Master Harold... And the Boys

Apartheid as a Cycle of Abuse in 'Master Harold... And the Boys' College

Athol Fugard’s 1982 play “Master Harold”… and the Boys takes plays in a 1950’s South Africa suffering under the Apartheid act and tells the story of a white seventeen year-old boy, Hally, as well as two of his parents black servants, Willie and Sam. The play begins with a more light-hearted tone, as Willie, Sam, and Hally dance together and have a wonderful time, which hints to the audience that Apartheid is not the way life should be. However, as the play continues Hally receives two phone calls from his mother regarding his father. The first phone call dampens his mood significantly, but after the second phone call Hally’s outlook is completely changed from what it was in the beginning of the play. He no longer treats Sam and Willie well and is no longer optimistic about race relations.

Hally’s phone call with his father is used as a device to show audiences that, much like Hally’s relationship with his father, Apartheid is damaging, toxic, and perpetual and systemic abuse. One of the clearest effects the second phone call has on Hally is the sense of fear it instills in him through the rest of the play. His sense of fear is initially present in the phone call itself, particularly through the lines “(Loudly) I said I hope you...

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