Why Hally's father does not appear on the stage, but exerts powerful influence over him. Basically what it means to be a good father?
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Hally’s father never appears on stage but his imminent return catalyzes the main arc of the play, just as he exercises power over his son in his absence. Hally's father is an alcoholic bully who wields power disproportionate to his physical and mental condition simply because he is white and middle class. Hally is profoundly ashamed of his father’s behavior but refuses to admit his feelings. Regardless, Hally’s father has impacted his son's perspective in many ways without him realizing it. Hally is arrogant, prickly, and depressed. He has a tendency to lash out when he feels powerless. In addition, Hally has internalized his father’s racism which manifests itself in his treatment of Sam and Willie. Hally cringes and subordinates himself before his father, even after he mocks his mother for doing so. In fact, Sam has been more of a father figure to Hally, but the apartheid mindset prevents Hally from understanding the importance of Sam in his life.