Monday, August 03, 2009
A group of us are reading and discussing A Prayer for Owen Meany…see Care’s post for all of the details. Despite a rocky start, I haven’t given up and I’m almost through with the book. I won’t go so far as to say it’s going to be a favorite, but I can certainly understand why others might feel that way. Honestly, it’s got way too much symbolism and foreshadowing and Deep Meaning going on for me to truly love it. I like my books a bit simpler, thank you very much.
So today I’m responsible for leading the discussion about Chapter 7, The Dream. Owen’s dream is hinted at throughout the book, but we still don’t know the details of it. However, in Chapter 7, Owen’s life takes a turn that seems to ensure he is on track with his dream, and his perceived destiny.
I actually found part of Chapter 7 funny. The scene with Dr. Dolder’s VW Beetle was a bit unexpected, and quite amusing. This was actually the first time I was engrossed in the book. How about you? What did you think of the scene? Were you surprised by Owen’s actions? Did it seem in keeping with his character?
Speaking of Owen’s character, he’s very accepting of his fate. On page 326, he states:
”THE THIRD THING I KNOW IS THAT I AM GOD’S INSTRUMENT; I HAVE FAITH THAT GOD WILL LET ME KNOW WHY I’M SUPPOSED TO DO, AND WHEN I’M SUPPOSED TO DO IT.”
Johnny, on the other hand, struggles with Owen’s fatalism. What is your stance on fate? Do you think we determine or our fate, or is it predetermined? And, what do you think of Owen’s decision? Would you be an Owen? Or a Johnny?
Chapter 7 also features a lot of grown-up Johnny, with his rants on Reagan and US politics (and girl-barbers…did any one else find that odd?). At one point, Johnny seems angry with the reader for not remembering Melvin Laird, or Gen. Creighton Abrams or Gen. William Westmoreland. What do you make of Johnny’s rants? Personally, I find myself skimming some of them.
A Prayer for Owen Meany has been challenged, due to it’s opinions on the Vietnam War, and religion. When I first heard that, I was surprised, because I find the book to be very religious. However, (and I’ll confess I’m on chapter 9, and that is factoring into this question) there are some parts that I suppose could be considered blasphemous (if that is even the right word). Not that I’m advocating book banning, but it did make me think about parts of the book that are surprising or even shocking, such as Hester the Molester. Are there any parts that have surprised you, or made you uncomfortable?
And finally, one last personal comment. I don’t think I’ll ever look at all caps again without hearing Owen’s voice in my head…which I’m visualizing (or whatever the auditory equivalent of that word is) as an odd combination of a drill sergeant sounding like he’s being strangled.