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Book Review 2+ out of 5 stars to Master Harold...and the boys, a play written in 1982 by Athol Fugard. It pains me to give this work only 2 stars as I know the value it truly brings to highlighting apartheid in South Africa when it needed more attention. Perhaps because I read this when I was still fairly young, I couldn't connect with it. As a younger reader, I often struggled with themes around depression, war, slavery and human rights. I couldn't fathom not treating people equally
This is a powerful play about the damage of apartheid and the corrosive nature of shame. There is no "action" per se, all the dialogue takes place in one setting, the St. George's Park Tea Room, and is spoken by only three characters - two adult black men (Sam and Willie) who work at the tea room and the white seventeen-year-old son of the owner (Hally/Master Harold). It's 1950, and the relationship between the boy and the two men is impressively complicated. They, especially Sam, are the father...
Actual rating: 3.5Awesome. The simplicity of this play (and its moral message) made it a wonderful read!Racism is deeply rooted into the human nature, and we cannot get rid of it easily.Harold would ALWAYS be the 'Master', and his dear friends would ALWAYS remain his slaves 'Boys'!!
I feel like this is another one of those books that teaches white people about racism. It wasn’t bad and it made its point. I just feel like the racism directed at the men was really painful and not worth the lesson, since I already know it.
The impact of this play on me was so much more than expected. I was assigned to read this for English class, so of course I assumed this play would be just another unimportant, mandatory reading assignment. It was so much more than that. This play, set in South Africa during 1950, shows the raw, ugly truth of racism. That it is not just a word which means discrimination against a particular race, it is a thing that breaks friends, families, and societies apart. Hally, a young white man who strug...
I honestly first thought that this was some sort of parody or modernization of Mother Courage and her Children, purely from the similarity of the titles. Never have I been so wrong. This play focuses far more on aspects of philosophy, race, and politics- all between three characters and withing a relatively small amount of pages. I've really grown to like these plays with very small casts, showing how focused it can be on those characters. And the dialogue is really good. Some highlights for me
I had to read this for my world literature class and it is now my absolute favorite play. It's short but powerful as it tugs at the reader's humanity. Despite it's broad themes of racism, coming of age, and family dysfunction, the play manages to be personal and affect the reader in the issue most important to them. For me, it was the coming of age aspect. It's bittersweet ending remains hopeful for a better tomorrow. I absolutely cherished this read.
“Anybody who thinks there's nothing wrong with this world needs to have his head examined. Just when things are going all right, without fail someone or something will come along and spoil everything. Somebody should write that down as a fundamental law of the Universe. The principle of perpetual disappointment. If there is a God who created this world, he should scrap it and try again.”
Second time through. This play has such a slow build, but oh, that ending. My sophomores are doing a wonderful job digging deeply into this short but powerful play.
Q2: All the world's a stage: 2. Read a play that has been written in your lifetime.You don't know all of what you've just done... Master Harold. It's not just that you've made me feel dirtier than I've ever been in my life... I mean, how do I wash off yours and your father's filth?... I've also failed. A long time ago I promised myself I was going to try and do something, but you've just showed me... Master Harold... that I've failed.
You would think a little 50 page play with just 3 characters, set in a a single room, with a run-time of barely 100 minutes, would be inadequately equipped to comment on something as nuanced and systemic as Apartheid. You would be wrong. Everything great about this play stems from its supposed "littleness". Unlike, say Tony Kushner's epics, Master Harold is least bothered with the spectacle. It's less about the horrible, shocking tales of slavery and segregation, and more about the ways hatred m...
Fugard manages to not only create a convincng domestic drama, but situates it incredibly well into the political milieu of the period in which he wrote.His symbolism though understated is nevertheless powerful, and compelling events such as the kite flying scene are rightfully well known, not only for their metaphysical importance but also for the simplicity of the human drama that they convey.The play is oblique at times, but all the more powerful as a result, as it focuses the audience or read...
This is very interesting and satisfying play about a privileged white teen and two black servants in South Africa having an extended conversation, and set during apartheid. There are some high points, beautiful imagery in a monologue about ballroom dancing and also ugly pugilistic behavior which is fitting considering the setting. However, I dislike it when themes and morality are heavy handed. It's a good play but perhaps I would need to see it performed.
