A Prayer for Owen Meany

Mary Beth Baird Character Analysis

A Sunday school classmate of John Wheelwright and Owen Meany, Mary Beth Baird is a shy, clumsy, and plain girl unexpectedly chosen by Owen to play Mary in the Christmas pageant. She subsequently falls in love with Owen and tries to smother him with unrequited, inappropriate affection during the performance. Later she becomes pregnant and drops out of high school, marrying a boy from a dairy farming family.

Mary Beth Baird Quotes in A Prayer for Owen Meany

The A Prayer for Owen Meany quotes below are all either spoken by Mary Beth Baird or refer to Mary Beth Baird. 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 1 Quotes

Owen was so tiny, we loved to pick him up; in truth, we couldn’t resist picking him up. We thought it was a miracle: how little he weighed.

Related Characters: John Wheelwright (speaker), Owen Meany, Mary Beth Baird
Related Symbols: Weightlessness
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 9 Quotes

When we held Owen Meany above our heads, when we passed him back and forth—so effortlessly—we believed that Owen weighed nothing at all. We did not realize that there were forces beyond our play. Now I know they were the forces that contributed to our illusion of Owen's weightlessness; they were the forces we didn’t have the faith to feel, they were the forces we failed to believe in—and they were also lifting up Owen Meany, taking him out of our hands.

O God—please give him back! I shall keep asking You.

Related Characters: John Wheelwright (speaker), Owen Meany, Mary Beth Baird
Related Symbols: Weightlessness
Page Number: 627
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mary Beth Baird Character Timeline in A Prayer for Owen Meany

The timeline below shows where the character Mary Beth Baird appears in A Prayer for Owen Meany. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: The Little Lord Jesus 
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Christianity and Faith Theme Icon
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...Mary, a choice he is extremely reluctant to make. Owen saves John by suggesting that Mary Beth Baird play Mary because of her name. Mary Beth is far from the prettiest—she is... (full context)
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...since he can fit in the crib. The rest of the children love this idea— Mary Beth wants to lift him up onstage like they do in class. Barb reevaluates how “cute”... (full context)
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...he will be more comfortable—and more visible. He even rearranges the order of the music. Mary Beth wants to caress Owen like a loving mother, but he refuses. (full context)
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...isn’t babylike, either. The swaddling clothes just look like bandages on some horrible burn victim. Mary Beth is still determined to perform some gesture on Owen—she suggests kissing him on the forehead,... (full context)
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When Mary Beth bows over Owen, he raises his hand over her head in a blessing. The image... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Ghost of the Future 
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...terribly jerky descent, and predictably forgets his lines in fear. Owen prompts him from below. Mary Beth kneels and lays her head heavily in Owen’s lap, overcome. (full context)
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...stage lights, a donkey faints, causing a cow to butt a shepherd off the stage. Mary Beth throws herself on top of Owen, who is not strong enough to push her off—he... (full context)
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...and Mrs. Meany. Owen tells John to get him out of there, so he and Mary Beth carry him down the center aisle and out of the church. They exit in a... (full context)
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...of the biblical account. When John goes to gather his and Owen’s clothes, he finds Mary Beth weeping on top of Owen’s things. She is distraught to think that Owen now hates... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Voice 
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...and from being in command of himself and others. Girls want to touch him, like Mary Beth all those years ago. Then he develops muscles from his hard labor in the quarries... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Shot
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...until she asks him if he remembers how they used to lift Owen up. It’s Mary Beth Baird, who got pregnant in high school and dropped out to marry the father, a... (full context)
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...saying prayers for Owen Meany,” John says. He thinks about how he would have answered Mary Beth in the cemetery, if he hadn’t been speechless with grief. When they held Owen so... (full context)