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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What is Hally's relationship with his father in "MASTER HAROLD" . . . and the Boys?

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Hally has a negative relationship with his father, who is an amputee and relies on Hally to take care of him. Hally says during a phone call with his mother, "I'm not being disrespectful, but I'm sick and tired of emptying stinking chamberpots full of phlegm and [urine]." His father puts a heavy burden on Hally. Hally's father is also an alcoholic, and he steals money that Hally's mother gives him to buy liquor. Hally tells his mother that he's not going to be "the peacemaker" anymore, as he often intervenes between his parents when they are fighting. He tells her, "when the two of you start fighting again, I'm leaving home."

When Hally speaks with his father, he is not confrontational. He welcomes his father home from the hospital and refers to him as "chum," reminding him that there are some comic books for him at home. In Hally's relationship with his father, Hally is clearly the adult, and the father is the troublesome child. Hally is ashamed of his father, but he feels guilty about his shame and takes out his anger towards his father on Sam instead. 

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