About the Book

Book Protagonist: Allie
Publication Date: 2016
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Science Fiction
3.7/5

Themes and Analysis

The Power

By Naomi Alderman 

Published in 2016, 'The Power' is a famous dystopian feminist novel that follows the story of a world remade after women all over the world developed the “power” to release devastating electric shocks from their fingertips.

The novel engages with themes of power, gender, and corruption through several different symbols, including that of Allie’s internal voice which she obeys in the first part of the book. Alderman also used several different techniques in the composition of the novel, including the inclusion of letters and diary entries. The book itself is delivered as a manuscript detailing a mostly true story.

The Power Themes 

Power 

Power is, without a doubt, the most important theme in the novel. The women gain the power to create electricity from their fingertips, and it results in their being able to gain political and social power all over the world. Their newfound strength liberates them from oppression while also, in many instances corrupting them. 

Gender 

From the first few pages, it’s very clear that Alderman used gender as one of the primary themes of her novel. As the women attain the power and use it to change their social status, free themselves from terrible situations, and come into positions of power, the men of the world are forced to accept that life is very different. 

As many women become corrupted by their power or use it to inflict pain or even death on men in their lives, the reader should be inspired to reconsider the reality of gender, power dynamics, abuse, and oppression in the real world. 

Corruption

The power that the women gain throughout the novel corrupts them. Those who started out with good intentions, like Tatiana, become cruel, callous, and uncaring. It suggests that this kind of power, which cannot be matched, will always change those who wield it. The novel suggests that the gender norms had entirely shifted due to the power, so much so that people can’t remember a time when women were subjugated by men. 

Analysis of Key Moments in The Power

  • A letter from Neil Adam lays out what The Power is about. 
  • A young Roxy fights off the attackers who murdered her mother, and she discovers she has the power. 
  • Tunde experiences the power for the first time with a girl he likes and is disturbed by the experience. 
  • Margot, the mayor of an unnamed city in New England, wins a major political contest after demonstrating her power accidentally. 
  • She later advocates for the opening of training camps to help young girls train their power. 
  • Allie’s introduced, including her abusive childhood and moving to a convent. 
  • She performs miracles with her power that help inspire her for the future. 
  • Tunde is in Moldova next, where he sees the changes that have come over the country as women overthrow their oppressors. 
  • The wife of the President of Moldova founds a new country, Bessapara, where women could be free. 
  • Roxy takes revenge on the men who killed her mother and meets Eve. 
  • Roxy invents Glitter, a drug that enhances women’s powers and is later used in the training camps that Margot created. 
  • Tunde is assaulted in India. 
  • Roxy learns that her father planned the hit on her mother and is later attacked by her father and brother, who cut out the organ responsible for her power. 
  • Tunde’s research is stolen from him. 
  • Eve forces Tatiana to kill herself and becomes the new leader of Bessapara. 
  • Roxy’s brother, Darrell, is murdered by several women. 
  • The Cataclysm gains traction, and an unknown series of events jump the novel forward to its conclusion. 
  • The book ends with Naomi Alderman, a fictionalized version of the author, responding to the letter Neil Adam wrote.


Style, Tone, and Figurative Language 

This creative novel is written from a limited third-person point of view in the present tense. It’s composed of diary entries, letters, newspaper clippings, and much more. Readers have to keep track of multiple characters, each of whom is featured at one time or another. The characters’ perspectives on the situation are different from one another, as are their life experiences; this means the tone is liable to shift from one chapter to the next. 

The novel is packed full of interesting examples of figurative language. These include allusions (to real-world issues, such as sex trafficking in Moldova), paradoxes, imagery, parallelism, and foreshadowing. 

Analysis of Symbols 

The Voice 

The voice in Allie’s head is a powerful symbol of control (and power itself). For a time, Allie believes the voice must be a higher power or some force that wants her to act in a certain way. She listens to it. It’s revealed later that the voice is just Allie’s own internal monologue, and she wasn’t following a divine path, just doing whatever it was she wanted to at the moment. 

Moldova

The country of Moldova is a symbol of the past and the present for the women in the book. It’s home to a great deal of violence against women, including sex trafficking, and is also where some of the major events of the novel take place. There, women take over the government, form a new country, and make a safe haven for women with power. The country has become a very dangerous place for men. 

The Power 

The power that the women gain symbolizes dominance, control, and cruelty. It doesn’t take long after the women gain the power for those with it to abuse it. Women inflict pain on men for no reason other than entertainment; murders and rapes are committed, as well as other terrible offenses. The power gives women social and political control in a way that changes the world. 

FAQs 

Is The Power a feminist book?

Yes, The Power is a feminist book. It’s written from several perspectives and presents a challenging narrative. It literates women while also providing them with a life-changing power and the ability to torture and kill with little to no effort. The book asks readers to reassess gender roles and remember the true terror of gender-based violence in the real world. 

Who is Mother Eve in The Power?

Mother Eve was born Allie Montgomery-Taylor. She was abused as a child and eventually went to live at a convent. There, she renames herself Eve and begins performing incredible miracles. 

What happens to Roxy in The Power?

Roxy’s ultimate fate is unknown. At the end of the book, she strikes up a friendship and romance with Tunde, and the two bunker down in order to escape whatever the Cataclysm brings. 

What is the main theme of The Power by Naomi Alderman? 

The main theme of this book is power itself. The power the women gain allows them access to other forms of power in their day-to-day lives. They have the power to inflict pain, to kill, and therefore quickly rise up to roles as heads of state. 

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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