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Master Harold and the Boys An introduction to Athol Fugard’s play.

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Presentation on theme: "Master Harold and the Boys An introduction to Athol Fugard’s play."— Presentation transcript:

1 Master Harold and the Boys An introduction to Athol Fugard’s play

2 “Master Harold” in Real Life Considered Fugard’s most personal play Considered Fugard’s most personal play The play draws heavily from his childhood The play draws heavily from his childhood Fugard’s relationship with his father was a rollercoaster of emotion Fugard’s relationship with his father was a rollercoaster of emotion Harold Fugard, crippled from a childhood accident, was a jazz pianist, ladies man, alcoholic, and racist bigot. Harold Fugard, crippled from a childhood accident, was a jazz pianist, ladies man, alcoholic, and racist bigot. Subjected his son to “pointless, unthoughtout prejudices” Subjected his son to “pointless, unthoughtout prejudices”

3 The play relates a boyhood incident which involved himself and which haunted him for years until he tried to atone by writing this play in The play relates a boyhood incident which involved himself and which haunted him for years until he tried to atone by writing this play in 1982.

4 Apartheid Apartheid: Afrikaner for separateness; apartness Apartheid: Afrikaner for separateness; apartness Petty Apartheid: Everyday racial discrimination such as marriage restrictions, segregated facilities, jobs, elevators, cinemas, restaurants, housing and education Petty Apartheid: Everyday racial discrimination such as marriage restrictions, segregated facilities, jobs, elevators, cinemas, restaurants, housing and education Grand Apartheid: Political and racial discrimination Grand Apartheid: Political and racial discrimination

5 Four major points “Separate development” of South Africa’s four racial groups “Separate development” of South Africa’s four racial groups Total white control Total white control The overruling of black interests for white interests The overruling of black interests for white interests The categorization of whites (Dutch/Afrikaners/English/European) The categorization of whites (Dutch/Afrikaners/English/European)

6 Four racial groups The Africans/Black: comprised of nine district nations (Zulu, Xhosa, Venda, Tsonga, Pedi, Tswana, Swazi, Ndebele, and Sotho); The Africans/Black: comprised of nine district nations (Zulu, Xhosa, Venda, Tsonga, Pedi, Tswana, Swazi, Ndebele, and Sotho); The Coloureds: mixed black, Malayan, and white descent; The Coloureds: mixed black, Malayan, and white descent; The Asians: Indian in ancestry; The Asians: Indian in ancestry; The Whites: Dutch (Afrikaner/Boer) and British Isles(Anglo) descent The Whites: Dutch (Afrikaner/Boer) and British Isles(Anglo) descent

7 History of Apartheid IN 1948 the new race policy was institutionalized and enforced in the already racially segregated South Africa IN 1948 the new race policy was institutionalized and enforced in the already racially segregated South Africa For the next 50 years, South Africans would be forced apart, imprisoned and murdered in the name of white domination. For the next 50 years, South Africans would be forced apart, imprisoned and murdered in the name of white domination. By the end of Apartheid in 1994, hundreds of thousands of South Africans would be detained, tortured, or murdered. By the end of Apartheid in 1994, hundreds of thousands of South Africans would be detained, tortured, or murdered.

8 Themes Anger and Hatred Anger and Hatred "Master Harold"... and the Boys presents in vivid detail what happens in a society constructed in institutional anger and hatred (apartheid). "Master Harold"... and the Boys presents in vivid detail what happens in a society constructed in institutional anger and hatred (apartheid). The policies of the South African government in the mid- 1950s legislated a certain amount of hatred and anger between whites and blacks. Sam, long a victim of these official and traditional policies, has attempted to transcend the hatred and anger. He acts as a surrogate father to Hally, fortifying the boy's sense of well−being (both through kind acts such as building the kite and through allowing the boy to teach him what he learned in school) and imparting his wisdom to Hally in a series of life lessons (his dance hall metaphors for peaceful coexistence). The policies of the South African government in the mid- 1950s legislated a certain amount of hatred and anger between whites and blacks. Sam, long a victim of these official and traditional policies, has attempted to transcend the hatred and anger. He acts as a surrogate father to Hally, fortifying the boy's sense of well−being (both through kind acts such as building the kite and through allowing the boy to teach him what he learned in school) and imparting his wisdom to Hally in a series of life lessons (his dance hall metaphors for peaceful coexistence).

