Master Harold Essay Research Paper

Master Harold Essay, Research Paper

“Master Harold”… and the boys by Athol Fugard, is based the relationship between Hally, a 17-year-old white boy, and Sam and Willie, two black men. As Hally falls victim to the attitudes of white supremacy and racial intolerances accompanying Apartheid policy, their lifelong friendship is destroyed.”It’s a bloody awful world when you come to think of it. People can be real bastards.” (Hally pp. 15) This “bloody awful world” this quote is referring to is an example of ignorance and the passiveness of its participants.

The idea of whites being of a superior intellectual class to blacks, a prejudice that still pervades modern society, emerges from the play as one of the predominant themes. A example of this can be seen when Hally and Sam argue over the value of ballroom dancing. Hally fails to recognize its simplistic “beauty” and consequently claims the activity to be a “simple-minded” expression of primitive black society. However, Sam is able to convincingly refute Hally’s prejudiced argument. Thus the injustice of such prejudice is highlighted as the white Hally is revealed to be the black Sam’s intellectual inferior.

Racial segregation shows a notion of white supremacy. This is explicitly reflected in the flying of the kite, a metaphor that shows how the obstacle of segregation can be overcome to form racial harmony. The kite’s successful flight implies to the reader that this barrier has been overcome. However the fact that Sam is unable to join Hally on the whites only bench in later in the book indicates how racism can split friendships in half. Another example of racialism is witnessed when Hally and Sam are recalling their days in the Jubilee Boarding House: “I got another rowing for hanging around the “servants’ quarters.” (Hally pp. 25)

The tone in the play is very much on the optimistic side, when it comes to the future. This is not the case for the tone of the play in the present. The tone of the play is exceedingly negative in the since that things may never quite be equal for Hally and Sam. When Sam says Then don’t say he s my boss (pp. 53) and Hally Replays He s a white man and that s good enough for you (pp. 53) it is made obvious that that Hally and Sam well never see each others as equals. This puts a completely negative tone on the future of the two men. Yet the book brings to light a positive outlook on racism in general for the future.

The issue of slavery has been the focal points of many books and plays over in years past. Master Harold … and the boys has a very unique and real approach to this whole issue of slavery. The subtle way the play gives a positive outlook on slavery is one that will stick to the minds of the readers. This is a very affective way for Fugard to get this point across.


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