I spotted a copy of A Prayer For Owen Meany, and since I’d seen lot’s of recommendations for it here, I decided to give it a read. My questions are:
- Why was Owen so upset with his parents’ attendance of the pageant?
I realize they had suffered an unspeakable outrage by not being believed about Owen’s virgin birth, but I still don’t understand why he wouldn’t want his parents to see him in the pageant. I think he didn’t find out about the virgin birth until the night after the A Christmas Carol performance, but why would he be so angry with them, as if they were blasphemers in his mind, too, whether he knew at that point or not? He didn’t know and felt they were hypocrites (missing baby Jesus from nativity scene in their home)?
- Why did Owen want John to move to Canada?
It was John’s bitterness that caused him to withdraw. Being away from loved ones IMHO is probably not the healthiest thing for someone living in the past and embittered. He seems to be in a worsened condition with his obsession with American politics. I understand why he went, just not why Owen would suggest it. Owen felt Americans were’t paying attention to what was important, but knew John was always going to be a Joseph, so I don’t get it.
- What is the significance of the sexual references in the story?
I realize John said he was still a virgin because he felt what happened to Owen had neutered him. The other “good” characters’ sex lives also seem pretty ambiguous. Not much of a deal is made out of Tabby’s sexual relationship with a married man, Dan never remarries (or even dates again?), Owen says sex makes people crazy and we never really know if he slept with Hester or not. OTOH, Mrs. Wiggin is portrayed as less than wonderful and she gives Owen an erection at the height of her negativeness. Owen loses some of his faith in politics with the realization that JFK was sleeping with Marilyn, and Mrs. Lish uses “sex as a weapon.”
I came away from this thinking sex is bad but human, and it is one of the things which separates us from the divine. I’m a bit disappointed if that was the message, not because I disagree, but because it seems to make the characters more black and white. I thought the book was great overall, worth the read and realize there’s more than one message in the book. In case anyone is wondering, this is not a homework assignment.