9 That a seventeen−year−old can spit in the face of a black man without even the thought of repercussions shines a harsh light onto the institutional policies of hatred that were fostered in South Africa. That a seventeen−year−old can spit in the face of a black man without even the thought of repercussions shines a harsh light onto the institutional policies of hatred that were fostered in South Africa. Hally must also cope with his own feelings of anger and hatred toward his father, feelings that are conflicted by his simultaneous love for his father. After each of the telephone calls, Hally becomes dark and sullen. The humanitarian affirmations he had been espousing prior to the phone calls evaporate into confusion and anger. Hally must also cope with his own feelings of anger and hatred toward his father, feelings that are conflicted by his simultaneous love for his father. After each of the telephone calls, Hally becomes dark and sullen. The humanitarian affirmations he had been espousing prior to the phone calls evaporate into confusion and anger.

10 Even though Sam is the recipient of the most vicious insult, it is his father who is the true focal point of Hally's rage. Societal taboos and restrictions prevent Hally from telling his father what he really thinks. Those same societal influences allow Hally to redirect this anger and frustration to Sam without fear of consequences. The aftermath, however, is far more destructive than any punishment, as Hally must carry with him the knowledge that he has gravely wronged one of his truest friends Even though Sam is the recipient of the most vicious insult, it is his father who is the true focal point of Hally's rage. Societal taboos and restrictions prevent Hally from telling his father what he really thinks. Those same societal influences allow Hally to redirect this anger and frustration to Sam without fear of consequences. The aftermath, however, is far more destructive than any punishment, as Hally must carry with him the knowledge that he has gravely wronged one of his truest friends

11 Human Rights The South African system of apartheid comes under heavy attack in "Master Harold". The South African system of apartheid comes under heavy attack in "Master Harold". Instead, it is the society that the system has created that is criticized. It is not merely that racial prejudice is legislated in South Africa This prejudice weasels its way into every facet of life, so much so that the language begins to reflect the disparity of power where black men are forced by law to be subservient to white children. Instead, it is the society that the system has created that is criticized. It is not merely that racial prejudice is legislated in South Africa This prejudice weasels its way into every facet of life, so much so that the language begins to reflect the disparity of power where black men are forced by law to be subservient to white children. The young Hally with the appropriately immature nickname transforms into "Master Harold" in the context of the prejudicial attitudes promoted by apartheid. The young Hally with the appropriately immature nickname transforms into "Master Harold" in the context of the prejudicial attitudes promoted by apartheid.

12 On the other hand, Sam, the white boy's mentor and surrogate father, is regarded as the "boy," a second class citizen who is looked down upon. Yet Sam's maturity and honor are clearly shown in his compassion, humanity, and sense of what is right and wrong. On the other hand, Sam, the white boy's mentor and surrogate father, is regarded as the "boy," a second class citizen who is looked down upon. Yet Sam's maturity and honor are clearly shown in his compassion, humanity, and sense of what is right and wrong. Within the culture of the play, there is nothing unusual about a white child hitting or degrading a black man. It would have been unheard of for the black man in the South Africa of the 1950s to strike back, however. His anger and frustration could only be released on those even more dispossessed: black women and children. The white child hits the black man, the black man hits the black woman, the black woman hits the black child. It is a system in which violence spirals downward in a hierarchy of degradation, as evidenced in Willie's abusive relationship with his dancing partner. Within the culture of the play, there is nothing unusual about a white child hitting or degrading a black man. It would have been unheard of for the black man in the South Africa of the 1950s to strike back, however. His anger and frustration could only be released on those even more dispossessed: black women and children. The white child hits the black man, the black man hits the black woman, the black woman hits the black child. It is a system in which violence spirals downward in a hierarchy of degradation, as evidenced in Willie's abusive relationship with his dancing partner.

13 Rites of Passage Hally has two courses of action open to him in his journey toward maturity−the loving, reasoned way of Sam or the indifferent, humiliating way of Hally's father and the rest of South African society. Sam offers Hally more than one opportunity to break with institutional forms of racism and embark on a new course. Hally has two courses of action open to him in his journey toward maturity−the loving, reasoned way of Sam or the indifferent, humiliating way of Hally's father and the rest of South African society. Sam offers Hally more than one opportunity to break with institutional forms of racism and embark on a new course. Sam is tempted to strike back after Hally spits in his face but, instead, tries to turn the occasion into a positive learning experience that will guide the boy towards better relationships with his fellow man. Sam is tempted to strike back after Hally spits in his face but, instead, tries to turn the occasion into a positive learning experience that will guide the boy towards better relationships with his fellow man.

