The Power of One - Response 1 - Chap 1-3 - Life Issues
In the first three chapters of The Power of One, the author Bryce Courtenay, introduces several life issues to the main character, whose name is not revealed, but is called a pisskop and a rooinek. The protagonist learns what is like to be different. He is English, but everyone else is Dutch. He learns the hatred and bullying the minority received. In the future, it is possible that the protagonist may feel remorse for the Africans who are beaten and repressed. He knows what it is like to have a friend, who he calls Grandpa Chook. The protagonist also learns how to complacently take abuse from the bullies.
In his private school, the protagonist is often beaten by the judge and his friends. On page five, he is urinated on by older kids. On pages 46-47 he is forced to eat human feces while tied to a tree. All of this happens because he in English while the others are Dutch. Even his teacher is mad at him for being smart; she beats him till he starts bleeding on page 33. In the future, the protagonist may feel remorse for the Africans who are beaten and oppressed. When the apartheid starts, the main character may feel unwilling to go along with it, because he knew what it was like to be persecuted for being different.
The main character also knows the benefits of having a friend. He has Grandpa Chook which he keeps and becomes quite attached to. He also makes acquaintances with the younger kids to try and find some protection against the Judge. He makes alliances with people in power, in this case Mevrou, the dormitory guard. The protagonist has learned how to align himself with powerful people and find friends to take him out of his worries.
On page 44, the protagonist tells the Judge what he wants to hear to avoid persecution, even though he called his mother a “whore.” He learns how to be complacent to his tortures to avoid future pain. He understands that if he upsets the Judge, he will be punished.
The main character has learned several life lessons throughout the book. First he learns the pain and torture of being different. Next, he discovers what having a friend, and making power acquaintances can do. Lastly, he learns how not to upset those who have power over you.