Chapters one through three tell us that the judge and the jury hate Peekay because he??™s a Rooinek and is English. Boers hate Rooineks because at one time the Rooineks held the Boers in concentration camps and abused them while they were there. Many Boers died in the camps as well. In the Boer War I, the Rooineks were defeated and those held in camps were released.
The lesson or theme that the author wants us to learn is that humans can be cruel to one another. As humans, sometimes we judge others without really getting to know who it is we are judging or even really why. Some people take a superior attitude over others and think they are better then certain people. This can often lead to hatred and abuse of those one feels superior over, which is what happened between the Boers and the Rooineks. In the book, Peekay is judged because he wet the bed. The Boers called him ???Pisskop??? because of this and were very cruel to him.
In chapters four through six, Peekay learns to hide by camouflaging himself. He camouflages himself in order to stay out of the way of the older kids who pick on him. Camouflaging helps him survive life at school and in general. Adapting and camouflage are related to the power of one by Peekay having to adapt to a new life and family, but having to camouflage himself in order to not get picked on and fit into his new life.
The power of one is the idea that one person, one mind, one heart, and one soul can conquer anything. The idea of the power of one allows this one little boy to stand up to all the older kids simply because he believes in himself. In other words, if you believe in yourself (the power of one), you can do anything.
Chapters 7 through 10, Peekay first befriends a woman on the train ride home who ends up dying right in front of him. While this was devastating for him, there is a much bigger loss that he faces upon arriving home. He finds that due to religious differences, his mother fired his nanny, the woman who was more of a mother to him than anyone else. He was very close to his nanny and finding this out made him want to leave home again.
Due to the losses Peekay had to suffer through, his perception of life was altered, especially how he viewed his mother. He feels very alone, which makes it even more difficult for him to believe in himself.
In chapters 11 through 15, Peekay finds work at a prison camp. He begins helping the prisoners get letters from home, tobacco, and other things. The prisoners end up calling him the Tadpole Angel, because he was just a little guy, but an angel to them. By the end of Book One, Peekay has been called three different names, Peekay, Pisskop, and Tadpole Angel.
It is significant that Peekay know his real name and remember it because by doing so, he is reminded of his old life and the people that he loved, and all that has happened to him. Remembering allows him to truly believe in who he has become because of all that he went through. As people, we are the total sum of what we go through in life at any given time.
Chapters 16 through 22.
I think Peekay??™s story could fit our definition for hero, but not necessarily myth. A myth to me is something not real, while Peekay??™s story could be very real. In some ways it parallels what happened between the Germans and Jews and the rest of his story could very well have happened to any number of people. Learning to believe in oneself because you are teased or misjudged by others is something that I think we all face at one time or another in lives.
As far as Peekay being hero, he is hero to those who saw him survive the various tragedies in his life and who heard about him. He is also a hero to those he helped, including the prisoners. As far as Peekay being a ???modern hero,??? I believe he is. He shows the reader how believing in oneself allows you to do just about anything. He teaches the reader that by believing in yourself and following the right path, you can survive just about anything.
Chapters 23 ??“ end
I believe that the real message of the book is that like Peekay, we are a lot stronger than sometimes we first believe we are. In addition, it is important to understand that by finding your inner strength and believing in yourself (using the power of one), you can accomplish a lot.
The book reminded me of how cruel some people can be and how judgmental some people are. It also reminded me that it is important to not let others get you down, but rather believe in yourself in order to achieve your goals. Overall, I think the book was very poignant. It certainly makes the reader think about how cruel life can be, while at the same time, teaches the reader how to survive cruelty by believing in yourself.