Last Updated 06 Jan 2022

Metaphors in Master Harold

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18 January 2012 Metaphors in “Master Harold”... and the boys “Master Harold”... and the boys, is a powerful play written by Athol Fugard that allows us to analyze the complex relationship between a black man and a young white boy within the context of racism in South Africa in the 1950’s. This play is characterized by metaphors used by the author to illustrate the struggle of people dealing with racism. One of the most important themes of this play is racism, focusing on the injustice in South Africa when the apartheid system was in place.

Racial segregation and separation in this time in history demonstrates to us how this system allowed unequal rights for whites and blacks. There is evidence that the relationship between Hally, the young white boy and Sam, the black man is complex due to the political system that was in place that supported racism, making this relationship complex and at the same time humanistic. The complexities of this relationship are shown through the authors use of effective metaphors, such as the kite and the bench, to illustrate the life experiences between Hally and Sam within the racial and political time in which they lived.

Through the kite and the bench metaphors it becomes evident that Hally and Sam have problems between them as a result of racism. A kite flying in the air controlled by two people extremely different on the outside but like father and son on the inside. The brown paper kite metaphor creates such a complex and interesting relationship between Hally and Sam. It also shows how much the political system creates such a huge effect on how people sometimes think of others with different grounds of race, no matter how close two people could be. During the time when Sam and Hally went to fly the kite, Hally was so excited to go with Sam.

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Although, at the same time, he was also hopeless and scared of what other people will think when seeing him with a black man trying to fly a brown-paper kite made out of trash. Hally is always afraid of making a fool out of himself infront of people when around Sam. Since Sam is a black man and Hally is just a young white boy, it is not really normal for them to be out together in the public with the apartheid system going on. “Little white boy in shot trousers and a black man old enough to be his father flying a kite. It’s not everyday you see that”(Fugard 31). When together alone, Sam is like a father figure and

Hally loves to follow his footsteps, more than his actual father. Sam loves to make Hally feel proud of himself or even of something in his life because it does not happen often because of his coarse, alcoholic father. In front of people however, it is like they really are who they are supposed to be; a white boy with his parents servant. When Sam and Hally went out in the park to go and fly the kite, Hally did not want to hold the string and run, because he was embarrassed to see the kite not fly and fall to the ground, another thing he cannot be proud of. “The miracle happened!

I was running, waiting for it to crash to the ground, but instead suddenly there was something alive behind me at the end of the string, tugging at it as if it wanted to be free. I looked back . . . I still can't believe my eyes. It was flying. . . I was so proud of us”(Fugard 30)! For once in his his life, Hally felt so proud of himself because of this kite, that he did not want to bring it down. Wanting to sit there all day and just watch it soar in the sky. Sam wanted Hally to be proud of something, proud of himself, and he gave him the encouragement for flying and climbing above his shame.

Hally had one of the most amazing times flying that kite with Sam, but once he sat down on the bench, it was time for Sam to leave. Sam left Hally up on the hill, with the a sense of pride. Hally wondered why Sam had left him alone that day. The two of them were up there for a long time. Hally sat on the one bench up on the hill that had a sign that said “Whites Only” on it. When Hally recounts about their time together with the kite in the park and then Sam had to leave him, Sam is the one who informs him of the real reason why he couldn't stay. Hally's childhood memory is that Sam had to go to work.

Hally was sitting on a “Whites Only” bench, so Sam would not have been permitted to sit there with him. “‘You left me after that, didn’t you?... I wanted you to stay, you know. ’‘I had work to do, Hally’”(Fugard 30). Hally is filled with so much rage over his coarse, alcoholic father. When conflict appears, Hally lashes out on his two black friends, especially Sam. He tries to pretend they are not friends by acting strictly like a boss. Because of Hally’s status as a white person in a racially divided community, he is given the title of “Master” towards the black men.

Hally asks Sam to call him “Master Harold” from now on, and Sam would only do this if they were no longer friends. This is the case for, when he spits in Sam's face, Hally becomes Master Harold to Sam. It is conquering in the corruption of another white male as Hally takes his place on the bench of segregation. “If you're not careful... Master Harold... you're going to be sitting up there by yourself for a long time to come, and there won't be a kite in the sky”(Fugard 58). “Master Harold”... and the boys is a great play involving two characters that are like strangers on the outside, but like family on the inside.

The relationship of Sam and Hally is so complex, and it always has its ups and downs. Their relationship is decided a lot from the apartheid system that takes place in the play, also with the use of the authors metaphors such as the kite and bench. However, a bench is not just a bench and a kite is not just some ordinary kite in this play. They have to do a lot with the relationships of Sam and Hally and how it was resulted in their life experiences during the political times they lived together that involved with and resulted with racism. Racism can always come in conflict with two people, no matter how close they are.

Metaphors in Master Harold essay

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Master Harold. And the Boys Metaphors and Similes As he helps Hally with his English assignment, Sam creates a poignant simile that compares ballroom dancing to a harmonious world. If ballroom dancers perfectly perform their numbers, the dance is fluid, and no one bumps into one another.

What is the significance of ballroom dancing in Master Harold?

Master Harold. And the Boys Symbols, Allegory and Motifs Sam and Willie’s love of ballroom dancing is a driving force in Master Harold…and the boys. In the beginning it is a type of escape for the men, something they are good at, that they enjoy, and that takes their minds off of their work.

How many pages are in Master Harold and the boys?

About Master Harold. And the Boys Master Harold. And the Boys Summary Character List Glossary Themes Quotes and Analysis Pages 3-14 Pages 15-26 Pages 27-38 Pages 39-50 Pages 51-60 Symbols, Allegory and Motifs Metaphors and Similes Irony Imagery Apartheid Literary Elements Related Links Essay Questions Quiz 1 Quiz 2 Quiz 3 Quiz 4 Citations

What drives Master Harold and Master Sam to dance?

Sam and Willie’s love of ballroom dancing is a driving force in Master Harold…and the boys. In the beginning it is a type of escape for the men, something they are good at, that they enjoy, and that takes their minds off of their work. Becoming proficient and talented at ballroom dancing is a goal to which they can aspire.

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