Hester Eastman Quotes in A Prayer for Owen Meany

The A Prayer for Owen Meany quotes below are all either spoken by Hester Eastman or refer to Hester Eastman. 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:
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). 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 2 Quotes

I think [Hester] was up against a stacked deck from the start, and that everything she would become began for her when Noah and Simon made me kiss her—because they made it clear that kissing Hester was punishment, the penalty part of the game; to have to kiss Hester meant you had lost.

Related Characters: John Wheelwright (speaker), Hester Eastman, Noah Eastman, Simon Eastman
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
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Hester Eastman Character Timeline in A Prayer for Owen Meany

The timeline below shows where the character Hester Eastman appears in A Prayer for Owen Meany. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: The Armadillo
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...visits with his cousins up north, in the rural country. His cousins Noah, Simon, and Hester Eastman, all older than him, were daredevils and wildly competitive. He always lost their violent... (full context)
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John’s cousin Hester was more drawn to her father’s robust role model, and disdained the constraints of womanhood.... (full context)
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John now sees the societal forces at work in Hester’s later sexual rebellion, observing that she must have been affected by being constantly told that... (full context)
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...the oldest, Simon is next, but no smaller or less wild than his brother, and Hester is the youngest, “PRETTY, BUT NOT THAT PRETTY.” She has the same masculine traits that... (full context)
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...red from his bitterly cold bike ride down the hill. He looks so inhuman that Hester screams, startling Owen into screaming back at her in his singular, high-pitched voice. (full context)
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...want Owen to catch cold outside, so they decide to play a game indoors where Hester hides inside a dark closet and someone has to find her. Simon goes inside, and... (full context)
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...the others gets to hide him around the house and the others search for him. Hester goes first, and they search everywhere for Owen until giving up. He never tells where... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Angel
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...only two bathrooms in the house open to the reception, and the boys bragged to Hester that they could pee in the bushes. Hester asked them to stand guard so she... (full context)
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Owen playfully refused to give Hester her panties back for the rest of the party. She was mildly angry, with a... (full context)
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...John’s cousins are subdued. Harriet is stoic, and Martha is overwhelmed by grief and disbelief. Hester offers to take a walk with John, alone. She holds John’s hand as they walk... (full context)
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John and Hester walk into the cemetery to find Owen praying over Tabitha’s grave. When John calls his... (full context)
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...dummy with him, since Dan, John, and Harriet shouldn’t have it around to look at. Hester points out that he really shouldn’t be looking at it, either, but Owen ignores her.... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Voice 
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...numbing routine of Gravesend Academy to wear them down. They are less worried about civilizing Hester. (full context)
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While the boys all prepare to go to the academy, Hester has only the public high school to look forward to. She becomes angry that her... (full context)
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...in 1954, the Eastmans come to Gravesend and see Harriet’s television. Simon likes everything, and Hester hates everything. Noah is in his first year at the academy, and is feeling overwhelmed... (full context)
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...juniors at the academy—Noah having been held back a year. At Sawyer Depot High School, Hester skipped a grade to end up in the same graduating year as her brothers. John... (full context)
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Hester is determined to scandalize her family to punish them for denying her the same freedoms... (full context)
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That spring, Owen dares to invite Hester to the senior ball as a freshman. He had sent her every issue of The... (full context)
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Other boys brag about their sexual escapades, but Owen does not. Noah and Simon assume Hester had slept with him—“Hester fucks everybody!” Simon claims—but the couple never say how they spend... (full context)
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...gives tours of the school while Owen returns to the quarries. Owen doesn’t talk about Hester, but he is able to score some dates for him and John. They are able... (full context)
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...them up to Sawyer Depot. John thinks Martha doesn’t want to encourage Owen’s relationship with Hester—that’s what Hester says, at least, but John also thinks she could be making it up... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Dream 
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...Scholarship before he even applies, but he won’t go there unless it’s to be with Hester and John. John won’t ask Owen to turn down an Ivy League school for him,... (full context)
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...1961, when just over three thousand U.S. military personnel were stationed in Vietnam. That night, Hester threw up in the rose garden outside from too much rum and Coke. By the... (full context)
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...about his biological father. John and Owen have this discussion on New Year’s Eve, at Hester’s apartment in Durham. It’s only two o’clock in the afternoon and Hester is already passed... (full context)
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...gym and practice their basketball shot, but John doesn’t want to. He asks Owen why Hester drinks so much, and Owen says Hester is “AHEAD OF HER TIME”—he believes, without knowing... (full context)
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...Persian Gulf, too, if they’re not already. The phenomenon is as familiar to John as Hester’s inevitable bouts of puking on New Year’s Eve. She puked in 1963, when there were... (full context)
