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

"MASTER HAROLD" . . . and the Boys book cover
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Why are the historical elements in "Master Harold" relevant to the relationships among the 3 main characters?

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In order to understand, and appreciate, Athol Fugard's play MASTER HAROLD....and the Boys, one has to further analyze the historical context of the play, and the social context in which it is developed. This is what, ultimately, helps to explain the connection of these two elements to the relationships of the play. 

Athol Fugard wrote MASTER HAROLD....and the Boys for two reasons. First, to expose the injustice of the Apartheid system. Second, Fugard uses his play to publicly confess how he, too, as a young man, was affected by this system. Fugard needed to sort of "ask for forgiveness" by exposing a horrible incident that he caused and led to severing ties with his black, best friend. However, we find that it is not so much Fugard who is to blame: it is the social manipulation that Apartheid brought with it which is primarily to blame. 

Fugard's play takes place in the 1950's where Apartheid had just become a way of life. The term "Apartheid" was not coined until much later, but it was...

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