Friday, September 11, 2009

Question of the Week (9/11/09)

What role does music play, literally and metaphorically, in the novel? Is the concept of "music" a coherent or fractured concept within the novel? Answer this question after reading chapter 14. Post your comments and your response to a fellow classmate's comments by Sunday, September 13.

32 comments:

Alice.Rottersman said...

Literally, music plays the role of bringing things together in the novel. This is seen with Doc's piano lessons allowing he and Peekay to stay together, "Requiem for Geel Piet" connecting the tribes, and Doc's concert for the town quieting down the riot.
Metaphorically, music is common ground. The native Africans, the Boers, and the English all have some form of it, showing they are not so different. Music also describes Peekay's boxing ("You must box like a Mozart concerto" (249).)
Throughout the Power of One (or at least the parts we've read so far), music is used to link things in some way. This idea is constant, so I would consider the concept coherent.

Brendon said...

Wow, that is a perfect way of saying it. Music is seen through the book as a means of friendship. Shown by Peekay and Doc and Geil Pete. All of them benefit from the music. Also, it is constant, so i would also say the idea is coherent. I have nothing more to really say, that last post nailed it.

Emily Lohr said...

I agree with Brendon and Alice. The music in this book creates relationships and brings people together. Doc insisted on teaching Peekay how to play the piano in the early stages of their friendship and during the concert scene, all the different tribes are singing together in a unified way. Music is a coherent concept with the novel because it's consistently mentioned in one way or another. And the music is used to bring people together.

Sonya said...

Alice put it really well in saying that music is a way to bring things together. It brings all of the very different tribes represented in the prison together as one force during Doc's concert, as well as uniting both black and white for one night. In Peekay, music brings strength and concentration, especially in his boxing. He uses Doc's recommendation of visualizing different composers as he boxes, which helps him win. As shown by Doc's first concert in town, music can bring peace as well. Peekay says that the night of the concert in the prison, as he arrived at the prison, it felt different; as if there was less suffering. Music is a coherent concept in the book, as it is consistently mentioned.

Michaela Helble said...

As many people have already said, "music is a way to bring things together". This is definetly true because people don't have to speak the same language or share the same beliefs to appreciate music, as the story shows when Doc gives his concert.
Metaphorically, I think that Peekay is the music. What I mean by this is that music is the common ground for everyone (as people have already said), and Peekay is like that in the book. He brings everyone together and is able to share some aspect of every culture, therefore becoming the common ground of all the different tribes and people in the prison.
Music follows Peekay, whatever he does or wherever he goes, so music must be a coherent concept in this book.

Leah said...

Music, as my peers have stated, has a significant metaphorical and literal importance and coherance in this book. In my interpretation, Peekay is the conductor of this music, both literally (while during the "Concerto of the Great Southland"), and metaphorically. In my mind, he is creating a sort of music as he goes along. In each new person he meets, he finds a new aspect of the "music" -a new instrument, so to speak- that he manages to weave in with the rest, creating harmony and beauty where there was only dissonence before.

Alex Krass said...

I agree with what MIchalea said. I think Peekay is like the music because he brings all the people together by speaking thier languages and he doesn't hate anyy of the tribes in the prison. The music has the same affect of bringing people together and we saw this at Docs concert.

lynda said...

Like the others before me, I agree that music plays the role of bringing people together. An instance of this is when PK's mother, who normally looks down on music/dance/fun allows PK to play the piano and shes allowing him to box so I guess it also helps PK get what he wants or something

Kelsey said...

In chapter 14 especially, music played a very large role. Everyone has already done a great job of explaining it, but I'll try to add a little more. In both a literal and a metaphorical sense, the music brings all of the people from the jail together. Early in chapter 14, we learn that Doc used to listen to the different tribes of prisoners when they sang, and said, "Most of the songs were very beautiful, and even though he did not understand the words, he could hear in them the people's longing for their homes, their people, the comfort of their fires, and the lowing of the cattle in the evening." (p.282) This shows that they are all able to get together, and through music they are united, and able to sing about how they feel/what they are going through.

I think that metaphorically, music is friendship and as Alice said, "common ground". It brings everyone together, including the "workers" and guards at the jail. The black, the white, the English, the German were all bonded together in this one concert, finding something that they all had in common; the love of music.

Ms. Piro said...

