Discussion Questions

A Prayer for Owen Meany

  1.      Through Owen and John, what cynical criticism does Irving convey about these topics?  War and Politics, Faith, Religion, and Morality, Rock and Pop Culture and Modern Society.
  2.     How does literature function throughout the book?  Think of Frost’s and Hardy’s poetry, the Bible, etc.
  3.     Are there a few clues to the identity of John’s father?
  4.     How do the main characters handle conflict?
  5.     In the midst of a serious topic or event, Irving often undercuts the seriousness with some kind of “smart” remark.  It is as though Owen and John can never get too serious, lest they be labeled “too sensitive” or “too sentimental”.  Can you find examples?
  6.    What does Owen think  is his purpose in life?
  7.    What  do you think was his purpose in life?
  8.    When did Owen undergo a kind of conversion?
  9.    Is there any foreshadowing of Owen’s assignment in the military?
  10.   On pages 602-603 is Owen’s analysis of what is wrong with the country.  What is your opinion of that analysis?