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The Power of One

Bryce Courtenay

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen, page 2

page 1 of 2

Gert Marais' heavyweight final is the last match of the championship-in the final round, the opponent knocks Gert unconscious and the Barberton Blues think the warder must be dead. Peekay analyzes: "Gert had, as usual, fought with too much heart and not enough head. If only he had known about Mozart." On the ride home Peekay replays his own championship final in his head, as though it is a strip of film that he can edit at will.

At Sunday school, Pastor Mulvery makes silly jokes about Peekay's bruised ear. Peekay often asks provocative questions in Sunday school, such as whether black and white are equal in heaven. Pastor Mulvery advises him not to ask such foolish questions. Peekay's mother still tries to convince him to become a born-again Christian but he refuses. Marie, on the other hand, surrenders to his mother's pleas and becomes a "soldier in the army of the Lord." Peekay observes how the born-again Christians are all attempting to buy "real estate" in heaven. His mother forces him to teach Dum and Dee from a Shangaan Bible. Dum and Dee have trouble believing the story of Jesus Christ--they cannot imagine a white man sacrificing himself for everyone's sins since most of the white men they know only punish black people for their sins. The Old Testament, however, accords more with their own stories and legends. Pastor Mulvery and Peekay's mother lurk around the Barberton hospital like "storm troopers," trying to proselytize unsuspecting patients. Peekay's mother prays with Marie, asking the Lord to cure her of her acne--the pimples miraculously disappear. Peekay realizes, however, that Doc advised Marie to change her diet at exactly the time of the prayers. Peekay asks Doc why he did not mention this to him. Doc replies as follows: "It is illogical for a man to be too logical. … When a truth is not so important, it is better left as a mystery."

Geel Piet tells Peekay that the Zulu men believe that he is a Zulu chief in a white man's body since no one but a Zulu could fight with such bravery. The black prisoners already knew of Peekay's victory before the news arrived. At the next Barberton Blues training session, Lieutenant Smit praises both Peekay and Geel Piet. He has organized for the prison photographer to come to take a team picture. Geel Piet stands to the side but Smit invites him to join them. Klipkop, followed by most of the team, refuse to have their picture taken with Geel Piet. The only ones left in the picture are Peekay, Doc, Gert, Geel Piet, and Lieutenant Smit. A few weeks later, Smit is promoted to captain, and he destroys all copies of the picture.

The photograph captured the exact moment when I understood with conviction that racism is a primary force of evil designed to destroy good men.

Doc and Mrs. Boxall continue to stimulate Peekay's precocious mind--Doc takes care of Peekay's scientific, musical, and Latin education, while Mrs. Boxall focuses on English Literature. They also introduce him to chess. Peekay comes first in his class every term. A new teacher, Miss Bornstein, arrives at his school and she captivates Peekay with her beauty. She wishes to meet with Peekay privately, and after testing his Latin, she challenges him to a game of chess. Peekay concedes the game, annoying Miss Bornstein. He apologzies, and Miss Bornstein gives him permission to call her "Sam" in private. Doc decides that Peekay is in love. With Lieutenant Smit's promotion to captain, the kommandant appoints Borman to fill the lieutenant position. Borman terrorizes all the prisoners and is highly suspicious of the Peekay-Doc-Geel Piet triumvirate. World War II is beginning to draw to a close, causing Doc extreme excitement at the thought of regaining his freedom.

Miss Bornstein's grandfather, Mr. Isaac Bornstein, becomes Doc's chess partner. Miss Bornstein begins to help Mrs. Boxall with The Sandwich Fund. Peekay discusses his love for Miss Bornstein with Doc and Geel Piet, and together they decide that Peekay should send her roses. Geel Piet says that roses always do "the trick." Peekay wonders what "the trick" is--a friend of his explains, and he cannot imagine doing that with Miss Bornstein. Peekay provides us with a concise history of Mr. Isaac Bornstein. As a Jewish man, Bornstein escaped to South Africa from Germany in 1936. He and Miss Bornstein are the only Jews in Barberton.

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Peekays Analyzing

by FranklinDC, August 25, 2013

After some reflection Peekay realizes that he possesses the "physical and intellectual equipment" needed to survive the school system


2 out of 6 people found this helpful

Movie vs Book

by wp061599, July 26, 2015

the movie is not even remotely close to the book

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