14 For Sam, the appropriate action is in virtue rather than violence, in reasoning rather than rage. For Sam, the appropriate action is in virtue rather than violence, in reasoning rather than rage. Sam trusts in his capacity to move Hally to shame through exemplary behavior and an appeal to morality. Sam trusts in his capacity to move Hally to shame through exemplary behavior and an appeal to morality. He forgives the white boy who doesn't know any better and behaves like a "man" in order to teach Hally the basics of honorable behavior. In a challenge to change what has happened through an act of personal transformation, Sam extends his hand toward Hally in a gesture of reconciliation. He forgives the white boy who doesn't know any better and behaves like a "man" in order to teach Hally the basics of honorable behavior. In a challenge to change what has happened through an act of personal transformation, Sam extends his hand toward Hally in a gesture of reconciliation.

15 "You don't have to sit up there by yourself," he says, recalling Hally's feeling of isolation on the "Whites Only" bench. "You know what that bench means now and you can leave it any time you choose. All you've got to do is stand up and walk away from it." "You don't have to sit up there by yourself," he says, recalling Hally's feeling of isolation on the "Whites Only" bench. "You know what that bench means now and you can leave it any time you choose. All you've got to do is stand up and walk away from it." The invitation to "walk away" is a chance to leave Hally's past behind, to abandon the ways of apartheid and become an honorable adult. Hally, however, is paralyzed by both shame and the ingrained attitudes fostered by society; he cannot break free of them to begin his journey as a "man." The invitation to "walk away" is a chance to leave Hally's past behind, to abandon the ways of apartheid and become an honorable adult. Hally, however, is paralyzed by both shame and the ingrained attitudes fostered by society; he cannot break free of them to begin his journey as a "man."

16 Setting "Master Harold"... is a drama set in the St. George's Tea Room on a wet and windy afternoon. The year is 1950 and the location is Port Elizabeth, South Africa. "Master Harold"... is a drama set in the St. George's Tea Room on a wet and windy afternoon. The year is 1950 and the location is Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The entire play takes place in the restaurant. While it is a small, enclosed space, the tearoom serves as a microcosm of South African society at large. The entire play takes place in the restaurant. While it is a small, enclosed space, the tearoom serves as a microcosm of South African society at large. The attitudes and situations that are displayed in the restaurant are variations on what occurred on a daily basis under the system of apartheid The attitudes and situations that are displayed in the restaurant are variations on what occurred on a daily basis under the system of apartheid

17 Realism "Master Harold"... and the Boys subscribes to the school of realism in that the actions and dialogue of the three characters are very much as they would be in real life. "Master Harold"... and the Boys subscribes to the school of realism in that the actions and dialogue of the three characters are very much as they would be in real life. This is not surprising given that the play is based on events from Fugard' s own life. This is not surprising given that the play is based on events from Fugard' s own life.

18 Symbolism Two images play prominent roles in this drama, the kite and dancing. Two images play prominent roles in this drama, the kite and dancing. Made out of tomato box slats, brown paper, discarded socks, and glue, the kite represents the soaring hopes for equality between the races and the triumph of human love over prejudice and hatred Sam made the kite for Hally to lift the boy's spirits. Made out of tomato box slats, brown paper, discarded socks, and glue, the kite represents the soaring hopes for equality between the races and the triumph of human love over prejudice and hatred Sam made the kite for Hally to lift the boy's spirits.

19 Dancing assumes the role as metaphor for life in the play. From the tribulations of Willie and his partner to Willie and Sam's poignant dance that concludes the play, dancing helps the characters makes sense of a world that seems out of control. Dancing assumes the role as metaphor for life in the play. From the tribulations of Willie and his partner to Willie and Sam's poignant dance that concludes the play, dancing helps the characters makes sense of a world that seems out of control. Describing his idea of a perfect ballroom−meta- phorically an ideal world−Sam tells Hally, "There are no collisions out there... Nobody trips or stumbles or bumps into anybody else... Like being in a dream about a world in which accidents don't happen.” Describing his idea of a perfect ballroom−meta- phorically an ideal world−Sam tells Hally, "There are no collisions out there... Nobody trips or stumbles or bumps into anybody else... Like being in a dream about a world in which accidents don't happen.”

20 Works Cited "Master Harold and the Boys Study Guide & Plot Synopsis." BookRags. BookRags, n.d. Web. 06 May "Master Harold and the Boys Study Guide & Plot Synopsis." BookRags. BookRags, n.d. Web. 06 May Marino, Kelli. TimeLine Theatre Company "Master Harold and the Boys" Study Guide. Marino, Kelli. TimeLine Theatre Company "Master Harold and the Boys" Study Guide.


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