Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Question of the Week (12/10/10)

In The Power of One, violence is a day-to-day certainty for our protagonist Peekay. Give several (3 or more) examples of how Peekay manages this violence using evidence from the text. Do you think violence always perpetrates more violence? Are there exceptions? Or is standing up to an aggressor in a non-violent manner more successful? Discuss your reasons, again citing examples from the text using MLA format. Don't forget to respond to a classmate's response. Enjoy your weekend.

18 comments:

Haiti quilter said...

One way that Peekay manages violence is to yell insults at the judge and the jury. "I suddenly spat at him. "You're dog shit! Your ma a whore"(50). He only says this because he is extremely crushed after the death of his beloved grampa cook. Another way that Peekay manages violence is just to take it and do nothing. "What are you, Pisskop?" "A piece of shit"(44). I would respond. He realizes that he could never take on the whole jury and the judge, so he just accepts it. The final way that Peekay responds to violence is to go to his "happy place." As they tied the dirty piece of rag over my eyes, I would take three deep breaths. Immediately I would hear Inkosi-Inkosikazi's voice, soft as distant thunder"(45). He would take his mind to the three waterfalls while his body was being tortured. I don't think that violence always follows violence. i think that this is especially true if there is a big kid and a little kid or if the kid who is being bullied is outnumbered. I don't think that standing up to the aggressor is always the best way to deal with your problems. When Peekay stood up to the judge he got beaten up even more. "He pushed violently downward with his foot, sending me sprawling"(50). But by not crying it caused the judge to go into a fit and was like an attack on him without actually being violent. "Then he let out a howl, a mixture of anger and anguish. "Why won't you cry, you fucking bastard" (50).

Parker said...

Peekay manages the violence by putting himself in a different happier place while the abuse is going on. He puts himself in the land of the water falls that Inkosi-Inkosikazi set up for him within his imagination. Peekay also manages the violence by having Grandpa Chook around. The chicken is the only source of happiness and strength that Peekay has. During this part of the book Grandpa Chook is the only support Peekay has. Peekay also manages the violence by putting up a camouflage to make himself invisible. This camouflage makes him blend in easier. I don't think violence always perpetrates more violence. I think that violence usually makes people tougher on the inside. And sometimes that toughness can turn into anger and violence can come out of that. But, Peekay at this point in time has not been violent, even though he has been a victim of violence. I think standing up to an aggressor in a non-violent way is much more effective, because it shows emotional and internal strength. Anyone can be violent, but it takes real strength to stand up to someone you fear.

anthony said...

I agree with Parker that Grandpa Chook helped him get through some of the violence. I think Peekay clings to other people frequently as a way to get through it. Another example of this is when Big Hettie hugged him when he was worried about the boxing match. Another way he deals with violence is by ignoring it and just waiting for it to end. This is when he imagines the place with the water falls. Another way is that he tries to not stand out at all because he doesn't want to get involved with it. He thinks he will be safe if nobody notices him. I don't think violence always creates more violence and a non violent response is often better

Oren said...

I agree with Parker in saying that he escapes the violence he encounters by hiding away in his mind.
I think that Peekay has three different ways of getting through violent situations. His first defense against violence is hiding in his head by the waterfalls and the stepping stones. This gives him a peaceful state of mind from which he can shelter himself against what is going on outside. "Down there in the night country I was safe from the storm-troopers," (45). Another way Peekay gets away from the violence is he tries to blend in and use his camouflage. "We all jumped to our feet and, thrusting our arms out in the manner of his own, yelled, 'Heil Hitler!'" (31). Peekay also deals with the violence by standing up to it, as he did so with the Judge after the death of Grandpa Chook. "I suddenly spat at him. "You're dog shit! Your ma is a whore!" (50). I think that a violent response to violence most always perpetuates more violence because at the heightened level of aggression the only options are retaliate or back down. I think that a peaceful reponse to violence can often perpetuate violence, but it has a great potential to end the conflict in a peaceful way.

Parker Gardner said...

