Owen Meany Essay

Submitted By 15alachey
Words: 1352
Pages: 6

Does everything happen for a reason? Do even the worst things that happen in life happen for the best, or for a special reason? Although various characters in A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving saw many things that occurred in Owen’s life as misfortune or injustice, they nonetheless ended up contributing to a larger sense of purpose. Factors in Owen’s life like his small size, his high voice and his inability to be fighting in Vietnam were all looked at as misfortunes; however, in the end, everything happened for a specific and important reason.
For most of Owen’s life his small size was looked upon as a misfortune or injustice, but in the end his size contributed to a larger sense of purpose. Because of Owen’s extraordinary small size, he was never taken very seriously at first meet or while he was young. Some people were even frightened when they saw Owen for the first time and usually judged him right away. Johnny tells stories of when they were children going to Sunday school. Owen then was so small that all of the kids including Johnny would throw him up in the air and he would not be able to get down. Obviously, like anyone, Owen did not like this: “PUT ME DOWN!...CUT IT OUT! I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. PUT ME DOWN! YOU ASSHOLES!” (Irving 5). This goes to show that Owen didn’t like being so small. Not only did he not like the “torture” that he had to go through, like not being able to be on the ground if he wanted to, but he didn’t like the discrimination that was built between him and the other kids. Meaning that he was the only kid who was treated differently like this and was thrown up in the air, just because of his size. These examples show how other characters and Owen himself looked at his size as being a misfortune or injustice, although in the end, they only just contributed to his destiny. Suddenly in the book Owen starts to see his small size as a part of his life purpose as “God’s instrument”, and all of a sudden his small size that was looked down upon meant so much more. The reason why Owen was so small all his life was all for the few moments in that airport restroom. God gave Owen his size that was looked down upon for a majority of his life, which enabled him to be easily thrown up by Johnny to secure the bomb high above the ground in the window ledge: “ He jumped so lightly into my hands: I lifted him up- as easily as I had always lifted him. After all: I had been practicing lifting up Owen Meany- forever” (Irving 612). He was able serve his purpose in life, saving those children and being “God’s instrument”. When Johnny reflects on all of this, he realizes the real reason why Owen Meany was so light, so he could be hoisted up by God to throw the bomb. This is one way how Irving showed that disappointments like misfortune or injustice may contribute to our larger sense of purpose in A Prayer for Owen Meany, as Irving shows other ways as well.
Up until the last few pages of A Prayer for Owen Meany, Owen’s voice was also looked upon as a misfortune or injustice, but in the end his voice contributed to his larger sense of purpose. Throughout the book when people first heard Owen’s voice, Irving described that everyone was taken back at it, as they were not sure of the reality of it or not. Wanting to make sure they heard right, everyone wanted to hear Owen speak again: “We tortured him, I think, in order to hear his voice; I used to think his voice came from a different planet. Now I’m convinced it was a voice not entirely from this world” (Irving 5). Germaine, a maid at 80 Front Street, thought that Owen’s voice was supernatural, and Johnny’s grandmother wanted to know if anything could be “done” to fix it. She found his voice very annoying, and many other people also did. No one ever knew why God would ever create such a human being, with such a high and annoying voice as Owen Meany’s, until Johnny watched him as he was forced to give lifesaving