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Power of One

Page history last edited by msward 11 years, 8 months ago

Introduction to The Power of One

by Bryce Courtenay




A Bit of Background:





Chapters 1-2                                       pages 3-36                              Due: Tuesday, October 2nd

Chapters 3-4                                       pages 37-70                            Due: Friday, October 5th        

Chapters 5-6                                       pages 71-101                          Due: Tuesday, October 9th         

Chapters 7-8                                       pages 102-142                        Due: Friday, October 12th  

Chapters 9-10                                     pages 143-206                        Due: Tuesday, October 16th      

Chapters 11-12                                   pages 207-255                        Due: Friday, October 19th

Chapters 13-15 (end of Book 1)            pages 256-320                        Due: Tuesday, October 23rd     






Chapters 1-4

BLOG PROMPT: What is the lesson or theme that the author most likely wants readers to learn about the nature of human cruelty and prejudice?



  • Completed before class on the assigned date Friday, October 5th         
  • The student responds to all parts of the prompt using clear, relevant details, examples, elaborations, and/or quotations to develop and support the central focus (thesis) of the blog response. The blog response is rooted in the text.  
  • The blog response be at least 2-3 well developed paragraphs.
  • The blog response is worth 10 points.


Chapters 5-6

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is it that Peekay has learned about camouflage so far?  How are the ideas of  camouflage and adapting to change related to related to the “power of one”?  What is the “power of one”?



  • Completed before class on the assigned date – Tuesday, October 9th          
  • Clear, relevant details, examples, elaborations, and/or quotations are used to develop the central focus (thesis) of the response.  The examples and details prove the thesis.
  • The student responds in a way that does not just answer the question, but moves the specific discussion forward.
  • The student will need to post one comment and respond to at least one other student’s comment (but may respond to more). Two random responses of the student's will be selected for grading. The two responses are worth 5 points each.

VoiceThread on Main Page of Class Website

Chapters 7-8

READING QUIZ ON Friday, October 12th   




CLASS DISCUSSION: Are people products of their environment?



  • Preparation work for the class discussion is completed prior to our discussion date – Tuesday, October 16th       
  1. INDIVIDUAL PREPARATION: Be ready to discuss: did you prepare by finishing your group's assignment, reflecting on your reading, and writing the required text-rooted paragraph? Use ideas from your small group discussion during the large class discussion to further assist you.
  2. USE OF EVIDENCE: Use direct quotations, paraphrases, and specific evidence from the text to support your comments.
  3. MOVE DISCUSSION FORWARD: Discussion involves challenging fellow students, asking others to clarify their assertions, and asking questions of your fellow students - this enriches the discussion and illustrates your knowledge of the material as well. Do not simply restate what others before you have already said.
  4. RESPONSE AND REFLECTION NOTES: Take notes during the discussion to use in responding to elements with which you agree and/or disagree.

This response is worth 20 points.


Class Discussion and Student Response



BLOG PROMPT: So what?  What is the take-home message or theme of the novel?



  • Completed before class on the assigned date – Tuesday, October 23rd      
  • The student responds to all parts of the prompt using clear, relevant details, examples, elaborations, and/or quotations to develop and support the central focus (thesis) of the blog response. The blog response is rooted in the text.  
  • The blog response be at least 2-3 well developed paragraphs.
  • The blog response is worth 10 points. 















Chapters 1- 2

    • Mewling - (v.) to cry weakly, whimper – page 3
    • Stentorian - (adj.) extremely loud; powerful or booming voice; a stentorian voice – page 4
    • Keening - (n.) a loud, wailing lament for the dead – page 10
    • Obsequiousness - (n.) full of or exhibiting servile compliance; fawning, submissiveness – page 11
    • Cicatrization (n.) - To heal or become healed by the formation of scar tissue, as in branding or tattoos – page 23


Chapters 3-6 Vocabulary

    • Querulous (adj.) - Given to complaining; peevish. – page 37
    • Consternation (n) - Fear resulting from the awareness of danger – page 42
    • Jocularity - (n.) - Characterized by joking – page 56
    • Parlance - (n.) - Conversation; discourse; talk; diction; phrase; as, in legal parlance; in common parlance. – page 71
    • Diaphanous (adj.) - Of such fine texture as to be transparent or translucent – page 77


Chapters 7-10

    • Neophytes (n.) - Recent convert; beginner or novice – page 159
    • Incongruous (adj.) - Lacking in harmony; incompatible – page 165
    • Esoteric (adj.) - Intended for, understood by few – page 180
    • Punctilious (adj.) - Following fine points of etiquette. – page 180
    • Fervent (adj.) - Greatly emotional, fevered


