The Power of One

  • Study Guide

Important Quotes Explained

Quotes Important Quotes Explained

"The music of Africa is too wild, too free, too accustomed to death for romance. Africa is too crude a stage for the small scratching of the violin, too majestic for the piano. Africa is only right for drums. The drum carries its rhythm but does not steal its music. Timpani is the background, the music of Africa is in the voices of the people. They are its instruments, more subtle, more beautiful, infinitely more noble than the scratching, thumping, banging, and blowing of brass and vellum, strings and keyboard."

This quotation is a monologue given by Doc on the night before they discover the crystal cave of Africa. Doc's speech underscores the pervasiveness of music metaphors in The Power of One and outlines the difference between "Africa" and "Europe" by means of their distinct forms of music. It is appropriate that Doc, the music teacher, speak these words since he symbolizes the classical European tradition of music which conflicts with the raw beat of Africa. The quotation reminds the reader of Doc's "Concerto for the Great Southland" which he later dubbed "Requiem for Geel Piet," as a tribute to his and Peekay's brutally murdered friend. It is important stylistically since it shows a deviation from Peekay's first person narrative-the great amount dialogue in the novel stresses the fact that Peekay's growth to adulthood is informed by the words of many other people. Here, Peekay allows Doc to speak in his own words.