John Irving’s “A Prayer for Owen Meany” Quotes (35 Quotes)



    A person's faith goes at its own pace. The trouble with church is the service. A service is conducted for a mass audience. Just when I start to like the hymn, everyone plops down to pray. Just when I start to hear the prayer, everyone pops up to sing. And what does the stupid sermon have to do with God? Who knows what God thinks of current events? Who cares?

    This was not of the nature of a Christlike lesson for Owen Meany to learn, as he lay in the manger, that someone you hate can give you a hard-on.

    I have learned that the consequences of our past actions are always interesting; I have learned to view the present with a forward-looking eye.




    What do Americans know about morality? They don't want their presidents to have penises but they don't mind if their presidents covertly arrange to support the Nicaraguan rebel forces after Congress has restricted such aid; they don't want their presidents to deceive their wives but they don't mind if their presidents deceive Congress- lie to the people and violate the people's constitution!

    I think that was when the headmaster realized he had lost; he realized then that he was finished. Because, what could he do? Was he going to tell us to stop praying? We kept our heads bowed; and we kept praying. Even as awkward as he was, the Rev. Mr. Merrill had made it clear to us that there was no end to praying for Owen Meany.


    As it was, things went from bad to worse, as they often will when amateurs are involved in an activity that they perform in bad temper - or in a hurry.

    When I first came to Canada, I thought it was going to be easy to be a Canadian; like so many stupid Americans, I pictured Canada as simply some northern, colder, possibly more provincial region of the United States-I imagined it would be like moving to Maine, or Minnesota.

    I will tell you what is my overriding perception of the last twenty years: that we are a civilization careening toward a succession of anticlimaxes - toward an infinity of unsatisfying, and disagreeable endings.


    Because I was a Wheelwright-and, therefore, a New England snob-I'd assumed that Phoenix was largely composed of Mormons and Baptists and Republicans;

    If watching television doesn't hasten death, it surely manages to make death very inviting; for television so shamelessly sentimentalizes and romanticizes death that it makes the living feel they have missed something - just by staying alive.

    Owen meany who rarely wasted words and who had the conversation-stopping habit of dropping remarks like coins into a deep pool of water... remarks that sank, like truth, to the bottom of the pool where they would remain untouchable.



    She drew the line at television. It took no effort to watch - it was infinitely more beneficial to the soul, and to the intelligence, to read or to listen - and what she imagined there was on TV appalled her.

    Dan suggested to Owen and me that we were better off to not involve ourselves with Hester. How true! But how we wanted to be involved in the thrilling real-life sleaziness that we suspected Hester was in the thick-of. We were in a phase, through television and the movies, of living only vicariously. Even faintly sordid silliness excited us if it put us in contact with love.

    It is amazing to me, now, how such wild imaginings and philosophies - inspired by a night charged with frights and calamities - made such perfectly good sense to Owen Meany and me, but good friends are nothing to each other if they are not supportive.

    THAT'S WHAT POWERFUL MEN DO TO THIS COUNTRY - IT'S A BEAUTIFUL, SEXY, BREATHLESS COUNTRY, AND POWERFUL MEN USE IT TO TREAT THEMSELVES TO A THRILL! THEY SAY THEY LOVE IT BUT THEY DON'T MEAN IT. THEY SAY THINGS TO MAKE THEMSELVES APPEAR GOOD - THEY MAKE THEMSELVES APPEAR MORAL...THE COUNTRY WANTS A SAVIOUR. THE COUNTRY IS A SUCKER FOR POWERFUL MEN WHO LOOK GOOD. WE THINK THEY'RE MORALISTS AND THEN THEY JUST USE US.

    Did the rhythm of the train on the tracks somehow unravel her and make her behave out of character? Was she altered in transit, when her feet were not upon the ground?



    Every American should be forced to live outside the United States for a year or two. Americans should be forced to see how ridiculous they appear to the rest of the world! They should listen to someone else's version of themselves--to anyone else's version! Every country knows more about America than Americans know about themselves! And Americans know absolutely nothing about any other country!

    It's a no-win argument - that business of what we're born with and what our environment does to us. And it's a boring argument, because it simplifies the mysteries that attend both our birth and our growth.



    LAST NITE I HAD A DREAM. NOW I KNOW FOUR THINGS. I KNOW THAT MY VOICE DOESN'T CHANGE - BUT I STILL DON'T KNOW WHY. I KNOW THAT I AM GOD'S INSTRUMENT. I KNOW WHEN I'M GOING TO DIE - AND NOW A DREAM HAS SHOWN ME HOW I'M GOING TO DIE. I'M GOING TO BE A HERO! I TRUST THAT GOD WILL HELP ME, BECAUSE WHAT I'M SUPPOSED TO DO LOOKS VERY HARD.


    More John Irving Quotations (Based on Topics)


    People - Life - Love - World - Man - Movies - Education - Thought & Thinking - Time - Writing - Performance Arts - Habit - Death & Dying - Belief & Faith - Kings & Queens - Environment - Age - Prayers - Mastery & Expertise - View All John Irving Quotations

    More John Irving Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - A Prayer for Owen Meany
    - The Cider House Rules
    - The Hotel New Hampshire
    - The World According to Garp

    Related Authors


    Thomas Wolfe - Thomas Hardy - Salman Rushdie - Miguel de Cervantes - Mario Puzo - Katherine Dunn - J. R. R. Tolkien - Emily Bronte - Anne Bronte - Alexander Solzehnitsyn


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