In "Master Harold". . .and the boys, what is Willie dealing with in his personal life?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During the course of the play, Willie makes references to some of the issues that he is dealing with in his life.  First, his dance partnership with Hilda Samuels is suffering because she has not come to practice for several days.  Sam later gets Willie to admit that he has beaten Hilda and that this is likely the reason why she has not shown up to dance practice.  Willie blames Sam for setting him up with Hilda, but Sam makes Willie realize that he is responsible for his own actions and that he needs to do right by Hilda.  Further, Willie and Hilda have a child together, and Willie says that Hilda has reported him to the child welfare department for not giving her money to support the baby.  However, Willie says that he gives Hilda his entire paycheck (Hilda is never introduced as a character, so it is uncertain whether or not Willie does in fact give her money).  Later in the play, Sam reveals his metaphor of the dance as a representation of what life should be like, and it becomes clear that Willie's failure to get the dance with Hilda correct is symbolic of his failure to live his life righteously.

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"MASTER HAROLD" . . . and the Boys

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