Power of One Ch. 1-3 Prompt

In the novel, The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay illustrates through the characterization of the Judge and jury that it is easy to follow the crowd and draw conclusions about another without fully knowing him or her just because of the person’s background, or where he or she comes from. It is unchallenging to make assumptions of another because a certain group of people told one to think a certain way or believe certain things. The Judge and the jury all hate and torment Pisskop because he is a rooinek, or an Englishmen in a Dutch boarding school. This novel is set during the war between the English and Dutch over land in South Africa, so the Dutch kids in the school naturally hate the English. The Judge and the jury do not know Pisskop for who he really is, but they all hate him because he is English and on top of that, the jury follows in the footsteps of the Judge, believing what the Judge tells them. “To the boys at school, I was the first live example of the congenital hate they carried for my kind.” (3) The fact that this boy already knows that people will hate him illustrates that people are prejudiced towards others because of the person’s background. “ ‘This tattoo means death and destruction to all rooineks. And you, Pisskop, are going to be the first.’ ” (23) The Judge and jury assume that Pisskop is a dirty rooinek that needs to be killed, and they do not even know him. 

In the second chapter of the book, Pisskop accepts a chicken from the greatest medicine man in Africa, Inkosi-Inkosikazi. Pisskop takes the chicken with him when he returns to boarding school, and this companionship helps Pisskop get through all the torment he receives from the Judge and jury. “Finally it became clear that the toughest damn chicken in the whole wide world had no intention of deserting his friend, even if his own life was at stake.” (27-28) Pisskop understands that his chicken is there for him and that he is going to help him get through all of his tough times, including when Judge picks on Pisskop. The author elaborates on the friendship of Granpa Chook and Pisskop because he wants to display the type of friendship where a person is not judging another, but respecting him or her for who he or she is. However, in this novel, judgments are made without even knowing the person, leading to even more hatred and violence in that area.

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