Master Harold... And the Boys

Challenging question - Compare and contrast the ways in which Hilda Samuels and Hally's mom are portrayed in the play

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In "Master Harold". . .and the boys, Hally's mother and Hilda Samuels may be compared and contrasted based on their apparent relationships with their significant others. Hally's mother appears to appease Hally's father--she does not want Hally to upset him when they speak over the telephone. The reader can conclude that when the father is home, the mother takes care of his every need (Hally comments that when she is not around, his father makes him empty his chamberpot). Hally's father appears to be a gruff character, but his mother supports him nonetheless.

Similarly, Hilda Samuels remains partnered with Willie and the two have a child together even though Willie is physically abusive towards her. He admits that he hits her when she cannot get the dance steps correct, but she has not broken off her relationship with him. However, unlike Hally's mother, Hilda does assert herself and makes her feelings known through her actions. She has not shown up to dance practice all week, and Sam deduces that since Willie hit her on Sunday, she has not come to practice all week because of the abuse. She probably knows how important the dance competition is to Willie, so she uses it against him to voice her protest of how he treats her.