The Power Of One Character Analysis

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“The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay is a novel which illustrates the harsh truths of the systematic racism faced during South Africa’s apartheid. Throughout the novel Courtenay displays the main character Peekay’s growth and transition from a child to a man who grows up surrounded by the oppression of the South African people. Courtenay uses Peekay’s unprejudiced and independent spirit to show how one person can help to heal the tensions between the oppressed and the oppressor. From a young age Peekay is forced to become independent because of the isolation he faces during his first time at boarding school. Despite facing bullying and abuse; this allows Peekay to spend pivotal years of his childhood forming his own opinions based on his worldview and not the view of others. This is shown when Peekay goes with his friend Hoppie to buy tackies and shows the Indian shopkeeper the same respect he had shown the Caucasian shopkeeper earlier on. “‘You’re a funny little bugger, Peekay. You don’t call a blery coolie ‘Mister.’ A coolie is not a kaffir because he is clever and he will cheat you any time he can. But a coolie is still not a white man!’” (Courtenay, p80). In this line Hoppie is surprised by Peekay’s open attitude towards people of a different race. This not only shows how unknowingly tolerant Peekay is but also that his opinions do not shift because of who he is around.…show more content…
As his independence grows while he gets older he uses it to make his own path on which he constantly tries to live with a mindset of equality. While Peekay is limited in how much he can do for the South African people throughout the novel, he still tries to make the most of his privilege and uses it to help better others lives. Courtenay delivers the message of tolerance through Peekay and his journey, showing that success is not limited by social status but instead by internal

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