Master Harold: Differing Influences on Fugard


Athol Fugard\'s drama, "Master Harold" . . . And The Boys, was
written during a time of great conflict in South Africa, where he
was raised. Fugard was torn between his mother, who was
"Afrikaaner," (1291) and his father, who was "of English decent"
(1291). These differing influences caused Fugard to use the
discussions between Sam and Hally to demonstrate the religious,
racial, and political tensions of his lifetime in South Africa.

The discussion between Sam and Hally about who was "a man of
magnitude" (1300) represents the religious tensions of Fugard\'s
lifetime in South Africa between the growing belief in evolution
and Jesus Christ\'s teaching of Creation. Hally says that Charles
Darwin was "a man of magnitude," (1300) because he was "somebody
who benefited all mankind" (1301). He admires Darwin "for his
Theory of Evolution" (1301), which according to Hally, proves
"where we come from and what it all means" (1301). Sam totally
disagrees with Darwin\'s "Theory of Evolution" (1301) because
evolution is in contrast to the Bible\'s teaching on Creationism,
and he says that just because it is in a book it "does not mean
[he\'s] got to believe it" (1301). Sam believes that "Jesus
Christ" (1302) was "a man of magnitude" (1300). Hally is
obviously against Sam\'s suggestion of Jesus Christ, because Hally
makes it clear that he is "an atheist" (1303). This disagreement
between Sam and Hally is really just an example of the religious
tensions in South Africa during Fugard\'s lifetime between the
"Theory of Evolution," (1301) which was becoming more accepted,
and Christianity, which was taught by Jesus Christ.

A second discussion between Sam and Hally that occurs after Hally
learns that his father has gone home demonstrates the racial
tensions of Fugard\'s lifetime in South Africa. When Sam starts
lecturing Hally about how he treats his father, Hally becomes
angry and tells Sam that he is "treading on dangerous ground"
(1321). Hally also tells Sam that his "mother is right"(1322)
about "warning [him] about allowing you to get to familiar"
(1322). The climax of the argument is when Hally tells Sam that
he is "only a servant" (1322). This is the first noticeable
statement that Hally makes that demonstrates the racial tensions
experienced in South Africa. The next racial statement Hally
makes is when he tells Sam that his father is his boss because
"he\'s a white man and that\'s good enough for [him]" (1322).
Hally then takes things even further by commanding Sam to "start
calling [him] Master Harold" (1323). Hally tells Sam that if he
doesn\'t follow this command that he "might just lose [his] job"
(1323). Hally really makes matters worse when he tells Sam his
father\'s favorite joke. His father would ask Hally, "It\'s not
fair, is it, Hally" (1323)? Then Hally would ask, "What, chum"
(1323)? Then his father would say, "A nigger\'s arse" (1323).
Another example of the racial tensions during the argument is
made when Sam points out that when Hally\'s father got drunk at a
bar, that Hally had to go "in first . . . to ask permission"
(1325) for Sam to be able to go in to get his father. A final
and the most noticeable example of the racial tensions in South
Africa is made by Sam when he informs Hally about the reason why
he didn\'t stay with him the day they flew the kite. Sam tells
Hally that the bench he had sat on was a "Whites Only" (1325)
bench and Sam wasn\'t allowed to sit on it. All of these
examples are used to represent the racial tensions that were
present in Fugard\'s lifetime in South Africa.

The final discussion between Sam and Hally about their
experiences during the day and the dance championship that Sam
and Willie are going to participate in demonstrates the political
tensions in the world during Fugard\'s lifetime. Sam points out
to Hally that people are "bumping into each other all the time"
(1317) and nobody "knows the steps and there\'s no music playing"
(1317). Sam said, "I\'ve bumped into Willie, the two of us have
bumped into you, you\'ve bumped into your mother, she bumping into
your Dad_(1317). Sam is using their experiences that day to
represent how countries are in constant conflict. He points out
to Hally that "America has bumped into Russia, England is bumping
into India, rich man bumps into poor man" (1317). Sam says that
at the dance, they\'re "going to see six couples get it right, the
way we want life to be" (1317-1318). Sam uses the dance to
represent the hope that was held by people in Fugard\'s lifetime
about the political