A Prayer for Owen Meany


John Irving

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A Prayer for Owen Meany Symbols

The Baseball

When Owen hits the baseball that kills Tabitha, the fatal ball represents a loss of innocence and the different ways people grapple with that loss, especially in the context of religious faith. Owen and…

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Armless Totems

Armlessness is a complex symbol in the book, representing both helplessness and heroic sacrifice in light of God’s will. The symbol of the armless totem takes many forms throughout the book, including Chief Watahantowet’s armless…

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The Voice

Owen’s exceptional voice, made unforgettable by the ALL-CAPS formatting of his speech, symbolizes that he is chosen by God. John Irving’s special treatment of Owen’s speech in the book has been compared to the…

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Owen’s weightlessness, which forms the opening and closing motif of the book, symbolizes the way that one’s flaws or deficiencies actually can be used for good. Throughout the story, John is fixated on Owen’s…

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