Study Guide

The Power of One Isolation

By Bryce Courtenay


Let's zero in on the last word of the book's title, The Power of One. The "one" gives us an idea that this novel is going to be about an individual. But what you might not realize by looking at the cover is just how lonely that individual is. Even though Peekay finds some good friends along his journey, they are few and far between. The biggest lesson he learns is how to be an outsider and still make it in the world. Isolation is one of his secret weapons for getting past bullies and becoming a good student and even more excellent boxer.

Questions About Isolation

  1. Besides Peekay, which other characters have a special relationship with isolation in the book, and how does this shape their relationships with Peekay?
  2. Is isolation portrayed as a positive or negative situation in the novel? Why do you think so?
  3. Even though Peekay almost always has a best friend in the novel, he still defines himself as an isolated individual. How does that work?

Chew on This

The Power of One seems to promote the idea of isolation as a means to success, but it also shows the value of strong relationships.

In The Power of One, the narrator doesn't appreciate all of the people who care about and support him, and always feels isolated even though he has many friends.