The Power

by Naomi Alderman

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Chapters 11–13 Summary

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Luanne, a new fourteen-year-old girl at the convent, suffers from convulsive episodes that none of the other girls understand, except to say that it is not Luanne’s fault. Allie’s inner voice tells her that Luanne is the “one” who will help Allie gain control over the convent.

The girls gather to watch a lightning storm on the horizon of the sea. Suddenly, Luanne falls to the ground in one of her fits. Sister Veronica, the nun suspicious of the girls’ power, refuses to let any of the other girls rush to help Luanne, until Allie meekly asks if she can try to make Luanne stop.

Allie can sense exactly what is causing Luanne’s fits. With a hand on the back of Luanne’s neck, Allie sends a precise jolt that immediately ends Luanne’s convulsion. The girls are astonished at Allie’s apparent miracle. Shortly after, other girls seek Allie’s advice and ask her to heal them. One night in the bunks, she quietly asks a specific group of ten girls to go with her to the “seashore at dawn” because the voice told her to do so.

That morning, Allie and the others go to the beach still wearing their pajamas, wading waist-deep into the water. Allie calls God “She” and asks for Her blessing and baptism for all the girls. Feeling their knees give out beneath them, all of the girls except Allie are involuntarily held beneath the surface of the water for a few moments. After they come up for air, the girls are amazed by what has happened.

Although Allie, whom the girls soon begin to call Mother Eve, warns the baptized girls not to tell others what happened, news of her miracles spreads throughout the convent. Mother Eve also begins to spread her teachings: God came to earth in the form of Mary. She is more powerful than Jesus and She has returned via the power to right injustice.

By Easter, Mother Eve’s popularity attracts the attention of the nuns. While Sister Maria Ignacia suggests God is working through the girls, Sister Veronica says that the nuns should burn them alive—which has already happened in several places throughout the American South, where the convent is located. Sister Veronica persuades the nuns to agree to her plan: lock the girls in their bunks until morning while she prays for the Lord’s guidance.

The next morning, the nuns find Sister Veronica prostrate before the crucifix in the chapel, apparently still praying. It is soon discovered, however, that Sister Veronica has died of a heart attack in this position. The crucifix before her now has branching, scar-like markings over Jesus’s body.

After Sister Veronica’s death, Mother Eve gains complete control of the convent. The girls openly flout the nuns’ rules, and Mother Eve gives fervent sermons that are filmed and uploaded to the Internet. Her teachings grow more radical, upending much of the traditional Christian doctrine the girls were taught. The chapter ends with a note that someone recognizes Mother Eve’s face while watching one of the videos, despite her attempt at concealing it from view.


After little action from the governor’s office, Margot arranges an interview on a nationally syndicated morning talk show with Jocelyn. By the time of the interview, Margot has already held a press conference at the mayor’s residence to address reports of Jocelyn’s power.

Jocelyn tells a sympathetic story, explaining that her power’s sudden development has been stressful. This allows Margot to easily segue into her pitch: a three-phase plan to establish training programs for young girls who want to learn how to control...

(This entire section contains 964 words.)

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their newfound power. Margot proposes that girls who already have good control can help the inexperienced ones so that they will have a safe space to hone their skills.

After the interview, the governor castigates Margot for announcing the rollout of her plan without his approval. Despite his obvious consternation, Margot receives an outpouring of support in the form of donations and endorsements. Other states’ leaders express interest in her idea, and Margot attracts the attention of the elite, who urge her to expand her political ambitions.


Continuing his travels to document the revolution, Tunde visits Moldova on the eve of its own coup d’etat. When thousands of enslaved women awaken their power in the sex trafficking capital of the world, they do not stop after murdering their captors. In border towns across the country, women take control of the local government and kill many of the men whose permissiveness allowed the sex industry to flourish for so long—including police, postmen, and delivery drivers.

Tunde interviews the president of Moldova days before his sudden, mysterious death at his gaudy palace in the nation’s capital. Tunde is surprised that the president seems confident that he will defeat the rebels, despite the evidence that the government is losing.

Tatiana Moskalev, the president’s wife, confides in Tunde that her husband is only so “blasé” because the newest king of Saudi Arabia has taken refuge in Moldova in exchange for supplying its government with money and weapons.

After her husband dies from a heart attack, Tatiana is selected the interim leader of the country, with the backing of most rebel groups. Despite her popularity, former associates of her husband disband the interim government. As a result, Tatiana takes residence in the northern mountains of the country, declaring the establishment of a new kingdom named Bessapara.

This is an unspoken declaration of war against four countries upon which the borders of Bessapara encroach, including Russia. Tunde, who is authoring a volume on the revolution, writes that the tides are turning in favor of women with the power.


Chapters 9–10 Summary


Chapter 14 Summary