In the novel, The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay illustrates that having someone to guide another can really influence that person and shape his or her views on the world. On the train ride home, Peekay meets several new characters that he begins to look up to, even though he has not known these people very long. Hoppie, the train guard, is the first person Peekay encounters on his journey. Hoppie repeatedly tells Peekay in the short time they spend together, that even though the odds might be against Peekay, he should always remember this saying, “ ‘First with the head and then with the heart, that’s how a man stays ahead from the start.’ ” (103) He gives Peekay hope that no matter what the circumstance is, even if there is absolutely no chance that Peekay will win, it is always possible. “I had known him a little over twenty-four hours, yet he had managed to change my life. He had given me the power of one – one idea, one heart, one mind, one plan, one determination…He gave me a defense system, and with it he gave me hope.” (103) By meeting Hoppie, Peekay begins to grow up and mature, but he still has this innocence. Hoppie is the first one who starts to influence Peekay’s identity, by telling him he has the power of one, but at the same time, Peekay still wants to blend in and be camouflaged.
After Hoppie leaves Peekay, he is watched over by Big Hettie, the second person who starts to influence Peekay. Peekay still believes that camouflage is the only way to survive, but when Big Hettie says, “ ‘Pride is holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it,’ ”(115) it slowly starts to sink into his mind that it is okay to stand out. Peekay does not understand what all of this means now, as he is only six years old, however, conversations like these will influence Peekay later on in his life. When Doc, or Professor von Vollensteen starts to teach Peekay, he also says that it is much better to be different, and not follow the crowd, even if he is wrong. “ ‘Always listen to yourself, Peekay. It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention. If you are wrong, no matter, you have learned something, and you will grow stronger.’ ”(157) This is against Peekay’s ideas of blending in, but all of these mentors who tell Peekay to be different are slowly influencing him, even if he does not realize it.