As he helps Hally with his English assignment, Sam creates a poignant simile that compares ballroom dancing to a harmonious world. If ballroom dancers perfectly perform their numbers, the dance is fluid, and no one bumps into one another. This is very different from real life, where people are constantly bumping into one another, physically and verbally. Sam laments that if humans could live life in the way that a champion, as opposed to a beginner, dances, then the world would be a better place.
“Springing to attention like a soldier and saluting” (Fugard 21) (Simile)
In this quote Fugard uses a simile to compare Willie’s behavior when Hally enters the tearoom to a solider saluting his superior or commander. The purpose of this is to illustrate how respectful and subordinate Willie and Sam must be to Hally because the younger man is white, though they are his elders.
“It was sort of sad bringing it down, Sam. And it looked sad again when it was lying there on the ground. Like something that had lost its soul” (Fugard 87) (Simile)
When Hally sees the kite lying on the ground, flying no more, it reminds him of a living entity that has lost its soul. Hally’s comparison of the kite to a living, breathing creature shows how lifelike it appeared when it was flying in the sky.
“How the hell am I supposed to concentrate with the two of you behaving like bloody children!” (Fugard 110) (Simile)
Hally’s comparison of Sam and Willie to misbehaving children demonstrates the tendency in apartheid South Africa to think of Black South Africans as children who don’t know how to care for themselves. Apartheid justified South Africa’s treatment of Black people by arguing that they needed to be ordered around and heavily policed for their own good. Similes like the one Hally uses to describe the older men were commonplace and held up as gospel truth.
“He struts around like a little despot, ruler in hand, giving vent to his anger and frustration” (Fugard 111) (Simile)
This simile is a testimony to the power Hally has over Sam and Willie as a white South African male. A despot is a ruler with absolute power over his subjects. To compare Hally to a despot is to say that he holds absolute power over Sam and Willie. Though somewhat hyperbolic, this statement does hold some truth within the context of apartheid-era South Africa, where white males held most, if not all, of the power.
Master Harold… And the Boys Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Master Harold… And the Boys is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.