A Prayer for Owen Meany

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A Prayer for Owen Meany

In literature of significant standing, no act of violence is perpetrated without reason. For a story to be legitimate in the area of fine literature violence cannot be used in a wanton manner. In John Irving’s modern classic, A Prayer for Owen Meany the audience is faced with multiple scenes of strong violence but violence is never used without reason. All of the violent acts depicted in the novel are totally necessary for the characters and the plot to develop. This plot-required violence can be seen in the novel’s first chapter when Owen accidentally kills John’s mother and in the novel’s last chapter when John relates Owen’s grotesque, while heroic, death to the audience. The violence that is shown in this novel is used in such a calculated manner that it leaves a great impression on the audience.

In Chapter one, the narrator vividly relates his mother’s death to the audience, explaining the reasoning behind this amount of detail with the statement, “Your memory is a monster; you forget- it doesn’t.” The author meticulously records every sensory stimulus he received in the moments leading up to and following his mother’s death; demonstrating how this event dramatically altered the course of his young life. Another example of the detailed memory the narrator recounts in this portion of the novel is seen in the passage, “Later, I would remember everything. In revisiting the scene of my


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