At the beginning of the novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving, we are introduced to a character named Watahantowet. Watahantowet was a local Indian Sagamore, who owned the surrounding land. Instead of Watahantowet's signature on the deed for the land, he left his mark by carving a totem of an armless man. Later, many questioned why Watahantowet had carved the figure to be armless. Throughout the novel, Johnny Wheelwright and Owen Meany refer back to this historical figure. The following essay will analyze some of the many symbolic events throughout this story.
The death of Johnny Wheelwright's mother was very tragic, not just for Johnny, but for Owen also. The instrument of death was a baseball; the very first baseball that Owen Meany ever hit. When Tabitha Wheelwright walked onto the field that day, it was not a coincidence that the incident happened. At least not to Owen. Owen just knew that this was the work of God. And from then on, his life because more of a tale of a power from up above. Owen sawed the claws off Johnny's armadillo, when trying to communicate to Johnny how he felt. In essence, Owen felt like a small creature without claws, or like Watahantowet, without arms.
During Johnny and Owen's high school years at Gravesend Academy, Owen wrote a column for the school newspaper, The Grave. Owen's editorial name ironically was The Voice. Most all of the students at Gravesend Academy loved Owen's column, but the teachers and staff hated it and felt like Owen was disobeying his school rules. As like today, their rules were that school and religion were two different things, and that they are to be kept separate. Every week, Owen's columns would talk about an experience of his, about many things. But, his most favorite object to criticize was the Catholic religion. Owen took the newspaper's column for granted, and preaches rights and wrongs. Owen felt that he had the right to, because it is his own opinion.