This essay is a multicultural book-report. It includes page number references. The book takes place in South Africa during World War II and apartheid.
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay is an amazing display of apartheid in South Africa during World War II. The story follows Peekay, a young white boy, as he travels from a boarding school full of children who support Hitler, to a home with a Christian mother, to copper mines in Northern Rhodesia, all the while being surrounded by bigotry and racism. This is an incredible glimpse at the horrors that prejudice can bring, shown through the eyes of a boy becoming an adult in a racially discriminating society.
The story begins as Peekay suffers through boarding school with older boys who torment and tease him because he speaks English and they speak Afrikaans (p. 6). When he is returning home on the train, he meets a man who introduces him to boxing, and Peekay's life begins to form around this sport (p.
68). When he reaches home, he meets a funny man named Professor von Vollensteen, who he befriends (p. 143). The two become inseparable, and when the professor is sent to prison during the war because he is German, Peekay visits him nearly every day (p. 181). At the prison, Peekay joins the boxing team and becomes a very skilled boxer (p. 194). When he becomes a teenager, he receives a scholarship to a well-respected boarding school and joins the boxing team here, turning it from the worst in the league to the best in the league (p. 349). Throughout his whole childhood, Peekay never loses a single fight, believing that if he loses one he will never be welterweight champion of the world, his goal (p. 357). When he graduates...