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Larry’s mother, Mitzy Lish, was an attractive older woman—sexier than Hester, even, whose “early-blooming eroticism” was diluted by her carelessness and heavy drinking. Mitzy spent her... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Finger 
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...of giving tours of the academy after what the school did to Owen. Owen and Hester lived together in her apartment. (full context)
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...the best father a boy could have.” He and Noah and Simon still talk about Hester, and Alfred and Martha still believe she will come home for Christmas someday. But they... (full context)
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Owen shared Hester’s sense of unfairness and injustice. He believed that God had designated him for a special... (full context)
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...among his classmates’ identical new Volkswagen Beetles. He and John become friends with all of Hester’s friends, which leaves them friendless when Hester graduates. In October, the Cuban Missile Crisis unfolds,... (full context)
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A guy who wants to date Hester asks Owen how he knows there isn’t going to be a war, and Owen says... (full context)
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...untimely deaths of the chosen and the golden.” Bobby Kennedy’s assassination follows five years later. Hester says, “Television gives good disaster.” Owen goes to see Rev. Merrill more after Kennedy’s death.... (full context)
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...statue is rising from the grave. Owen says Father Findley is pleased by it, while Hester thinks it’s disturbing—she’s fed up with Owen’s preoccupation with death. John prefers the new statue... (full context)
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Hester is having a tough year, as a college grad still living in her college apartment... (full context)
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...was formed in Canada. They were not very radical compared to protesters in America, including Hester, who rioted, getting herself arrested and her nose broken. Most of the American deserters in... (full context)
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...having it so much easier than Owen and the soldiers who actually fought and died. Hester was big on protests and hippie culture—she had the grungy folk singer look and a... (full context)
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...the start of their senior year, protests against U.S. policy in Vietnam were getting underway. Hester must have attended about half the protests across the country, John says. He’s typically undecided—he... (full context)
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While Owen and John argue, Hester is cooking dinner, which John says is always carelessly prepared and unappetizing. Before Owen can... (full context)
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...someplace with palm trees because of the war. But Owen doesn’t budge an inch. When Hester comes out of the bathroom, she tries to beat sense into Owen, putting him in... (full context)
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...so Owen says that John accidentally hurt him while roughhousing, unwilling to tell Harriet that Hester attacked him. (full context)
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...heard of him. He spent so much time making secret calls on the phone that Hester thought he must be cheating on her. (full context)
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...to go anywhere so far. They walk to visit Tabitha’s grave. When they get back, Hester is asleep on the couch. She kisses Owen softly and apologizes for giving him stitches.... (full context)
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...party before Owen reports to his training for the administrative branch. Owen makes John and Hester stand in a circle with him, holding hands, and tells them, “DON’T BE AFRAID.” In... (full context)
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John starts grad school, and moves into Hester’s apartment when her last roommate moves out. She seems to know a lot of guys,... (full context)
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Owen comes home for Christmas and he tells John and Hester about his work. He and John practice the basketball shot. Owen, John, and Hester discuss... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Shot
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...was practically no irony in those days—everyone was so self-righteous, even in their muddled thinking. Hester failed as a folksinger and songwriter because no one appreciated her irony. When she was... (full context)
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John’s students are impressed that he’s related to Hester, and they always ask him for tickets to her Toronto shows. He goes with them... (full context)
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Hester has stayed virginal to the memory of Owen Meany—he was the love of her life,... (full context)
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John thinks Owen would have scoffed at Hester’s music videos. Hester wears lots of crucifixes—she likes them or she likes to mock them.... (full context)
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One day in the present August vacation, John lies down on the couch where Hester once laid down while John, Noah and Simon searched the house for Owen. He finds... (full context)
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At the end of the summer of 1967, Hester tells Owen she won’t go to his funeral. She says she’ll do anything—get married, move... (full context)
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Hester and John attend an anti-war march in Washington fifty-thousand people strong. She questions why Owen... (full context)
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Owen didn’t see much of Hester that Christmas. Her refusal to attend his funeral seemed to have hurt him. She became... (full context)
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John watches the sun rise over the harbor, and then returns to Hester’s apartment to shower and dress for Owen’s funeral. He hasn’t seen Hester since they watched... (full context)
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...them, with Alfred, Martha, and Simon. Noah is still abroad with the Peace Corps and Hester is nowhere to be found. Harold Crosby is sitting across the aisle from John. John... (full context)
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...Owen’s own. One highlight is when a rock-music journalist stopped him for an interview about Hester’s early years. John tells him to look up Owen Meany if he wants to know... (full context)
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...to plan—he’s not even teaching in the fall—he feels worthless. He watches the fireworks with Hester later, and she says she won’t marry or start a family with anyone if she... (full context)