Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Power of One: Chapters 4-6

In the novel The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay displays through the characterization of Peekay and Hoppie Groenewald that with the help of friends and “the power of one,” anyone can defeat who or whatever they choose. Peekay says he learned that the power of one is, “In each of us there burns a flame of independence that must never be allowed to go out. That as long as it exists within us we cannot be destroyed.” On his way to Barberton where his grandfather lives, Peekay meets a man named Hoppie Groenewald. Hoppie is a boxer and a guard on the train that Peekay is taking, and he becomes a mentor and one of his closest allies. Throughout the train ride, Hoppie looks after Peekay and takes good care of him. He makes sure Peekay gets good food to eat and does not make him pay for the food he eats. “‘You finish it. It will spoil my appetite for my mixed grill. You’re still going to have a mixed grill with me, aren’t you? I mean, I’m paying and all that.’” Hoppie also helps to be a good friend to Peekay. When he asked about how it would be for him to fight with the Judge, Hoppie says, “‘Who you want to fight, hey? What big kid gave you a bad time? Just you tell me, Peekay, and he’ll have to reckon with Hoppie Groenewald. I’m telling you, man, nobody hurts a friend of mine.’” Peekay learned a lot from Hoppie at the boxing match against Jackhammer Smit. When they first meet Jackhammer, he never stops taking badly to Hoppie and how their sizes do not compare. After Hoppie had defeated Jackhammer Smit, Peekay said, “It seemed certain now that small could beat big, all it took was brains and skill and heart and a play. A perfect plan.” He also says, “It was the greatest moment of my life. I had hope. I had witnessed small triumph over big. I was not powerless.” These relate to the problems Peekay had with the Judge and the jury at his boarding school. There sizes were much different which meant that they could easily beat Peekay. He learned from Hoppie Groenewald that size does not matter, but what matters is that a person should always be thinking and that everyone can overcome something if they have “the power of one” inside of them. 

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