Chapters 11 - End of Book One

    • Equivocation (n.) - Page 207, The use of ambiguous language; using noncommittal language
    • Recidivist (n.) - Page 207, One who has in tendency to lapse into a previous pattern of behavior, esp. criminal activity.
    • Imperious (adj.) - Page 211, Arrogantly domineering or overbearing, urgent pressing
    • Tedium (n.) - Page 211, Boredom; monotony
    • Abhorred (v.) - Page 214, To regard with loathing
    • Expatriate (v.) - Page 216, To exile, banish
    • Fracas (n.) - Page 218, A rowdy fight
    • Onerous (adj.) - Page 223, Troublesome or oppressive; burdensome
    • Feint (v.) - Page 245, Feigned attack designed to draw defensive action away from the intended target.
    • Contrite (adj.) - Page 246, Repentant, penitent
    • Recalcitrance (n.) - Page 259, Stubborn, resistant
    • Aberrant (adj.) - Page 266, Straying from right or normal way
    • Perfidy (n.) - Page 308, Deliberate breach of; treachery
    • Iniquitous (adj.) - Page 311, Sinful, wicked
    • Erratically (adv.) - Page 315, Lacking consistency or uniformity; irregularity. 


Extra Credit Opportunities:

There is so much history and so many personal stories to learn about as we study South Africa and its history of apartheid. To help you become better acquainted with the people and history of this time, you'll have an opportunity to do some independent exploring. Below you will find a movie and book recommendation list. Select one book or movie, either from this list or one you discover on your own, have both Ms.Ward and a parent/guardian sign the attached permission form, and start reading (or watching). Once you've finished, write a 2-3 page report on your selected piece. Your written report should NOT be a book report. Instead it is a narrative reflection that incorporates aTHEME from the movie or text and connects it to what we have been studying. Finish this assignment by OCTOBER 31, 2012, and you can earn up to 10 extra credit points!



  • "Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony" is a 2002 documentary film depicting the struggles of black South Africans against the injustices of Apartheid through the use of music.
  • "Confronting the Truth" is a 73 minute documentary about the work of commissions in Peru, South Africa, and East Timor in telling the truth about what has happened and working towards reconciliation. 
  • "Cry Freedom" (1987) is the story of Steve Biko’s murder in police custody and the risks a white journalist takes to tell this story.
  • "In My Country" (2004) dramatizing the "Truth and Reconciliation" project and the spirit of "ubuntu" ("I am because we are"), in contrast to "eye-for-an-eye" justice.
  • "Invictus" (2009) This drama based on real-life events tells the story of what happened after the end of apartheid when newly elected President Nelson Mandela used the 1995 World Cup rugby matches to unite his people in South Africa. 
  • "Sarafina!" (1993) is the engaging story of the Black youth uprising in Soweto.
  • "South Africa Close-Up" (2004) is a documentary about two teenagers living in South Africa.
  • "21 Up South Africa: Mandela's Children" (2006) The concept of the Up Series -- documentaries that revisit a group of children every seven years -- is brought to post-apartheid South Africa. Here, filmmaker Angus Gibson interviews 11 young people of various races and backgrounds as they turn 21. The result is an insightful look at how they've changed and the issues they face such as crime, race relations, education and the AIDS epidemic -- which has killed three of the original 14 children. 




  • Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton is the story of a white father forgives the father of the black man who kills his son.
  • July's People by Nadine Gordimer is a classic. For years, it had been what is called a "deteriorating situation." Now all over South Africa the cities are battlegrounds. The members of the Smales family - liberal whites - are rescued from the terror by their servant, July, who leads them to refuge in his village. What happens to the Smaleses and to July - the shifts in character and relationships - gives us an unforgettable look into the terrifying, tacit understandings and misunderstandings between blacks and whites 
  • Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane is written with courage and conviction. Mark Mathbane's reveals the extraordinary memoir of growing up in a world under apartheid.
  • The New Century of South African Poetry edited by Michael Chapman is the ultimate overview of South African poetry, reaching from its earliest manifestations in the oral culture of the land's indigenous inhabitants to the complexities of post-apartheid verse. It includes translations from the country's many languages, discovering hitherto hidden voices as well as placing in context the best-known names of our rich poetic heritage.
  • Spud by  John van de Ruit is one you'll want to pick up. It's 1990. Apartheid is crumbling. Nelson Mandela has just been released from prison. And Spud Milton - thirteen-year-old, prepubescent choirboy extraordinaire - is about to start his first year at an elite boys-only boarding school in South Africa. Cursed with embarrassingly dysfunctional parents, a senile granny named Wombat, and a wild obsession for Julia Roberts, Spud has his hands full trying to adapt to his new home. Armed with only his wits and his diary, Spud takes readers of all ages on a rowdy boarding school romp full of illegal midnight swims, raging hormones, and catastrophic holidays that will leave the entire family in total hysterics and thirsty for more.


More about literary elements:


  • Motif
  • Symbol
  • Microcosm
  • Myth


More about South Africa:


Reading Strategies:

  • Use glossing to help you better understand complicated passages.
  • Check out an audio version of the book from our school library to listen to as you read.  This can help those you slow down and hear the words if you read along with the audio book.
  • Keep track of the major plot points, quotations, and themes using our plot grid.  This will help you see the big picture of what is going on in the story.
  • Check out this summary of The Power of One after you've read a selection. It will help you check your comprehension of what you've just read.
  • And here's a great list of reading strategies to help you check your understanding. 





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