A Prayer for Owen Meany

Martha Eastman Character Analysis

John Wheelwright’s aunt, Alfred Eastman’s wife, and the mother of Noah, Simon, and Hester. Martha has always been slightly envious of her younger sister, Tabitha Wheelwright, who perpetually outshines Martha with her naturally lovely voice and beautiful figure. Martha claims that Tabitha is “a little simple” because she never went to college and became pregnant with a stranger she met on the train (Rev. Lewis Merrill). Yet she loved Tabitha a great deal, and is always warm to John. John calls her “a model of womanhood,” as sweet-tempered and happily domestic as could possibly be. However, being so content with her conventional path, Martha fails to understand how other women like her sister or her daughter could prefer a less traditional life.
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Martha Eastman Character Timeline in A Prayer for Owen Meany

The timeline below shows where the character Martha Eastman appears in A Prayer for Owen Meany. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Foul Ball
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...originally lumber. John’s uncle, Alfred Eastman, was in the lumber business. He married John’s aunt, Martha. Owen Meany’s family was in the granite business. Harriet Wheelwright believed that lumber was a... (full context)
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...for her talent, so she was allowed to skip the college degree her older sister, Martha, had earned. (full context)
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...overnight for an early morning singing lesson with a teacher who normally only saw professionals. Martha disapproved of her sister’s frivolous path in life, although she was jealous of her natural... (full context)
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Although Martha and others frowned on John’s mother’s conduct, she was never bothered by their disapproval. She... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Armadillo
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...and she had them both for the last few years of her life. Tabitha’s sister, Martha, was a warm and kind woman who loved Tabitha, but never understood her. (full context)
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...to her two older brothers. Hyper-masculine Uncle Alfred was equally wild, while conventionally feminine Aunt Martha was perfectly mild. (full context)
Chapter 3: The Angel
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...playing baseball. After the funeral, the Wheelwrights and Eastmans return to Harriet’s house, where Aunt Martha and Dan each invite John to move in with them. John decides to stay with... (full context)
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At the funeral at Harriet’s house, 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.... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Voice 
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Martha and Alfred Eastman also believe in the saving graces of a private education, and they... (full context)
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...Christmas, as the Eastmans continue to not invite 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... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Finger 
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...care of their parents. Alfred has had two heart bypass operations, but he’s all right. Martha still wants to know who John’s father is, but all John confides, teasing her, is,... (full context)
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...it says. They head up to Sawyer Depot for their vacation instead of someplace tropical. Martha and Alfred are polite to Owen, but not warm. Noah is in the Peace Corps,... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Shot
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...them for coming to his funeral. Mr. Fish and Harriet sit behind them, with Alfred, Martha, and Simon. Noah is still abroad with the Peace Corps and Hester is nowhere to... (full context)