I think that Peekay’s main way to mange violence is by detaching himself from his suffering and being indifferent to the torture inflicted upon him by his classmates. Peekay learns from Inkosi-inkosikazi that he can shelter himself by going to an imaginary place of calm and comfort. “With another part of my mind I would visit Inkosi-inkosikazi. Down there in the night country, by the three waterfalls, I was safe from the storm troopers, who were unable to harm me or make me cry.” (45).
The night country by the waterfalls is his safe place but when this way of managing violence fails as it does on his last night at school, “I tried to get down to the safety of the night country, to the three waterfalls, but fear rose up in me…and I was unable to detach myself.” (46), he finds another way to mange violence. He manages it with pride and courage, something he will learn about in latter weeks, when again he needs it. “I suddenly spat at him [the judge]. "You're dog shit! Your ma is a whore!" he defies the judge’s efforts to make him cry and is pushed by his pain and sadness of grandpa chooks death to retaliate against his oppressors. As I have shown, I agree with Oren that Peekay manages violence with mental indifference and also with courage and defiance. I think that violence does not always incite or perpetuate more violence. In the past, people have shown great strength and moral value by stand strong but peacefully for what they believe in, even in the face of violence and harm. Although violence often causes people to retaliate and be violent, history has shown that peace is often a more active, constructive, and decisive tool against violence. Peace can end pain but violence can only prolong a cycle of violence.

Kate Kerin said...

I agree with all other blog posts saying that Peekay manages violence by blending in, retreating into his mind, or occasionally fighting back. Peekay learns from the beginning of the book that camouflage is important to his survival at boarding school. Peekay does not show off his intellegence at school because he fears he will be hurt for it, he says "mediocrity is the best camouflage known to man." (31) He also retreats into his mind while being bullied, "Down there in the night country, by the waterfalls, I was safe from the storm troopers, who were unable to harm me or make me cry." (45) He is shown this place by Inkosi-inkosikazi and often goes there while being bullied. Lastly, Peekay sometimes retaliates, “I suddenly spat at him . "You're dog shit! Your ma is a whore!" (50) In the first 100 pages of the book Peekay does not retaliate often, but when he is made very upset he does fight back. I do not think that violence always perpetrates violence but most of the time it causes a reaction that tries to prevent that violence.

Hudson Schuchman said...

Peekay is able to manage the violence that he has to endure by disconnecting his mind and body. He retreats to the three waterfalls inside his mind to help himself calm down. Another way as the other posts mentioned that Peekay deals with the violence is that he tries to blend in. He tries to simply be like all of the other people and he believes that maybe people will leave him alone. Finally, He has hope that over time, the violence will end and that no one will bother him.
I believe that although people do stand up to violence with more violence, it is not uncommon for people to respond to violence with mental violence and they will retaliate with words. I also believe that even though people always say that standing up to violence in a non violent manor with be more successful, often standing up to violence with or without using violence back isn't always successful.

David W. said...

I agree with Kate and everyone else who said that Peekay manages the day-to-day violence he is faced with by escaping to his special place in his mind (with the waterfalls and what have you), blending in with his surroundings (or "camouflaging" as he puts it), and (very rarely) fighting back.
An example of how Peekay escapes to his special place can be found on page 45, "Down there in the night country, by the waterfalls, I was safe from the storm troopers, who were uable to harm me or make me cry" (45). I think Oren found an excellent example of how Peekay blends in to avoid violence, "We all jumped to our feet and, thrusting our arms out in the manner of his own, yelled, 'Heil Hitler!'" (31). The one very obvious example of when Peekay finally retaliates is after granpa chook is killed, "I suddenly spat at him. "You're dog shit! Your ma a whore"(50).

Eleanor S. said...

Although standing up to a violent bully by non-violent means is morally right, it doesn't always bring an end to the violence. Quite frequently, your aggressor will become further enraged by your lack of response and try even harder to provoke you. When Peekay is being tormented by the Judge and his crew of would-be-Nazis, he does what they say and repeats the responses expected of him. He says that "the physical damage wasn't too bad ... [he] only got hit if [he] dropped the iron bar too soon or ... [he] failed to answer one of [the Judge's] ranting questions fast enough for his liking" (44). I agree with everyone else who has said that Peekay can endure the physical violence because he distances himself mentally from what is going on and goes to his happy place. Peekay tries to avoid violence by keeping his head down and blending in with the crowd, like when he pretended not to be as smart as he was so as not to make the other kids jealous. Peekay "quickly realized that survival means never being best at anything except being best at nothing" (29). Eventually,"it became increasingly hard for the other kids to think of [him] as being different when no visible or audible differences separated [them]" (30).

