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.