The main plot of A Prayer for Owen Meany is presented in a series of flashbacks and reminiscences; many of the most important events are presented out of chronological sequence, so that it can be difficult to keep track of the story's timeline. What follows is an approximate chronology of key events in John's and Owen's lives. Using this chronology as a guide, it should be fairly easy to ascertain the date of almost any scene in the novel.
John's mother performs at The Orange Grove, under the name "The Lady in Red."
John and Owen are born.
Dan Needham meets John's mother and moves to Gravesend.
Dan and John's mother are married.
Owen kills John's mother with the foul ball.
The Christmas pageant and A Christmas Carol; Owen plays the baby Jesus and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Mrs. Wheelwright acquires a television.
John and Owen get their driver's licenses.
John and Owen enter Gravesend Academy.
John and Owen travel to Boston to research John's mother's past.
Owen is increasingly at odds with Mr. White at the Academy; eventually he is expelled.
John graduates from Gravesend Academy; Owen graduates from the public high school.
John and Owen enter the University of New Hampshire, joining Hester there.
Owen concentrates on ROTC studies, hoping for a combat assignment in Vietnam.
Owen and John graduate from the university.
Owen amputates John's finger to keep him from having to go to Vietnam.
Owen is killed in the Phoenix airport.
Late summer, 1968
John discovers that Rev. Merrill is his father; Owen's funeral takes place.
John has applied for Canadian citizenship.
John begins writing his narrative.
I think that Owen's being swaddled too tightly to move his arms in "The Little Lord Jesus" is another instance of the armlessness motif, especially considering the religious setting of the pageant.
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