Questions for The Story of Owen
Though this novel is an example of a journey pattern, it is an unusual example because the sidekick is the main character. Examine how the novel conforms to the journey pattern, and where it might deviate from it.
Examine how this novel may be a satire of a culture that relies on cars. Consider, for example, how Michigan, the home of the automobile industry, is a no man’s land in the novel.
One of the complaints about this novel is that the dragons are somewhat anti-climactic, especially compared with legendary dragons from other works of fiction. Make specific comparisons between the dragons in this novel and other dragons from film and literature (this will require finding these examples and using them in the discussion). Consider the techniques used by the author/film-maker (word choice, camera work) to enhance the impact of the dragons.
One of the aspects of this novel that appeals to critics is the Platonic (non-romantic) friendship between Siobhan and Owen. Explain how the lack of romance impacts your understanding of Siobhan.
At one point, Owen tells Siobhan ““When you tell people this story, don’t mention any of the times I throw up.”” Discuss why the population in the novel (and perhaps in real life) need stories more than they need every detail of the truth.
Explain how the sacrifice at the end of the novel enhances your understanding of the characters.