The Orenda Power

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In the novel, The Orenda by Joseph Boyden, power is a main theme. The aspiration to be dominant over one’s enemies, other cultures, and nature is an ever present aspect of this novel. Power struggles throughout the novel, cause an escalation of conflict between both groups, as well as individuals. The main characters, Bird and Christophe, represent different backgrounds, but are powerful in their own way. A desire to gain control is embedded in the minds of these characters and is directly presented through their thoughts, and often influences their actions. This need for dominance also has a strong connection to three major ideas in this novel. The first contact between European settlers, and the First Peoples of Canada, the tradition of…show more content…
This meeting of two very different cultures lead to the forming of allies and the making of enemies, as well as a violent end for Christophe. In this novel, the main focus on this topic is between the French and the Huron. They come together to trade, and become allies in the great battles fought at this time. Both are fighting for control of the fur trade, English against French, Huron against Iroquois. This power struggle, creates major conflict throughout the novel. As a leader in the Huron community, Bird is a major part of the trading with the French. He has witnessed first hand the of the meeting of the two cultures, and predicts it will have a major effect on their way of life. This intuition proves true when many of his peoples begin dying from the diseases brought by the strangers. The temptation of their goods, particularly their guns is too great of an incentive to trade though. Bird continues to trade and is the first of his people to learn how to shoot the muskets. His drive for power and love of battles is what brings his people ever closer to full on war with his…show more content…
This is one of the causes of the huge battle in the end of the novel. Angering the Iroquois by keeping the white people known as ‘crows,’ motivates them to attack the large village that houses their enemy. This battle results in great loss on both sides, but the Huron are particularly hard hit. They lose many and are forced to retreat. Christophe is less fortunate due to the fact he is captured by the Iroquois and forced to endure “caressing,” a painful torture method used by the First Nation tribes of the time. This “caressing” is an important part of their tradition, especially with regards to war culture. For more than two days, the prisoners are jabbed with sharpened hot sticks, pelted with rocks, stabbed and forced to endure other painful treatments. The term refers to their walking over hot coals and being ‘caressed’ with the burning embers. Christophe endures this and hums hymes, even after his tongue is removed. He knows he must maintain composure to show his strength and the power of his being. This behaviour shows just how much impact the Huron have had on him. He’s learned, and adopted part of their culture, even though his main goals was to change their traditions to be more like his own. His attempt to influence them is ironically shadowed by the impact they have had on him. His crusade to gain spiritual power, is a factor leading him to his painful demise

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