Master Harold... And the Boys

Master Harold and South African Apartheid 12th Grade

Athol Fugard’s play, “Master Harold and the Boys,” is at its core a play that examines the complex race relations between two black servants and their white employer and the conditions of South African apartheid. The excerpt from “Master Harold and the Boys” sheds light on the psyche of individuals during apartheid in South Africa, revealing the injustices of the times, the capacity for hope, and the fragility of friendship.

Athol Fugard uses an extended metaphor to illustrate the injustices of apartheid in South Africa. In the passage, Sam, a black servant employed by Hally’s family, compares living life peacefully to a graceful dance. Sam comments that “we’re bumping into each other all the time.” The act of “bumping into” someone does not refer to the physical action, but rather paints a picture of conflicts of that people have with each other. Sam mentions countries bumping into each other, personifying countries as individuals with their own problems. This is external conflict; conflicts that arise from doing everything wrong and without guidance, or as Sam explains, from not knowing the steps and a lack of music. Sam hints at the external conflict between countries and even socioeconomic classes, but not whites and...

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