"MASTER HAROLD" . . . and the Boys Questions and Answers
by Athol Fugard

"MASTER HAROLD" . . . and the Boys book cover
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In "Master Harold". . . and the boys, what condition are Hally's clothes in according to the stage notes describing his entrance? What does this suggest about his home life?

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In "Master Harold". . .and the boys, Hally's clothes are wrinkled and he looks unkempt when he enters the scene. Hally is seventeen, so one assumes that he should be able to look after his own personal hygiene, but Hally is in a low mental state and is not concerned with his appearance. His parents are distant in his life with his mother consumed by his father's physical ailment and his alcoholism. So Hally's parents are not around to look after their son's well-being. Hally's home life is not stable, and we later learn that—at least from Hally's perspective—his mother is not emotionally strong enough to stand up to his father and that when his father is home there is much discord. Hally's unkempt appearance is a symbol of his cry for help and support.

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