In The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay demonstrates through the characterization of Peekay that one needs the guidance and support of mentors in order to succeed. One of Peekay’s mentors is Big Hettie. She encourages him and gives him hope throughout their time together. She gives him much advice because she is dying and will not be able to tell him about his potential greatness in the future. She believes in him and tells him, “Peekay, you will be a great welterweight, I know it. You have pride and courage. Remember what I told you about pride and courage? Pride is holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it.” She is telling him this because she knows he does not have a lot of confidence in himself for he is trying to blend in because he is so different. Big Hettie wants him to embrace his differences and hold his head high doing so.
Another one of Peekay’s mentors is Hoppie. He had taught him that it did not matter who you were, what you looked like or where you were from, as long as you had heart and a plan you could accomplish anything. “Mix-the-head with-the-heart you’re-ahead from-the-start, the wheels chanted until my head began to pound with the rhythm. It was becoming the plan I would follow for the remainder of my life; it was to become the secret ingredient in what I thought of as the power of one.” Hoppie is the one who taught him the power of one and how to be confident in himself despite the fact that he was small and a rooinek. Peekay is starting to grow and become more aware of what is going on around him because of all that Peekay has taught him.
Lastly, Doc has become one of Peekey’s mentors. He has taught him about music and life. Even though Doc is German and Peekay is English, they stick together and teach each other new things everyday. They have become close friends even though they have only known each other for a day or two. “The loneliness birds had flown away and I had grown up and made a new friend called Doc and had learned several new things.” This shows that Doc is important to Peekay because he has lost Nanny, Hoppie, Big Hettie and Granpa Chook and finally having someone around who cares for him makes him feel good and less lonely. Doc is trying to teach Peekay that camouflage is not always the answer. “Always listen to yourself, Peekay. It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention. If you are wrong, no matte, you have learned something and you will grow stronger. If you are right, you have taken another step toward a fulfilling life.” All these people have helped Peekay discover the power of one.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
In The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay demonstrates through the characterization of Peekay and Hoppie, that one does not have to be big in size to succeed. In the beginning, Peekay is made fun of and tortured because he is different. He endured this pain because he thought people who are small have no chance against someone who is bigger. He soon meets a man who will change his life forever. Hoppie Groenewald is a guard and conductor he met on the train who was looking after Peekay until he arrived in Gravelotte. Hoppie is someone who supports and cares for Peekay; He is like a new companion or ally of his. He believes in him and gives him hope so one day he will be a good boxer like himself. “No worries Peekay. When you grow up you’ll be the best damn welterweight in South Africa and nobody, and I mean no-bod-ee, will give kid Peekay any crapola. I’m telling you man.” This helps Peekay because he does not have any hope in himself because people are always telling him he is worthless. Unfortunately, Peekay believes them because he is so outnumbered by Boers that he is different in size, ethnicity and appearance. When Hoppie started telling him about boxing and how great he will be, he became excited. He became even more excited when Hoppie won the big match against the giant black man, Jackhammer Smit. “I had just witnessed the final move in a perfectly wrought plan where small defeats big. First with the head and then with the heart.” It encouraged him and gave him confidence. “It was the greatest moment of my life. I had hope. I had witnessed small triumph over big. I was not powerless.” Even though he was limited in his size, he was not limited in his mind or heart and Hoppie and Big Hettie helped him discover that. They will continue to support Peekay in everything throughout the novel, especially becoming a welterweight champion.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
In “The Power of One,” Bryce Courtenay demonstrates through the characterization of Pisskop, that people are judged and treated according to their appearance and background. Pisskop is a rooinek in a place full of Boers. He is looked upon with great disgust and is told that Hitler is going to march all the Englishmen in Africa into the Sea. “In the name of Adolf Hitler we will march every rooinek bastard into the sea.” The Judge, the jury and everyone at the boarding school bullied Pisskop because he was a rooinek, spoke English and was circumcised. All these differences isolated Pisskop from everyone and he became lonelier and lonelier. One of the few he could look to was Nanny who told him stories about warriors and bravery, and taught him to have faith. “She was a person made for laughter, warmth, and softness and she would clasp me to her breasts and stroke my golden curls with a hand so large it seemed to palm my whole head.” He also looked to his chicken, Granpa Chook, for comfort because he was there, gave him company and listened to him. “Finally, it became clear that the toughest damn chicken in the whole wide world had no intention of deserting his friend, even if his own life was at stake.” (Page 28) Granpa Chook ends up dying after he poops in the Judge’s mouth and all hope for Pisskop disappears. This just proves that when someone is lonely and afraid, anyone or anything will make them feel better; even if it is a chicken.
