A Prayer for Owen Meany

"The Little Lord Jesus": The Existence of Higher Powers in A Prayer for Owen Meany 12th Grade

In a Prayer for Owen Meany the relationship between religion and faith is often contradictory to societal beliefs causing confusion. Johnny’s questioning of organized religion and his growing faith creates a tension. The last chapter of the novel reconciles the tension through the parallelism that occurs between Owen and religious, supernatural imagery, indicating that faith and religion are not necessarily linked. Thus the novel suggests that the existence of higher powers is dependent on an individual’s perceptions, not traditional norms.

Throughout the span of Johnny’s life, the contrast between his struggle to find truth in religion and his increasing faith in his best friend, Owen Meany, illustrates the inner battle Johnny faces while determining what he believes in. The novel begins with Johnny criticizing religion claiming, “every study of the gods, of everyone’s gods, is a revelation of vengeance toward the innocent” (9). The use of “study” brings to question the difference between religion and faith, as in the passage religion is something to be studied, faith is something to believe in. Johnny is questioning the validity of organized religion, as he sees it as more corrupt than beneficial. His uncertainty towards...

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