David Desaulniers said...

I agree with Anthony, in that violence always creates more violence and a non violent response is often better. This is true since when Peekay seeks out camouflage instead of ways to hurt The Judge which shows his main goal for peace. Another time when peace turns out to be the better is when Peekay has a friend that is a chicken named Grandpa Chook. He treasures his one friend and this really shows how the chicken relies on others to feel happy. So with peaceful jesters in this book comes more peace, and with angry moves delivers more anger.

Marlou Taenzer said...

I agree with Eleanor when she says that although standing up against a bully is the morally correct thing to do it does not always end violence. As she said the aggressor can become even more enraged. I also agree with the people that said he can distance himself from the physical abuse by going mentally to his quiet place. ""Down there in the night country, by the waterfalls, I was safe from the storm troopers, who were unable to harm me or make me cry"(45). Peekay has to endure much physical abuse form the Judge and his Nazi friends. "Although they would leave me trembling for hours afterward,the physical damage wasn't too bad. I only got hit if I dropped the iron bar too soon or for one or two other conditions, like when the Judge got very excited or I failed to answer one of his ranting questions fast enough" (44). If he didn't do what they wanted from him he would probably get into even more trouble. "They expected me to make the mistake so that they could all pantomime back" (44). I think it is best to try and solve matters in a non violent way first. And in an ideal world that is how it would always be. However some situations require that violence is used. It is important to keep proportion in mind though and to not do anything completely unreasonable.

Emily said...

I agree with Kate and Parker in that Peekay escapes from all the violence in his life by disappearing into his mind. When he is tied to the tree he goes to the place where Inkosi Inkosikazi brought him to solve his "night water" problem. He also has mastered being able to blend in. He has figured out that if he doesn't stand out, he wont get as much negative attention. When he discovered that he was really good at math, he camoflagued by getting some wrong so he wouldn't get attention. He also did this with the language he speaks. He does his best to avoid being singled out as English, and his Afrikaans is good enough that he can blend in.

Daniel said...

I agree with Emily that Peekay escapes from all the violance from disappearing in his mind. He Tries to stay unpopular and to not stand out. Peekay does go into his speacail place where Inkosikasi Inkosi told him to go. But most of all he tries not to do anything that is wrong and punishable. Peekay is really abuse mostly because he does not cry and that shows that he is really brave and strong. He manages the violance by using Granpa
Chok as an example of strength and sees him as Peekays role modle. Peekay is abused a lot throughout the beging of the book.
I do think that violance perpetrates more violance. I think standing up to an agressive person non violently is good. Martin Luther king did it and because he toaught others not to stand up and fight it changed the world. He got rid of slavery because of his nonviolant movement. I think that being non violent my make someone angry but also shows that you are still strong.

erbear508 said...

When the Judge and storm troopers are performing their final torture on Peekay, the Judge :"placed his bare foot on my shoulder," (49) and asks Peekay: 'What are you Englishman?' 'Dog shit, sir.'" (49-50). This quote shows that Peekay deals with his abuse by doing what the Judge and his storm troopers want. They want him to think and say he is dog shit so he does it because he knows it is the only way he will survive the abuse faster. I agree with Emily that he also escapes the torture by going to a friendlier, better place, "I tried to get down to the safety of the night country, to the three waterfalls..." (46) He tries to protect him self by going into another world where he isn't abused and tortured.

Meryl said...

I think that Peekay deals with violence in a very different way than most. He is constantly being out down for who he is, but he doesn't let it get to him. I agree with Emily and Daniel that one way that Peekay escapes this violence is to escape to a place in his mind. When he has rock thrown at him, he goes to the place where he solved his "night water" problem. The other way that Peekay deals with this violence is to get back at the Judge in some way. When the Judge is teaching him how to march, Peekay says that he won't have time to march if he is going to be doing the Judge's homework. The other way that he does this is by saying that he can't just make all of the Judge's homework right, he has to build up to it. By doing these things, Peekay is getting back at the Judge for being so mean. He is finding his own form of torture. The last way that Peekay deals with violence is by finding his strength in not ever crying while the Judge is being violent. By doing this, he shows himself that he is strong and can stand up for himself in some way.

