“The Power of One”: Examining the Differences Between the Enlish Language and the Afrikaans Language
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“The Power of One” by Bryce Courtney is a novel that revolves around the
differences between the English language and the Afrikaans language. Peekay is the
protagonist who is tormented because he is the only English-spoken student in his
boarding school. His inability to speak the Afrikaans language makes him a target among
the boys in the school. He is often abused and tormented as they don’t not see him
acceptable in their eyes. The boys call him names such as, “pisskop” and “Rooineck”,
and they make him do horrible deeds such as eating human feces(Bryce Courtney). This
abuse and torment is carried on throughout his childhood. By spending a significant time
in the boarding school results in Peekay learning how to write and speak Afrikaans as
well as Zulu and Shangaan. These three languages were the most common spoken in
The Afrikaans language is the common language spoken in South-Africa. It is
estimated that over 6-million speak this language. It was originated by Dutch settlers
during the seventeenth century( The Afrikaners Language). It is considered one of the
indo-European languages. This language was a major part in the novel as it symbolized
power. Peekay could not speak the language so he was tormented and abused because he
was not like everyone else. Being raised in South-Africa and not knowing the most
commonly spoken language creates a barrier between Peekay and everyone else. He feels
he does not belongs with the rest of the children. Language was a very important aspect
that related to the character as it differentiated himself from everyone else.
The story took place during the 1930’s and 1940’s in South Africa. Peekay...
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... with humans so they believed that they had to connect with spirits to
get through Nkulunkulu. Peekay learned a lot from the Zulu people in South Africa as he
was raised by his Zulu nanny from birth.
"South Africa." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 03 June 2010. .
"African Tribes - Zulu People." African Safaris, African Tours, Africa Holidays and Africa Travel Guide. Web. 1 June 2010. .
Courtenay, Bryce. The Power of One. New York: Delacorte, 2005. Print.
"The Afrikaans Language." Easy Afrikaans. Learn Afrikaans Online. Web. 03 June 2010. .
Spark Notes: Today's Most Popular Study Guides. Web. 03 June 2010. .