These are great posts, but remember just because someone has written what you are going to write doesn't mean you should skimp on your post. To ensure you are receiving full credit make sure you are quoting and/or referring to a specific portion of the text. Read the question fully and make sure you are answering all parts of the question.

mason vogt said...

I think music represents peace and happiness in the novel. I agree with the fact that it brings all separate groups together, but it also gives Peekay something to impress his mother with. Music gives Doc an advantage, although he is German I think the author makes him impress others with his music, therefore softening the mean image of a nazi soldier or spy.

Megan Pattison said...

In chapter fourteen, music is used to bring everyone onto the same level. I think it acts as a tool for equalizing everyone. On page 288, Peekay is describing the sound of each of the different tribes. The way he talked about them made the whole scene seem hauntingly beautiful. The "Requiem for Geel Piet" tied everyone together.
I think the concept of "music" is coherent throughout the books because it's seems to always be there. After Peekay's first fight, Doc says "You couldn't lose, you was playing Mozart." Where Peekay's mother had found the Lord, I think Peekay has used music and education to help him through rough times. It appears that music is a big apart of his life, in every aspect.

I really agree with what Leah said. I love the metaphor she made of Peekay making his own music. I think the characters of the book definitely represent different "instruments." Some of the instruments are only present for a short time, while others are the underlying beat throughout the musical piece.

Chris W said...

Chapter 14 really showed how music was important in my opinion. Doc listened to the prisoners songs and they were really brought together through the music....
Even in boxing, which appears to be the most important thing for Peekay right now. Doc says he has to box like Mozart, I suppose that connects the two major parts, and then I guess that connects Doc and Peekay even more...

Erin Donohue said...

I agree with and also like the fact that Megan discussed how Peekay uses music and education to help guide him through hard times, similar to how his mom uses the Lord.

The fact that Doc created this concerto that represented each tribe within the jail demonstrates how a simple action (seen as nothing at first) can lead to the unification of all men regardless of nationality or color of their skin. His inspiration for the Concerto of the Great Southland is perfectly described on page 282: "Even though he did not understand the words, he could hear in them the people's longing for their homes, their people, the comfort of their fires, and the lowing of the cattle in the evening." Music is seen as a coherent concept within this novel because it opens/closes new passages within Peekay's life, and the people that he meets (acting as different instruments, as Leah originally said), create different sounds which he either respects and loves, or simply dislikes.

Sam said...

Music plays a very important roll in the book as it brings together almost every character. The primary reason Peekay is allowed in the prison is for music lessons. The kaffir workers use music to express themselves and have a good time.

I also agree with Chris W. One of my favorite references to music is how Doc insists that Peekay must dance his feet like Mozart in order to beat Kroon. This shows that even music is important beyond the sounds it makes.

As most everybody mentioned, music brings the blacks, whites, Germans, and English together to celebrate a common interest. Clearly being a coherent concept.

Jennie said...

Music is often used as a metaphore in The Power of One. When Peekay goes into the boxing ring, Doc gives him advice using Mozart's music as a metaphore for how to box. When he's scared, Doc says he can hear "only Wagner." Music also serves as a source of togetherness. In the prison, it brings together all of the tribes in the song Doc wrote. It also commemorates Geel Piet's death in the concert for the brigadier (in a rather ironic way...).

Lauren Hoh said...

I think literally in chapter 14, the music that Doc played brought all the tribes together and they really for one night got to do something that made them feel free again. I feel like it brought them a sense of their culture back to them when they were all singing and hearing the songs of their tribes. Music is also used as an example of how Peekay should dance in the ring and be light on his feet. Music is such an important part of this book both literally and metaphorically.

Daniel G said...

It was clearly shown in chapter 14 that physically brought together tribes, but it also meant more than that. They were all gathered together and singing songs, also together, and the songs had real meaning and tradition to them. Obviously, all of the prisoners understood the words that they, and others, were chanting, but when there was a feeling that came with the words beyond their direct meaning. Also, as they all sang together, different traditions of the tribes that were separate outside the prison were brought together, and a sense of unity came with all of this mixing. Also, Doc was able to write a piece of music for Geel Piet after his death, and this brought tears to many people. This shows that music more than anything can show the feelings that people have for even just one person.

Nathaniel brown said...

Music represents Peekay's ability to succeed. Through his lessons with Doc he has been able to impress his mother, who enjoys the attention Peekay's recitals bring. Docs analogy of music and boxing helps Peekay win his boxing match as well. Peekay and Doc also succeed in impressing the komandant with the success of their prison recital. Doc's music and the lessons he gives Peekay are at the heart of Peekay's recent good fortune.

