a white boy, Hally, standing with eyes downcast in the center with two black men, Sam and Willie, standing on either side of him

"MASTER HAROLD" . . . and the Boys

by Athol Fugard

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 How does Fugard show racism in the play? 

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Hally Fugard, the seventeen-year-old son in the story, has been raised in the midst of apartheid South Africa. He's been taught that nonwhites are inferior. The two black men in his life, however, pose a conflict for Hally because they don't fit the racist beliefs Hally has been taught. One of them, Sam, has been a surrogate father to him, having to be there when his alcoholic father wasn't. Many times, we lash out at those we love the most because we figure they will be more likely to forgive us, and they understand why we're angry and afraid. This is what happens with Hally and Sam. Hally's father is coming home from rehab, and Hally is confused and conflicted about his feelings for his father. On one hand, he loves him, but on the other hand, he's ashamed of his father for the many times he's embarrassed Hally and mistreated him. Hally turns into a bitter child who turns on Sam. He spits in Sam's face, and Sam goes after Hally to hit him. Willie stops Sam from hitting Hally, and sums up the scene when he says, "Is bad. Is all bad in here now."

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