With the characterization of Peekay, Bryce Courtenay presents in the novel The Power of One that it is helpful to have friends and elders to guide someone in their life. The mentors in Peekay’s life have all helped him in different aspects of life. All of these people have given him simple words of advice on how he can be successful in the future. His first main mentor is Hoppie Groenewald who told him, “First with the head and then with the heart, that’s how a man stays ahead from the start.” This means that a person must have the knowledge of how they will encounter a problem and then have a passion to continue and persevere. Peekay says, “He had given me the power of one-one idea, one , one mind, one plan, one determination. Hoppie had sensed my need to grow, my need to be assured that the world around me had not been specially arranged to bring about my undoing. He gave me a defense system, and with it he gave me hope.” This demonstrates the fact that Hoppie had only been with Peekay for a short time, but he taught him a lot about the power of one person.
Another mentor that Peekay learned from was Big Hettie. She had accompanied Peekay on his journey to his grandpa’s house. When he asked her about where hate in a person comes from, she told him that many people have pride and courage. Peekay did not know what pride was, so he asked Big Hettie and she said, “Pride is holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it.” She reminded him of these words the moment she was dying. Big Hettie had also said to Peekay, “You will be a great fighter, I know it.” Peekay tries to remember the thoughtful words his mentors give him, so eventually he will remember Big Hettie’s advice if he decides to become a fighter. The last mentor is Professor Karl von Vollensteen, but to Peekay he is known as Doc. Doc is a professor that asked for Peekay to join him on searches, and in exchange, Peekay will receive piano lessons. Doc is one of his mentors because he teaches Peekay how to play the piano and gives him knowledge about nature and humans. Doc tells Peekay, “Your brain, Peekay, has two functions; it is a place for original thought, but also it is a reference library. Use it to tell you where to look, and you will have for yourself all the brains that have ever been.” This is telling Peekay that all of the knowledge he will need in life is not in other people but in himself.
The people that have made the most influence on Peekay’s life are not the ones who stay in his life for an eternity, but they are the people that Peekay is with for a short time. They learn his personality quickly and have the perfect advice to give him that he will always remember. Peekay remembers these people for what they said to him and the impact they had on his life.