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

"MASTER HAROLD" . . . and the Boys book cover
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What happens in the ballroom dance in "Master Harold". . .and the boys?

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In the ballroom dance in "Master Harold". . .and the boys, Sam says that people play out their dream of having a world in which there are "no collisions." Sam and Willie think it funny when Hally asks how many points are deducted in the competition when people bump into each other because they know that the dancers are so polished and professional that a collision would never occur on the dance floor. Metaphorically speaking, Sam is encouraging Hally to learn to be one who doesn't "bump" into other people like a beginner would—he wants Hally to learn how to treat others with kindness and respect. And Sam says that sometimes the beginners do bump into each other and when that happens everyone needs to just get up and try again. So the dance works in the play as a metaphor for a world in which people learn how to treat each other humanely.

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