Hogan’s Power In Linda Hogans 1998 novel Power, much is learned about Native American culture. The main characters, Omishto and Ama help reveal this culture. The novel is divided into nine chapters. In Chapter 1, “Omishto,” a girl is in a boat that is floating on a pond.
She notices that there is a storm coming in. She describes the pond and the area around it.A snake tries to enter the girls boat, but she pushes it out with a pole, and then she moves the boat to land. As she does this, she feels something watching her, but does not want to look in the direction. A woman named Ama has told the girl that she is in the territory of “the cat” (3). The girl says that she has never seen the cat, but Ama saved one when some boys had it treed. Ama took away the boys rifle.The girls father named her Omishto, which means “one who watches.
” Omishtos grandmother says that Omishto has a wind inside her called Oni. Omishto is careful on her way home because she can still feel something watching her. Chapter 2, “Stormlight,” opens with a story about a man named Abraham Swallow. People believe that he died from fear or magic in some trees near a canal.
As Omishto walks toward Ama Eatons house, she recalls this story. Near Amas house there is a tree called Methuselah that is 500 years old and was planted by the Spanish.Methuselah is the only tree of its kind in the area. The tree and Amas house sit on the edge of the Taiga land. Taiga is the name of the Indian tribe to which Ama and Omishto belong. Amas house is old and looks like it is decaying. As Omishto reaches Amas house, Ama tells Omishto to come into the house.
Omishto tries to sneak up on Ama, but Ama always hears her. Ama and Omishto then sit on the porch together and discuss Abraham Swallows death. Omishto tells Ama that she does not think magic killed Abraham. Abrahams wife thought that the old Taiga people had killed him with magic. In Chapter 2, the reader also learns that the cat is the Florida Panther.The Taiga people call it Sisa. People of the Panther Clan believe they are related to the Florida Panther. Ama loves the panther and watches for it.
Omishtos mother is jealous of Ama because Ama is close to the old Taiga ways. Omishto was told not to visit Ama, but she still does. As the women continue to sit on the porch, Ama asks Omishto if she dreamt the night before.Ama says that she did and goes inside the house.
She returns and tells Omishto that she dreamt about a sickly, skinny panther. As Omishto and Ama sit on the porch, four women from the tribe walk down the road, almost as if they are floating. Ama refers to them as messengers. The two women then go inside.
As they do, a storm starts.It is a hurricane. They try to board up the house. Rattlesnakes start to come toward Amas door, but Ama shuts the door on them. Omishto realizes that she has not tied up her boat. She runs to do so, but struggles to get the boat ashore as she slips in the mud.
When the boat is ashore, Omishto ties it to a tree. Suddenly, the wind is calm. It starts up even harder. Omishto is clinging to the ground. The wind stops again. While it is still calm, Omishto tries to run back to Amas house.
The wind starts up again. Omishto can see Ama blown against the outside of the house. She also sees Methuselah fall. After the storm, Omishto realizes that her dress is in a tree, and she is naked. Snakes were flung against Amas house during the storm.Janie Soto and Annie Hide, old women of the Taiga tribe, would say this is a good sign. Omishto goes to the shed to get a shovel because she wants to bury the dead animals. Ama gets Omishto a dress.
Ama sees a deer with a broken leg and tells Omishto that they are going to follow it. Omishto thinks they are going to hunt it. Without knowing what it means, Omishto says, “I know what will happen” (44).In Chapter 3, “Take,” the storm is over and a flood begins. The water rises into Amas house. When the water recedes, Ama sweeps up the mud.
Omishto falls asleep. Ama wakes her. Ama begins to pack some things and tells Omishto it is time to go.Omishto does not understand where they are going. Although she does not want to, Omishto follows Ama. They walk a while as Ama follows the tracks of the deer. When they reach the Taiga birthplace, Ama listens for the deer.
At this point, Omishto relates to the reader the story of how the panther entered this world through a hole pecked by a bird.Omishto has lost her sense of time. Omishto hears a sound in the opposite direction of the deer.
There are footprints from the panther. Omishto then realizes that they are hunting the panther, not the deer. The panther is an endangered species, and killing one is against the law. They follow the deer and panther for another distance.Ama says that they can not let the panther die from illness. The panther stops for a drink and notices Ama and Omishto. The panther wants them to follow, and they do.
Ama sees the panther again. She shoots the cat with a rifle. Omishto believes that in killing the panther, Ama has killed herself.
Omishto falls asleep. As Omishto wakes up, Ama tells her to tell the truth when she is questioned by the police. The panther was very sick and hungry. Ama begins to skin it, and Omishto notices that the panthers fur is flattened around its neck. Omishto is not sure killing the panther was right.Ama tells Omishto again that she must tell the truth. As they make their way back to Amas house, they throw the dead panther over the back of a horse that belongs to a man named Willard. Omishto will not touch the panther.
When the women reach Amas house, Ama again tells Omishto to tell the truth when asked about the panther. Ama also asks Omishto not to mention the fact that the panther was sick. Omishto agrees and falls asleep.The police arrive at Amas house as Omishto is awakening.
Ama knew that they would come and arrest her. Ama willingly goes with the sheriff. The sheriff asks Ama where the panther is, but Ama will not answer. The officers question Omishto, but she does not know what Ama did with the panther because Omishto was asleep.The next morning, Omishto calls her sister Donna to pick her up at Amas house. Willards horse has followed Omishto to the pay phone.
Omishto returns to Amas house to bury a dead horse. As Chapter 4, “Descent,” opens, Omishto is still burying the dead horse. Donna arrives to take Omishto back home.Donna tells Omishto that the family was trying to find her after the storm. Janie Soto had been to town, and Donna gave her ride back to Kili. Omishto realizes that her mother and sister know what happened in the woods with Ama.
Donna says that when Janie was in town she carried a white swan feather with her. She was probably close to town because someone was hurt. When the girls arrive at their mothers house, the mother tells Omishto that she knows what happened, but does not understand why. Omishtos mother tells her that the panther is endangered and that killing one is a federal crime.Omishto knows this. Omishtos stepfather is unhappy with her. Omishto takes a bath and stays there until it is time to go to sleep. Omishto wakes up once during the night.
In the morning, Omishto walks to Amas house to finish burying the horse. She notices that Willards horse is still at the house.As Omishto digs, the horse falls into the hole. She cleans herself off and goes into Amas house. In Chapter 5, “Judgement,” Omishto goes to church with her mother. Omishto does not believe in the religion.
Omishto is called to the front of the church so the members can lay their hands on her. They want to heal her.The next morning is Omishtos first day back at school after the incident. When she arrives at school, the word “killer” is written on her locker. As Omishto walks into her homeroom, the students whisper loud enough for her to hear. Omishtos teachers even look at her differently.
While at lunch, Donna tells Omishto that it will all pass, and people will forget.Omishtos best friend will not talk to her …