The Power Summary

The Power is a science fiction novel about a world where women use a mysterious electric power to oppress men. The use of frame narrative, artifacts, and documents suggest that the story that unfolds is a futuristic work of historical fiction.

  • Roxy is the first girl to use "the power" when she harnesses an electric force to shock a man attacking her mother.
  • Tunde, a journalist, documents the global turmoil as women revolt against their patriarchal societies and Bessapara, a matriarchal state, is created.
  • Allie, a young girl who used the power to kill her abusive foster father, flees from home. She adopts the name Mother Eve and comes to power as the leader of a female-centric religious moment that spreads across the world.


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Last Updated on December 9, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 637


The Power is a science fiction novel concerned with what would happen if women were provided a means to be physically dominant over men. Naomi Alderman includes elements of metafiction in the text; for example, the book begins with a letter from a writer, Naomi, to the supposed author of the story that follows—a novelization of the history of how women gained “the power,” the ability to shoot electricity from their hands by means of a specialized muscle called a “skein.” Naomi’s letter praises the text and ultimately recommends that the author, Neil Adam Armon, publish the book under a woman’s name to gain credibility. Each major section of the book is also prefaced with an archaeological drawing and description of a tool used during the time the novel takes place. This works to frame the novel as a piece of historical fiction from the far future.

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Plot Summary

The novel’s action follows four main characters. Roxy, a young woman, becomes the first person in the world to experience the use of the power, when she shocks a home intruder in an attempt to save her mother’s life. Her mother is killed, however, and she goes to her father, a mobster, to seek revenge on her mother’s murderer. Upon learning of her new ability, her father hires her as a member of the mob, and she strives to become more powerful.

Tunde, a twenty-one-year-old Nigerian man, is the first person to capture the use of the power on video. When his video becomes famous, he begins a career in freelance journalism and travels around the world to report on women-led uprisings in male-dominated countries. Tunde gains the acceptance of many of the women in the uprisings and is able to capture footage that no one else can. He also obtains interviews with men involved in counterrevolutionary movements.

Allie begins the novel as a troubled girl who lives with very religious foster parents. Her foster father sexually abuses her as punishment when she misbehaves—until Allie uses the power to kill him. Later, she becomes a nun, adopts the name “Mother Eve,” and leads a religious movement centered on the claim that the evidence for a women-led...

(The entire section contains 637 words.)

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