The Power (Alderman) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for The Power … then take off on our own:

1. The premise of The Power seems to be that if a new world order were created—with women in charge—it would look little different from the way it does now. That woman would use their power to oppress men. Do you agree with that premise? Does Naomi Alderman make her case convincingly? Do you see other possibilities?

2. Follow-up to Question 1: The book poses a question: why do people abuse power? What does the book suggest the answer is? What is your answer?

3. As an interesting exercise, go through the novel to identify those societal structures, both legitimate and criminal, that have been changed by feminine power. Look at how the book treats religion, the military, sex trafficking and porn, harassment, even bullying. What does the new power inversion say about the way gender and sexuality operates in "normal" society (i.e., today in the early 21st century)?

4. In what ways does each of the four characters—Eve, Roxy, Tunde, and Margot—illuminate the events of the novel and all that has changed? Whose perspective or story do you find most interesting … or revealing … or engaging?

5. What do you make of Neil Adam Armon and his gushing letter to Naomi Alderman, "I am so grateful you could spare the time," and "Sorry, I'll shut up now"? If you are a woman, does that tone, do those words, have a familiar ring? Also, what's the joke here about appropriation, given that Alderman's name, not Neil's, ends up on the novel? (If you haven't already, play around with the letters of Neil's name.)

6. Vogue reviewer, Bridget Read (really), calls parts of the book "revenge porn." Do you agree with her label? Do you find the revenge satisfying or twisted … or both?

7. Neil ponders: "Gender is a shell game. What is a man? Whatever a woman isn't. What is a woman? Whatever a man is not. Tap on it and it's hollow. Look under the shells: It's not there." What does Neil mean, and do you agree or disagree? How do you see gender? Is it "real" or a social construct?

8. The novel: bleak or hopeful?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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