Study Guide

The Power of One Coming of Age

By Bryce Courtenay

Coming of Age

The Power of One, in a nutshell, is all about coming of age. It starts with the protagonist's birth and ends with him becoming an adult, and doesn't leave out much detail in between. It really packs in the lessons and morals, and almost all of the obstacles that the protagonist has to overcome are symbolic of larger problems in society, like intolerance, racism, a repressive State, and plain old meanness. Growing up is not for sissies, and you might take comfort in the fact that your growing-up doesn't include quite as much torture and violent deaths as Peekay's.

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. Do you believe that Peekay has finally grown up at the end of the novel? Why or why not?
  2. What is the obstacle that is most difficult for Peekay to overcome as he grows?
  3. Who are the guides that Peekay meets on his quest, and how are they different from one another?

Chew on This

While Peekay claims to have grown up at age six, he actually still has a long way to go before he becomes a man.

At age six Peekay has learned everything he needs to get by in the world; the rest of the novel is just him applying the principles he discovered as a child.