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Word Count: 534
Prayer As A Symbol in Irvings A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY In John Irvings A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY there are many prominent symbols Those of arm-less figures water and angels are a few of the more prominent ones but there are also many symbols that are much more subtle than those few The most prominent of the subtle symbols is that of prayer Prayer in an of itself is an idea But in A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY Irving uses it to convey many more abstract concepts THE TROUBLE WITH CHURCH IS THE SERVICE Owen states 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 23 In this passage prayer is viewed only as a part of the hocus-pocus 21 of church ceremony It is thus representative both of Owens view of church formality and ceremony and of the attitudes that both Owen and Johnny hold toward certain aspects of the church and its traditions This becomes important on a larger scale when the reader recognizes the conflict that plagues both Johnny and Owen when it comes to religious issues Johnny states this point clearly when he says I was baptized in the Congregational Church and after some years of fraternity with the EpiscopalianI became rather weak in my religion in my teens I attended a non-denomination church Then I became an Anglican1 These frequent internal religious conflicts showcase an even greater distaste of the ceremony of the church which prayer at least in this instance is representative of Prayer also becomes representative of the character of Owen Meany in several different ways The prayer of the angel in the Christmas pageant is a wonderful example of this BE NOT AFRAID FOR BEHOLD I BRING YOU GOOD
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