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Transcript of UNSPEAKABLE OUTRAGE
is mentioned in A Prayer for Owen Meany. "The damage was irreparable, he would repeat; he would refer only to the UNSPEASKABLE OUTRAGE." " "And what was the cause of the falling out between the Catholics and Mr. Meany? I always asked. Owen never told me. The damage was irreparable, he said; he would only refer to the UNSPEAKABLE OUTRAGE." At first, Owen doesn't even know why his parents were shunned by the Catholics. All he knows is that his parents speak of the Catholics with disdain, therefore he feels that he should as well. Owen's mother never leaves the house and barely talks to her son. She stands looking out of the window or by the fireplace. Johnny sees her and realizes that it must have been the mysterious outrage that made her this way. "It ocurred to me that he Catholics had done this to her- whatever it was, it surely qualified for the unmentioned UNSPEAKABLE OUTRAGE that Owen claimed his father and mother had suffered. There was something about Mrs. Meany's obdurate self-imprisonment that smacked of religious persecution- if not eternal damnation." Johnny notices the effect this outrage
has had on Owen's mother. UNSPEAKABLE
Naumann Owen's Views of Catholic Practices Birth Control Adoration of Objects Fish on Friday's Confession "THEY'RE FRESH BEETLESKINS," Owen told me. "THE CATHOLICS FORBID THEM," he added. "THE CATHOLICS ARE OPPOSED TO BIRTH CONTROL."
"Why?" I asked.
"NEVERMIND," Owen said. "I'VE NOTHING MORE TO DO WITH THE CATHOLICS." "WE HAVE A NONDEMOMINATIONAL CHURCH," he stated. "WHY DO WE HAVE A CATHOLIC DINING HALL? IF CATHOLICS WANT TO EAT FISH ON FRIDAY, WHY MUST THE REST OF US JOIN THEM?... YET NON-CATHOLICS MUST EAT FISH; ON FRIDAYS, IT'S EAT FISH OR GO HUNGRY. I THOUGHT THIS WAS A DEMOCRACY. ARE WE ALL FORCED TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE CATHOLIC VIEW OF BIRTH CONTROL? WHY ARE WE FORCED TO EAT CATHOLIC FOOD?" Owen seems to bring up the different ways of the Catholics on purpose as if to portray them in a negative light. His attitude is a result of the UNSPEAKABLE OUTRAGE. "WHAT A BIG FUSS ABOUT A BLANKET!" Owen said. "THAT'S SO CATHOLIC," he added- "TO GET VERY RELIGIOUS ABOUT OBJECTS!"
This was a theme of Owen's- the Catholics and their adoration of OBJECTS. "IF KENNEDY CAN RATIONALIZE ADULTERY, WHAT ELSE CAN HE RATIONALIZE?" Owen asked me. Then he got really angry and said: "I'M FORGETTING HE'S A MACKEREL-SNAPPER! IF CATHOLICS CAN CONFESS ANYTHING THEY CAN FORGIVE THEMSELVES ANYTHING, TOO!" The Nativity Scene Fiasco During this scene, Owen, playing baby Jesus, spots his parents in the crowd. Angrily, he stands up and commands them to leave saying that it was "SACRELIGE" for them to be there. His mother crosses herself ("a very Catholic gesture") as she leaves with her husband. Later, Johnny tries to discuss the situation with Owen. "Owen had offered no explanation for the offense he took at his parents' attendance at the Christ Church Nativity. When I suggested to him that his response to their presence in the congregation had been radical and sever, he dismissed me in the fashion he'd perfected- by forgiving me for what I could not be expected to know, and what he would never explain to me; that old UNSPEAKABLE OUTRAGE that the Catholics had perpetrated, and his parents' inablility to rise about what amounted to the RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION they had suffered." Johnny brings up the UNSPEAKABLE OUTRAGE in his commentary once more when practicing the basketball shot with Owen. "...whatever UNSPEAKABLE OUTRAGE his parents had suffered had plunged his religious upbringing into confusion and rebellion..." So what is this UNSPEAKABLE OUTRAGE?! After Owen's death, Owen's father reveals to Johnny the mysterious situation.
"I mean he was born unnaturally," said Mr. Meany. "Like a Christ Child- that's what I mean... Me and his mother, we didn't ever do it..."
"He'll never believe you! No one ever believes you!" cried Mrs. Meany.
"You're saying that Owen was a virgin birth?" I asked Mr. Meany; he wouldn't look at me, but he nodded vigorously.
"It's true!" Mr Meany said... "Don't be like those damn priests! They believe that story, but they wouldn't listen to this one! They even teach that other story, but they tell us our story is worse than some kinda sin! Owen was no sin!" Owen went through his life, ever since age 10 or 11, believing that he had been a virgin birth, therefore a direct descendant of God. The rejection from the Catholic church as well as his anti-Catholic upbriging idea caused his disdainful outlook on that religion. It's almost ironic that at the end, when both of Owen's arms have been blown off, he dies in the arms of a Catholic nun who is making the sign of the cross over him. The End.