Carl Tischbein said...

I agree with all the above people with how Peekay manages violence, but I think the biggest thing he uses is his camouflage. In chapter 2 he declares that "the holidays had blunted my sense of survival: adapt, blend, become part of the landscape, develop a caouflage, be a rock or a leaf or a stick insect, try in every way to be an Afrikaner." (23). He then resolves to not crying: "They'll never make me cry again!" (25). Lastly, he always tries not to ruin his camouflage. For instance, when he wants to help the Judge with his homework, he has to consider his camouflage: "If I blew my camouflage and helped the Judge with his homework so that he would pass, would he not be forced to spare Granpa Chook and me if Adolf Hitler arrived before the end of the term?" (39). Here we can see that Peekay's best way to manage violence is just to fit in with everyone and avoid being different and sticking out. I think that Peekay took this route because it was easiest, and since he is just a kid, he down;t know that it's not the best way. Violence does not always perpetrate more violence because a lot of people (like Peekay) just let things go and do not fight back, because they don't want to stick out, and the violence stops there. I think many times however, violence does result in violence, but no always. A lot of people have a bad temper and will create more additional violence then there was beforehand. I think Peekay's way of standing up to the violence is kind of cowardly, although he doesn't really understand that. I think he just needs to face his fears and stand up to the Judge, although it may have some harmful side effects, although the cowardly way may be easier.

sam merrens said...

Peekay is exposed to way too much violence as a small child, so much so, that it becomes a routine. Every day he is harassed by all the kids at the boarding school, and then at night the judge and jury beat him up as their prisoner. Sometimes they were just a child’s vision of violence and power, as the judge held him “Prisoner of War,” but then things got serious. "He pushed violently downward with his foot, sending me sprawling"(50) and then there was verbal abuse: "What are you, Pisskop?" "A piece of shit"(44), "Why won't you cry, you fucking bastard" (50), etc. Peekay tries as best he can to “camouflage” himself by listening and keeping quiet, and only speaking when he is sure it will not harm him. But after a while he becomes fed up and tries his luck at freedom: "You're dog shit! Your ma a whore"(50) he yells at the judge. This does not help his situation. Then he gets beaten up more and has to eat some poop. There are more stealthy methods of retaliation, than partaking in the verbal violence of the judge. For example, he could have put poop into the judge’s lunch and poisoned him. I agree with no one and everyone, at the same time. Mostly because everyone used the exact same quotes.

Alli said...

I agree with Parker. His main defense is to escape to his "happy place" so he can feel safe and have time to recuperate. "Down there in the night country, by the three waterfalls, I was safe from the storm troopers, who were unable to harm me or make me cry.” (45). He tries to redeem himself but he's starting to feel anger and seems like he can't reach his happy place."'What are you, Pisskop?' 'A piece of shit?'"(44). Peekay is so desperate to escape the horror he is in but he's constantly struggling, and he just keeps getting angrier. "'I tried to get down to the safety of the night country, to the three waterfalls, but fear rose up in me…and I was unable to detach myself.” (46)'" Peekay is at his boiling point and just can't hold back his anger anymore he finally just doesn't want to up with it anymore. “I suddenly spat at him. 'You're dog shit! Your ma is a whore!'" Peekay just could not hold back his anger and escape to his happy/safe place as he wanted to do. Violence can lead into more violence, which is what is generally assumed, but it may also teach the other person a lesson saying that they won't put up with them anymore and it could potentially end. Peekay is handling this very maturely considering he is very young and has been exposed to so much. I don't blame him for standing up to the judge and not holding back anymore. Both are successful but since Peekay's attempts to escape to his happy place didn't work very well, violence was the only way in his mind for it to end. I think that this was very helpful because it can give him the courage to stand up to the bullies in his life.