Monday, February 28, 2011

THe Power of One Ch. 17 Reading Journal

1.       Chapter 17, page 349-378
2.       In chapter 17, Peekay has now grown and is fighting as a bantamweight, and is successfully winning his matches, with crowds growing more and more as the season goes on. He and Morrie had been making a lot of money off of bets and the Boarder’s Bank. Peekay also is going through puberty, which he finds difficult, and he feels like he is sinning every day and he then realizes how much other people had shaped him. Later, Peekay and Morrie were both candidates for Singe ‘n’ Burn’s “Sinjun’s People”, which was a great honor. Of course, Peekay and Morrie had made a place for bets for this occasion. Although Peekay was doubtful that neither Morrie nor he would be accepted, both were accepted and became part of Sinjun’s People.
a.       Morrie Levy
b.      “Hitler murdered six million Jews. He had to round them up and rail them to the death camps, and the world wept for man’s inhumanity to man. But underneath it all is the feeling that the Jews should have fought, should have resisted, should have died defending their kith and kin, should have died like men.” (366)
c.       1. Smart
2. Reliable friend
3. Businessman
4. Cunning
5. Strong-willed

d.      Morrie had a big influence on Peekay, changing who Peekay was. All of Peekay’s friends before were older and usually adults. The only kids somewhat his age he had known before were from the previous boarding school, and they were not kind. Morrie was Peekay’s first real friend who was his age. Peekay could confide in Morrie and know that he wouldn’t tell anyone, unless it would help Peekay as well.  Morrie has Peekay’s back and they help each other. They are peers and business partners.
4.       An important quote in this chapter is, “‘I’ve never been ashamed of who I am, except when I was made to feel that way the first time I went to boarding school. It’s-well, it’s just that I don’t want any Christian gentleman feeling sorry for me because my mum hasn’t two bob to her name.’” (377) This is important because it shows Peekay’s feelings. Although he narrates the novel, and we do hear his opinions throughout the story, we had never heard his feelings about who he is and how he feels about his past. This sums up who he has turned into and how he feels about the events he had to endure throughout his childhood.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Power of One Ch. 12-15 "This I Believe" Response

I reviewed the essay What Makes Me Feel Big written by J. Frank Dobie. In this essay, he talks about his personal beliefs. However, his beliefs are not just religious beliefs. He hits on almost every topic, such as honesty, and personal values. Dobie also writes about what he believes in beautiful. “For me, the beautiful resides in the physical, but it is spiritual…Not all hard truths are beautiful, but beauty is truth.” This essay makes him sound like someone who believes in many things, but knows who they truly are. He can believe in evolution and thinks it is fine to have faith, if you do not do so blindly. Dobie likes people thinking, having their own thought and mind. He doesn’t want to be part of the status-quo or just another blank face. He enjoys the simple things of life and his mind relentlessly thinks about freedom, justice, truth, and goodness.

J. Frank Dobie wrote, “However, I believe in questionings, doubtings, searchings, skepticism, and I discredit credulity or blind faith.” This can relate to The Power of One written by Bryce Courtenay. Peekay during Sunday school would always have some questions to ask the teacher, searching for more insight on a religion he was skeptical about in the first place. However, the teacher, Mrs. Kostler, who has blind faith, discouraged Peekay to ask any more questions. “We mustn’t question the wisdom of the Lord. When you are born again, you’ll understand his infinite wisdom and you won’t ask such silly questions.” (258) Peekay still hasn’t really understood the whole Christian “thing” and constantly doubts the Lord’s powers and his followers. Peekay throughout the novel had a constant questioning mind, always looking for more answers.  Dobie also wrote, “I make no pretense to having rid myself of all prejudices, but at times when I have discovered myself freed from certain prejudices, I have felt rare exhilaration.” Throughout the book, we have seen that Peekay isn’t as racist as most people then, but yet still isn’t completely freed of being a prejudice. The same day Mrs. Kostler told Peekay to stop asking questions, Peekay had asked if black was equal to white in heaven. After a hard explanation, Peekay goes and asks, “Will they still work for us?” (258) He still sees blacks as workers and below him, however he later says, “The photograph captured the exact moment when I understood with conviction that racism is a primary force of evil designed to destroy good men.” (265) So in this way Peekay is very similar to Dobie, he can be racist, but yet knows it’s wrong.

