Discuss the role of mentors in the novel. Who are Peekay's mentors and how do they influence him?
In the novel, Power of One, Bryce Courtenay demonstrates through the characterization of Peekay that mentors have an influence on a person's life ethic.
Hoppie is Peekay's first mentor after leaving his hostile boarding school environment. Hoppie teaches Peekay to accept himself and to always root for the underdog because regardless of what someone looks like we are all equal. During boarding school, Peekay is always marginalized for being English and this made him self conscience, but Peekay gives him a goal to work towards. He encourages Peekay to have a dream of being a boxer and gives him hope that his future will be better. “Mix-the-head with-the-heart you’re-ahead from-the-start, the wheels chanted until my head began to pound with the rhythm. It was becoming the plan I would follow for the remainder of my life; it was to become the secret ingredient in what I thought of as the power of one.” Hoppie supplies him with knowledge that Peekay will take to heart and live by later in life.
Big Hettie is another mentor Peekay has. Big Hettie is an Irish woman who has lived a hard life. Although she drinks alot she serves as a companion to Peekay on his journey. Big Hettie teachest Peekay about courage and pride. “Pride is holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it.” Although this seems like a foreign concept because it is the opposite of camouflage, it gives Peekay advice for challenges he may face later in life. When peekay asks how he could learn to hate she responds ".. plenty of time that, peekay. Better still concentrate on love, there is already too much hate in this land of ours. This country has been starved of love too long." This is teaching Peekay to not judge people or focus on hate rather try to embrace others and work on forming a more accepting society.
Doc is Peekay's latest Mentor. “The loneliness birds had flown away and I had grown up and made a new friend called Doc and had learned several new things.” Doc is an older german man, while Peekay is a young English boy. Though this bond seems unlikely the two men form a relationship that is not based on race. "the English and Germans are not so far apart" (150)" , he tells Peekay teaching him to not let their races challenge their friendship. Doc is teaching Peekay more than music but about how to approach life. By teaching Peekay to love music before he can play it , it teaches him how to take things slow in life. Doc is molding Peekay to be a culturally open young man.
Bryce Courtenay demonstrates through the characterization of Peekay that mentors have an influence on a persons life ethic.