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A Prayer for Owen Meany Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'A Prayer for Owen Meany' by John Irving is a popular novel about an unusual friendship between two young boys. This asset contains classroom discussion questions about this novel.

A Prayer for Owen Meany

John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany explores fate and friendship through some unique young characters. The questions in this asset will guide classroom discussions about this book.

Chapters 1-3

The questions in this section describe Owen and John as children and their relationship to the point of John's mother's death.

  • Why is John destined to always remember Owen? What kind of a person is Owen? How is Owen treated by his peers? How would you respond if you saw someone being treated the way Owen is treated?
  • Compare Owen's family to John's family. Why does John resent his mother? Do you think he is justified? Explain your answer. How is Dan Needham different from the other men John's mom dated? What qualities make him a good stepfather?
  • How does John's mother's death impact Owen and John's relationship? What does the armadillo symbolize?
  • John mentions several different religious affiliations. What part does religion play in his life? Why does John believe in angels? Do you agree with him? Justify your response.

Chapters 4-6

This section contains questions about the period after John's mother's death through John and Owen's junior year in high school.

  • How does John's life change after his mother's death?
  • What do Owen and John learn from looking through other people's dorm rooms? What do your favorite possessions say about you?
  • Why do you think Owen is so outspoken about changing the plays? What does Owen's performance reveal about his relationship with his parents? Do you believe in Owen's premonitions? Explain your response.
  • Why do you think Owen decides to sacrifice a year of school for John? How do Owen and John support each other? Find an example of foreshadowing in the text. What do you predict will happen to Owen and John in the future?
  • How do politics influence Owen during high school? Why do you think John is so obsessed with American politics as an adult?

Chapters 7-9

The questions in this section discuss Owen and John's relationship as they make college plans until Owen's death.

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