I can relate to this essay because I like to focus on the good things and what makes me happy, or “big”. In the essay, it states, “We actually believe in what we value most. Outside of the realms of carnality and property, which men appearing in public generally pretend not to notice, I believe in and draw nourishment from whatever makes me feel big.” I believe in my family and friends, which are the most important thing in my life. They make me smile and make me strive to be a better person. I believe in the people that give me hope when I am down. When people start believing in things that either don’t help them or isn’t something/someone they should believe in, they can become hurt, estranged, or dangerous. I make an effort to believe in the good things in life. If you keep looking at the negative, it won’t get any better. Why dwell in sorrow?

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Power of One Chapter 7-9 Prompt

In the novel, The Power of One, written by Bryce Courtenay, the main character, Peekay, had lost his childhood from many traumatic experiences he had faced. The journey from his boarding school to his new home made him grow up fast. “The two days between the first tackies and the snuggly fitting ones I now wore were the beginning of the end of my small childhood, a bridge of time that would shape my life to come.” (122) Peekay had grown up and learned so much from the people he met on his journey and the new experiences he had never faced before. His journey opened up his eyes to a new perspective and culture. Peekay’s childhood ended very abruptly, “As I sat on the rock high on my hill, and as the sun began to set over the bushveld, I grew up. Just like that.” (142) Peekay let go of his lonely feelings and decided it was time to grow up and face the world.
Since Peekay’s childhood ended, his perspective on life and loneliness had changed. The boarding school he attended almost forced him to grow up and learn to adapt on his own. His adaptation in life was his camouflage, of not showing fear. “Of course, she did not know she was dealing with a veteran of interrogation and punishment since I had suddenly grown up on the hill, I was uncrackable. A real hard case.” (147) He became resistant to punishment or fear. Being grown up, he thought it meant not being scared, and it almost made his heart resistant and cold. Also, Peekay’s perspective of loneliness had changed quite a bit. “The loneliness birds had flown away and I had grown up and made a new friend called Doc and had learned several new things.” (148) Peekay was done dwelling on the past and the people from the past, and wanted to focus on the people who he was with and who he had fun with. Peekay, being mature and all, decided to forget the past and have fun with the present, and even if there will be punishments, he won’t be afraid.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Power of One Ch. 4-6

In The Power of One, written by Bryce Courtenay, Peekay’s allies on his journey are Hoppie and Henry Crown. Henry Crown was a shoe seller, and gave Peekay the name Peekay. “Peekay! Ja, that is a nice name for a brave person who is traveling by himself to the lowveld to meet his granpa.” (58) Henry was nice to Peekay, and also gave him multiple suckers for him to enjoy. He helped Peekay find his shoes, although they did not fit, and gave him more confidence.  Hoppie became Peekay’s good friend while they were travelling together and learning about boxing. “While my faith and my love were invested in my beloved friend, I’d been around long enough to know the realities of big versus small. Big, it seemed to me, always finished on top, and my heart was filled with fear for my newfound friend.” (90) Peekay finally found a friend, and cared enough about him to worry about him. Also, Hoppie was against Hitler and his actions. “Hitler is a bad, bad man and we’ve got to go and fight him so you can grow up and be welter-weight champion of the world.” (86) Not only did Hoppie agree that Hitler was a bad man, but also, Hoppie had faith in Peekay, which little have before. Also, Hoppie gave Peekay a dream and knowledge of becoming a boxer. “‘I know,’ I said excitedly, ‘you keep it coming all night into the face until you close his eye, then he tries to defend against what he can’t see and in goes the left, pow, pow, pow, until the other eye starts to close. Then whammo!’” (84) Peekay had found a new passion and he was excited to learn about boxing and how to fight bigger guys, like the Judge. Both of these men helped Peekay to grow as a person and to be more confident about him.