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

"MASTER HAROLD" . . . and the Boys book cover
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What are the consequences of injustice which are inherent in the society in "Master Harold". . . and the boys?

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"Master Harold". . .and the boys suggests that the consequences of injustice in South African society are the loss of dignity and humanity. In the play, Hally recounts his best memory: the flying of the handmade kite with Sam. Hally was only a young boy at the time they flew the kite, so he only remembers the wonderful moments of that day—the freedom and awe that he felt seeing that makeshift kite fly. But in the present time of the play (1950), Sam fills in the details that Hally doesn't remember: Sam could not stay in the park and fly the kite with Hally because there was a "Whites Only" bench there. Sam and Hally have a father-son type relationship, and once Hally recognizes that his race gives him privilege in their society, he is torn on whether or not to exert his privilege. He wants Sam to call him Master Harold like Willie does, but Sam warns him that once he crosses that line, their relationship will never be the same. When Sam drops his pants and Hally spits on him, the play reveals the humiliating and devastating nature of segregation under apartheid—a system that hurts black and white South Africans alike. Under such a system, the consequences are loss of dignity and humanity.

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