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Literature / Power

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Linda Hogan's novel Power, published in 1998, is about a Native American teenager named Omishto, whose elderly friend Ama ends up killing a panther.

The story is heavily focused on Omishto's growing understanding of herself and the world around her, while Ama faces trial for her actions, and the controversy divides Omishto's two worlds: her tribe, and the modern high-school she attends.

No relation to the 2014 Starz series.

This novel contains examples of:

  • Disappeared Dad: Donna and Omishto's biological father left their family for another woman, and then, supposedly, left that woman for another. Donna remembers this about him, but Omishto just remembers him as a beautiful man and as the one who named her.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Herman is described as often beating Omishto with his belt, while she stands naked trying to protect herself.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Omishto's mother is jealous of her for being the object of her stepfather's interests, despite Omishto not finding herself all that attractive and being very uncomfortable around her stepfather for this very reason. It's assumed that her mother is still hurting from her first husband leaving for another woman, causing her to become jealous of anyone who might get more physical attention than her.
  • I Have No Son!: Omishto gets disowned by her mother during a heated moment; though it's immediately taken back, Omishto doesn't stay to let her apologize, and just runs for it.
    Mama: You're not my daughter! You hear that? You're no kid of mine.
  • In-Series Nickname: Most people just refer to Omishto as "Sister" or a variant.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Teenage Omishto is close friends with her elderly "aunt" Ama, despite the generational gap. This friendship is later brought into question at the trial, when the judge implies that Ama may have been influencing her.
  • Lecherous Stepparent: Omishto's stepfather Herman is described as making her strip naked so he can beat her with a belt, showing that he "had his eye" on her; her mother was aware, but never wanted to admit it to herself until the end of the story, and was in fact thought to be jealous of Herman's interest in her.
  • Meaningful Name: Omishto means "One who watches", and her biological father named her that because of the way she, as a baby, used to sit and watch everything. She admits that this is still true, claiming that she still does watch everything.
  • Only Friend: Omishto's only friend in school was Jewel, who even brought her to school every day. However, once the panther is killed with Omishto being involved, even Jewel stops talking to her, though she admits they would've grown apart anyway.
  • Panthera Awesome: The panther is incredibly important to the people in the story, especially the Taiga Clan, who consider the panther to be their older sister and revere it. Omishto is fascinated when she sees one, describing it as beautiful and calm, even while being hunted. Interestingly, the panther discussed is described as golden, making it more likely a puma.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Donna is popular, attractive, and interested in things like fashion and boys. Omishto, meanwhile, is an unassuming, intelligent, and the target of abuse and bullying; in addition, Donna was given a "modern" English name, while Omishto was given a tribal name.
  • The Unfavorite: Omishto, who has a rocky, distant relationship with her mother and is outright abused by her stepfather, Herman, being physically beaten while fearing him having sexual attraction to her. Donna escapes all of this.