I Heard the Owl Call My Name

by Margaret Craven

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Who are the characters in the book I Heard the Owl Call My Name? I need to know a few facts about them.

The main character in I Heard the Owl Call My Name is Mark Bryan, a young vicar with a terminal disease. Another important character is the bishop, who sends Mark to work in the community of Kingcome. Keetah and Gordon are a couple from Kingcome who provide great insights into the views of the Kwakiutl people, and Marta Stephens, the village matriarch, is the first of the Kwakiutl people to realize that Mark is dying.

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The main character in this thought-provoking novel is Mark Bryan. Mark is a young vicar, and he has been sent by the bishop to serve the Kwakiutl people in the village of Kingcome, which is an isolated village in British Columbia, Canada. The twist in the tale is that Mark does not know that he is dying of a terminal disease. He has been sent to Kingcome with the Bishop’s intention that he spend his remaining time learning all that he can about life.

Keetah and Gordon are a couple from Kingcome who show interesting opposing views on traditional life. Gordon has a nomadic spirit and dreams of being the first of his tribe to get a degree and have a profession. Keetah, on the other hand, realizes after leaving the village that it is a fundamental part of who she is. She therefore leaves Gordon after becoming pregnant with his child in order to return to the village.

Another important character is Marta Stephens, who is essentially the Kingcome village matriarch. She notices the subtle signs that Mark is dying and contacts the vicaar, who realizes that it is time for Mark to leave Kingcome. In the aftermath of this, Mark hears an owl call his name one evening. He knows that, according to Kwakiutl beliefs, this means that he is dying.

I would argue that the bishop himself, while not present in Kingcome, is another key character to consider in an analysis of this book. He plays a paternal role to our protagonist, Mark, and ensures that Mark is exactly where he needs to be to learn the lessons that will allow him to die with peace in his heart.

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First and foremost, the primary character in I Heard the Owl Call My Name is Mark Bryan. As a young vicar, Bryan is sent to the village of Kingcome, home to the Kwakiutl people. Unbeknownst to Bryan, he is slowly dying from an unspecified terminal disease, and his bishop has sent him there to learn all that he can about life before he passes.

On the opposite side of the narrative spectrum, Keetah and Gordon are a Kwakiutl couple who integrate themselves into white culture. The novel contains both sympathetic and unsympathetic white Christian and Kwakiutl characters and works wonderfully to show the values of both cultures. This theme of integration is contrasted by George P., the tribal leader who must watch as old ways of life disappear.

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The main character in the book is Mark Bryan, a missionary sent by his bishop to the remote village of Kwakiutl in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Mark, who is suffering from an unspecified terminal illness, is an intelligent, humble man who learns that the tribal values of the indigenous people have much in common with his Christian beliefs. The priest's spiritual journey enables him to discover harmony in nature, the importance of community, and, finally, peace in death.

Keetah and Gordon are a young couple of the Kwakiutl tribe who are caught between two worlds. They venture into the white world and learn to live there, while keeping the values of their Indian heritage.

Other villagers include Marta, a patient, self-sacrificing old woman; Jim, who is Mark's helper and companion; George P., a tribal leader and elder who must watch as the old ways of life gradually disappear; and Old Peter, a wood carver who "endures like the mountains." Among the white characters, the Bishop and Caleb—a veteran mission priest—are open-minded toward the Kwakiutl people and their traditions and so are able to grow in wisdom; in contrast, the village teacher's primary concern is his monetary gain, and beyond that, he understands little of the heritage of the people he has come to serve.

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