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Margaret Craver?s novel, I Heard the Owl Call My Name, is the story of an ill, Mark Brian, who learns about life, death, and the power of love. His bishop sends him to Kingcome, an Indian village. There he learns enough of the meaning of life to be ready to die. In life people should give and share. Mark learned how to give without expecting anything in return. That was the true power of love.

In life it takes time for people to trust and accept you. During the time Mark lived with the Indians he learns that it takes a while for the Indians to accept outsiders. Mark must earn the Indians trust to get them to help him to build the vicarage. Chief Eddy teaches him how to gain the trust of the Indians. Mark knew the Indians had accepted him. The Bishop said that when you suffer with them they will accept you. That is how life is.

Another truth about life is that death is natural. By watching the swimmer, Mark learns that death is a natural thing. When he talked about death Marta she told him not to be sad that it is natural. By watching the salmon, Mark learned from the Indians that the whole life of the swimmer is one of courage. All of it builds up to end. When the swimmer dies this is not sadness. It is the end of the adventure. The Indians call Mark the swimmer because his life is one big adventure and once he learns the meaning of life, all that is left is death.

The true power of love is often hidden. In order to survive the winter nobody told him that they had only enough food for my own family, they shared with him. There is no word for thank you in Kwakwala. The Indians thanked each other and showed each other love with their actions and by giving. At the great dance-potlatches the Indians families gave all they had.

In conclusion in the book I Heard the Owl Call My Name, the main character Mark Brian learns many truths about life. He learns about life, that it takes time for people to trust you, and that death is natural. After learning about the power of love and completing his purpose, Mark, like the salmon, must die.


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