Katie Callahan said...

I think that music is a common language that everyone is able to understand. Doc, a German who is suspected of being a spy is still respected because of his musical ability. Peekay is able to connect with and please his mother by using music and taking music lessons. The all African concert is another example. All of the different groups who hold grudges and havea animosity between them are able to join together and make something beautiful. Even the prison inspector thinks that the concert was a great idea and success. Music is able to bring together people who normally would not be able to be around each other.

Jeff said...

I agree with Katie. Music can be sung in Latin, which isn't even a language that people speak. Also, just instruments can be a language. Just because Doc and PK are of different backgrounds, they still share a common language. Doc is able to teach PK something that they both can enjoy together. This brings them closer. When Doc plays the piano in the concert, we all were able to see that music brings people together and makes them stronger. Before Doc met PK, he would have never played the piano again. But PK gives him strength. Also, in boxing, Doc tells PK to box like beethoven plays. This makes PK think and eventually win the fight.

Mallory said...

I also think that the music brings people together and creates peace for a short amount of time. During the concert even the warders appreciate the music even though they discriminate against the prisoners. Jeff also makes a good point. Peekay makes the connection of bowing and music and how beautiful the song is and how he can make boxing just as good.

Ella said...

Today during class, there was a quote put up on the board that talked about how music was a perfect charm to soothe and calm anything. I think that music demonstrates that it can really impact someone's emotions and I think that one could become in a different state when listening to music. I think a great example is at the tribal concert and that during the concert, the mood was completely different then before and after the concert.

Music's role in the book plays a more of a fractured role because music wasn't mentioned at the beginning of the book. I do however think that since music has been introduced and has been compared to (like when PK is boxing) that from this point on, music will be mentioned and talked about more literally and metaphorically through a coherent manner.

Jennie said...

I agree with what Nathaniel said: "Music represents Peekay's ability to succeed." While I was reading the chapter I didn't think of this at all, but after reading this post it makes a lot of sense. Peekay's mom wants him to take piano lessons (it will "up" her social status), therefore his music lessons please her. Music allows Peekay (along with all of the prisoners) to succeed in impressing even the officials at the prison. His ability to conduct all of the prisoners also impresses the prisoners themselves. The recital makes them all happier, and they worship Peekay even more for it.

Katie Callahan said...

I agree with Ella that before meeting Doc he didn't have music in his life. It seems that since music has become a regular part of Peekay's life he is happier. I think this is partially because he is making the people around him happier and that he himself is also happier. Before, he had no constant that could always be there. Now, music is all around him and will always be around him even if the people leave.

Robin Smith said...

Music represents a harmony that is not part of the rest of South Africa. All the tribes and different ethnicities of South Africa speak different languages and have different customs, whether they are German, English, Dutch or native South African. However they can combine their music to create something very good as demonstrated during the concert that the Doctor gives for the prisoners.

I agree with Alice that music is a way of bringing people together, no matter what circumstances they are in.

Daniel Alberta said...

I think that music plays a huge role in the book. It is what brings Doc and Peekay together and It also brings all of the different African tribes together. It is a real peaceful and calming way for the characters in the book to relax and forget about things for a bit

Daniel Alberta said...

I agree with Robin because by playing the music, Doc can bring all of the tribes together

Brendon said...

I am sorry I commented on a peers post. I just thought that if one person had already said the perfect response, it was not worth writing it again. If you want a part from the book. The concert for the camp, that is the perfect example. All of the tribes come together to sing as one. They do it so well.

George Papa said...

As some people have posted above the music in a literal sense is a way to bring people together. A good example of this was at the prison were all the prisoners came together in song. In a metaphorical this is a way for the people who are in music to have fun because the people involved in music have had hardships, the prisoners are in jail, doc was charged as a german to be taken in captivity and its a way to get away from their problems essencially

George Papa said...

I also agree with robin about how people of different tongues can come together, not by language but by song which language isn't needed as a mode of commmunication.

tylertorh said...

i agree with robin in the fact that different tongues can come together through the majesty of song
another example of music having a strong involvement in the text is how Peekay finds doc through music and their relationship finds its roots in the piano.
Also the fact that Doc writes a music piece that is the theme to Africa shows that music is prevelant throughout the text