PK is an English boy who endures a great deal of abuse from the Boer children, some of whom are Nazi sympathizers until he is taught to box. There is such humanity and thoughtfulness in this story, it's got humor, but a great depth, too. I've read this book three times and each time it's as good as the previous read, if not better. It was difficult for a child to comprehend how horribly people could treat one another for no apparent reason. Enlarge cover. Prisoners must be made to know that they are subject to continual oversight.
At the end of the novel, Peekay uses all his boxing skills to defeat a grown-up Judge. Why or why not? Is religion, not just Christianity but also the indigenous African religion, portrayed favorably or unfavorably in The Power of One? Is there any one character whose opinions about religion you think most resemble those of the author? Do you agree with these opinions?
Does Courtenay make this character Jewish for thematic reasons? Does Morrie seem like a stereotypical Jewish character, or does he transcend stereotypes? What do you think lies ahead for Peekay?
Does he become the welterweight champion of the world? Share: Share on Facebook. Add to Cart. That hatred had been nourished for almost a century by the s, when The Power of One opens.
A century of bloodshed, oppression, resentment. The English seized the Cape area in , in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars, to deprive the French of its resources, and in took permanent control. The Boer republics were absorbed into British lands. The Boers were no fonder of their new rulers than they had been of the old. As English settlers began to pour into the country, rubbing up against the Boers, friction resulted.
This friction was exacerbated in when the British abolished slavery, a move offensive to the religious beliefs of the Boers. As before, the Boers responded by trekking deeper into the interior and establishing new republics.
In , the discovery of diamonds in one of these republics, the Transvaal, attracted the greedy attention of the British, who once again assumed control. Boer resentment at this high-handed treatment exploded in into full-blown war. The Boers won a decisive victory in , and the South African Republic was established.
But the discovery of gold brought renewed pressure from the English and ultimately resulted in the second Anglo-Boer war. Originally built to contain families whose homes had been destroyed by British scorched-earth tactics, the camps were squalid tent cities that became dumping grounds for anyone suspected of Boer sympathies.
Because most Boer men taken prisoner were held overseas, the white camps held mostly women and children; the black camps had large numbers of men. Poor hygiene throughout the camps, combined with meager rations, led to continual outbreaks of contagious diseases that could not be adequately treated due to a lack of medical facilities.
It is estimated that almost 28, Boers, most of them children under the age of sixteen, and nearly 15, blacks died from starvation and disease in the camps. They had ample reason to hate the British and little reason to forgive or forget, even after the Union of South Africa was established in with a primary aim of forging the Boers and the British into a single people. It has an almost mythological presence, one of a malign fairy tale, as when the Judge torments Peekay with talk of Hitler coming to march all the English into the sea—a monstrous updating of the Pied Piper of Hamelin legend.
Although the war ends a little more than halfway through the story, its impact continues to reverberate until the end of the novel, when the swastika-tattooed Judge returns, an emblem of the past.
This is only proper; after all, he is writing a novel, not a history book. Nonetheless, a brief overview of the history may provide helpful background for readers.
Although South Africa had become a dominion in the British Commonwealth in , and was therefore bound to Great Britain and the other dominions of the former British Empire by strict obligations of mutual defense, it was not a foregone conclusion that South Africa would enter the war on the side of England, or even enter it at all. When England declared war on Germany, Hertzog and his allies were more sympathetic toward Germany than toward England, their hated enemy since the Boer Wars.
Smuts had to worry about internal enemies as well. Support for the allies was such a close-run thing in parliament and in the general white population that he never dared to introduce conscription, although the army suffered from manpower shortages throughout the war. Smuts cracked down harshly, arresting and interning members of the Ossewabrandwag for the duration of the war.
Power of One. Discussion Questions. This will be graded as the preparation portion of the Socratic seminar. Please use complete sentences. Free Essay: “Inclusion, not exclusion, is the key to survival.” What does this mean ? To say the least, the definition is clearly stated in The Power of One, Chances are, the answer to these questions should be “no”. However, a small little boy.
It is important to note that these men and women, while extremists, were representative of a powerful and by no means unpopular strain among the South African citizenry, to whom their anti-Semitic and racist views, as well as their embrace of order by totalitarian means, proved highly attractive. How does Alderman use these characters to explore the theme of power? Were these convincing to you?
On page , she excerpts discussions from an online forum discussing Mother Eve. The voice says everything is more complicated than about Adam vs. Do you agree? At the end of the novel, the correspondence between Naomi and Neil reappears. What do their letters tell us about the future the world is set in? How did this book make you think differently about gender, or about power? Was it unsettling to you? Follow New York Times Books on Facebook and Twitter nytimesbooks , sign up for our newsletter or our literary calendar.