The Power Of One

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The Power Of One – Book Vs Film Essay, Research Paper By Njari Gitonga THE POWER OF ONE The Book “Power of One” by Bryce Courtenary is based in South Africa. It is about a young English boy who is trying to battle his way to the top in a world that seems to have no place for him. His quench to be the welterweight champion of the world in boxing propels him to great deeds. It portrays the power that slowly blooms from inside of a lonely but ambitious heart seeking recognition. He ends up beginning a string of superstition amongst different African tribes, which consider him a god. The movie is scripted by Robert Mark Kamen (Rocky, Karate Kid) and directed by John G. Avildsen. It features Steven Dorff as PK, Morgan Freeman as Geel Peit and John Gielgud amongst others.

Here is a critical view comparing the book and the movie’s strong and weak points. CONTRAST: (a) Characters Peekay: In the book, we never get to know his real name. It’s interesting how he sails through his high school using just this one name. In the beginning of the story he acts as the narrator and never gets to tell us his name. He talks of all the different names that his hateful schoolmates called him. Most of these names, like pisskop and Roineck, were brought about by the fact that he was an English boy who had imposed great pain to the Afrikaners. Afrikaners were of German descent and had run to South Africa trying to hide from the wrath of the British and allies in the Second World War. It is during a brief episode with a man that implanted his great urge to box

that the name Peekay pops up. The movie tells us from the beginning of the name PK as initials to the name his mother gave him after his father; Peter Phillip Kenneth Keith. Doc: In the book, Bryce Courtenary brings him out as a intelligent and wise German scientist who spends his time planting and classifying different cactus plants. He is portrayed, as a humble man who has just enough to get him through his day to day wants. His khaki pants seem not to leave his body since that’s all he has. In one boxing match, Peekay felt very honored that Doc had used some coins, that he had sacrificed and won in a bet, to buy some candy as a gift. A moment that he greatly cherishes. They walk to most places since they do not have a better mode of transportation. In the movie, Doc is

portrayed as a well to do scientist/biologist. He owns a donkey called Beethoven, which he comes to pick up Peekay with, and even a camera. He seems to dress very decent and even change clothes. Geel Peit: He is an old lag from the Zulu tribe. In a system where the black man has no say, Geel Peit acts as the punching bag of the white man. The movie hardly shows him as intelligent as was intended to be. His work towards laying a foundation on Peekay’s boxing career is not put to emphasis as in the book. The character of Giel Peit is put to represent the African community and the oppression under white power. It’s noticeable that his part in the movie is briefly posted. Granpa Chook: This is one of the minor characters used to spice up the story. This is a black chicken that he

is given by the medicine man as a sign that his bed wetting disease had been cured. He is also given to him as a protector and friend. The movie names him as “Masibindi” which means mother courage in Zulu. Anna: She is a character found in the movie only. She is Peekays girlfriend. The director uses her to blend in hatred and apartheid in the nation of South Africa. Her father tries hard to keep her from Peekay who loves “Kaffirs” (Black Africans.) She sneaks out severally to meet Peekay and even goes against the word of her father in the name of love. She is the equivalent of “Juliet” of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in the set piece. Police Force: The main interaction with the police force in the book is in the prison holdings. The majority is arrogant, and