Bryce Courtenay really emphasizes the hatred between the two peoples in the novel, the Boers and the rooineks. He really highlights that awful things happen when there is as much hatred in the world as there is demonstrated in this book. There are many instances in the book where the Judge is making fun of Pisskop just because he is a rooinek. The two groups may have had some conflicts and differences but they shouldn’t be judging everyone because of it. Someone’s background or appearance shouldn’t effect how they are treated or looked upon; they should be judged by who they really are because every human being deserves a chance to be recognized in a positive way.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
The room was a perfect square. Inside, the walls were washed with a light yellow color that expressed its purity and calmness. The floor was covered with a cream colored carpet that gave the room an even brighter, softer presence. The back wall had windows all across it covered with shutters as open as they could be, with sunlight beaming in, while the others were covered with posters, pictures and furniture painted white. Against one of the walls was a twin bed, made up with hand knitted blankets, a turquoise comforter and warm, comfy pillows with Hawaiian flowers on them. A desk stood, cluttered with work, photos, jewelry and clothes. A silver laptop lay upon it with papers and books piled on top of it. It’s been a hectic couple of days. Dusty medals and trophies stood proudly on the top of the desk where they are looked upon day by day but hardly noticed. Ceiling to floor mirrors decorated with pictures along the edges of friends and family reflected the room’s appearance to make it look larger and more open. It could have gone on forever, but then it was opened to a small, dark closet full of clothes, shoes and a hope chest filled with possessions near to the heart. Many mementos had been collected over the years and stored in that hope chest, which makes it special indeed. Footsteps were heard by the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was patiently just sitting there without making a peep, waiting. The doorknob turned and a gust of wind was felt as it swung open. A tall girl rushed through the door and collapsed on the bed. The light of a 60 watt light bulb brightened the room a bit more as it was slowing becoming dark and cold outside. Her eyes were droopy but her body was still. Suddenly, she jumped up, rushed out responding to the voice of her mom calling for dinner. The room remained still and calm, just waiting for the girl to return.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Does Curly's wife get what she deserves?
In the novella Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck illustrates through the characterization of Curly’s wife that although some people may seem mean and evil, they may have lived through a hard, unfair life that they do not deserve. Curly’s wife is depicted as a mean tramp by the men on the ranch. “Jesus, what a tramp.” “Don’t you even take a look at that bitch. I don’t care what she says and what she does. I seen ‘em poison before, but I never seen no piece of jail bait worse than her. Leave her be.” No one trusts her, not even Curly. Curly hates it when she talks to other men because he thinks something is going on. Slim says to Curly after he questioned him about it, “Well, you been askin’ me too often. I’m getting’ God damn sick of it. If you can’t look after your own God damn wife, what you expect me to do about it? You lay offa me.” This shows that their relationship isn’t a healthy or strong one because they don’t even trust each other. Curly’s wife just wants some attention. She cannot go out or can’t talk to a lot of people because in the 1930’s women were to stay home and take care of the family and house. She was not happy about this because she had so many chances to be somebody and do something that she wanted. “’Nother time I met a guy an’ he was in pitchers. Went out to Riverside Dance Palace with him. He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was a natural. Soon’s he got back to Hollywood he was gonna write to me about it… I never got that letter.” She wanted to do something with her life and not end up where she is now but nobody believed in her. Now, she is a wife who gets very lonely on the ranch and just wants someone to talk to. “Sat’day night. Ever’body out doing som’pin’. Ever’body! An’ what am I doin’? Standin’ here talkin’ to a bunch of bindle stiffs—a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep—an’ likin’ it because they ain’t nobody else.” Another time she is talking to Lennie and says, “Why can’t I talk to you? I never talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.” She isn’t trying to hurt anyone; she just wants company and someone to talk to. She lived a lonely and sad life because she was trapped. Everyone else had rights to talk to people and go out and have a job; she wasn’t allowed to. She didn’t deserve to die; no one does. She was a victim of her own confinement and was just trying to find a way to make herself happy.