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.