What minor characters contribute to Owen and John's lives throughout the narrative?  

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In John Irving's quirky novel A Prayer for Owne Meany, the novel moves throughout time, but there is prevalent through this time, the spectre of John's mother whom Ownen accidentally kills with a foul ball that he hit while playing little league baseball.  This death, of course, affects the relationship between John, the narrator, and Owen.

John's mother's presence in the novel leads to two key motifs:  the dressmaker's dummy that she has kept in her bedroom and the red dress that she bought on one of her trips to Boston where she took singing lessons.  In addition, Owen has had a dream when he went to Tabitha's bedroom once that he saw an angel; later, he tells John that because this angel was interrupted by his presence, it brought death to John's mother with Owen as its agent.

Another character who influences the lives of John and Owen is John's cousin Hester Eastman who is pivotal to the themes of the burgeoning sexuality of the boys and gender relations.  Bitter about what she perceives as her parents' favoritism toward her brothers, Hester becomes an emotional and very aggressive female in sexual relations.  There is also a somewhat murky identification with her cousin John both sexually and emotionally as Hester is deeply affected by Owen Meany's death, just as is John Wheelwright.

Read the study guide:
A Prayer for Owen Meany

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question