Very quick read that touches on family heritage, racism, and adolescence changes. This script has a flow that makes one finish it quickly and it leaves the reader with questions they must answer themselves. The imagery of this being performed live is what gives it such strong power as at times you can get carried along as these men imagine a separate world with you.
I teach this play every other year and don't feel like writing a review this year. Perhaps I'll come back to it in 2018. =)It's 2019 and I still don't feel like writing a review, but I will say that the content of the play is still relevant to today. It's unfortunate and disheartening that marginalized groups are still being oppressed and terrorized in 2019.
I am really enjoying teaching this book. It felt like a risk since its such a talky play, but We seen to me able to do interesting things with it. Love me some kites and politics.
This was a quick, easy play to read. It was interesting, but it won't have a long lasting impact on me. "Anybody who thinks there's nothing wrong with this world needs to have his head examined. Just when things are going all right, without fail someone or something will come along and spoil everything. Somebody should write that down as a fundamental law of the Universe. The principle of perpetual disappointment. If there is a God who created this world, he should scrap it and try again."
Thoughtful play about the relationship between a white boy and two black men in apartheid-era South Africa. The play was Fugard's way of working through his own complicity in the white supremacy surrounding him during his childhood years. It shows how his family's servants helped him begin to grow up--and also grow beyond his early racist ideology and behavior.
Read this since the IB juniors will be reading this in English and I teach apartheid in 12th grade. It was poignant and reveals lessons still relevant to this day. Can’t wait to hear what the kids think.
A play set in apartheid South Africa.
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!From all the books I was required to read this year for school, Master Harold... and the boys honestly was the best. As you can see from my five-star rating, it wasn't amazing. It wasn't life-changing. But I can admit that it was very excellent, and enjoyable. Even though it seemed rather simplistic from the fact that it literally featured three present characters in one boring setting (a room in the midst of a rainy
”Master Harold” … and the boys is a short play, but there’s a lot of humanity crammed into it.Set in a tea room in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, it shows us the relationship between three characters: Hallie, the seventeen year old white son of the tea room’s owners, and Sam and Willie, the two black employees who work there. All three are richly fleshed out; they are real in their faults and aspirations, and at different times we appreciate, sympathize with, and shake our heads at each of them.
"Master Harold"... and the boys by Athol Fugard is a play and its first performance was in 1982. Taking place in Apartheid South Africa, the story revolves around two black men, Sam and Willie, and a seventeen year old boy named Hally A.K.A Master Harold. One of the story's major themes is racism.Sam and Willie work for Hally's mother at her Tea Room (similar to a Cafe). One of the play's more powerful quotes is "He's a white man and that's good enough for you." When Sam and Hally argue, Hally m...
In Master Harold”...and the boys, a teenage white boy living in apartheid South Africa argues with two black men that work for his mother (and who he is very close with) about different ways of looking at the world and society in general. The play has constant undercurrents of racial tension and injustice throughout, and revolves around a perverse coming of age story that centers upon the main character's journey from Hally to "Master Harold," the racist white member of apartheid South Africa t
"Don't confuse historical significance with greatness.""And it's beautiful because [dancing] is what we want life to be like. But instead, like you said, Hally, we're bumping into each other all the time. ... None of us know the steps and there's no music playing. And it doesn't stop with us. The whole world is doing it all the time. Open a newspaper and what do you read? America has bumped into Russia, England is bumping into India, rich man bumps into poor man. Those are big collisions, Hally....
A clever enough work, I suppose. Definitely not the worst play I've ever read, but I always felt there was something missing. I enjoyed the dynamic between MASTER HAROLD and his "boys" and it really did get me thinking about the effects of apartheid (or in America, the Jim Crow Laws) on race relations and how it creates a superiority complex among white people--even when this black man is, by all means, a better person (both intellectually and personally) than the white man in the play.A fun rea...
Absolutely heart rending. I read this for my college class on world literature and I loved every line of it. Knowing that it takes place in South Africa during apartheid, I expected some of the plot points to occur somewhere along the way, but Fugard does such an incredible job of playing off of the emotions. Anyone of us could lash out at someone we care about like Hally does with Sam, and it shows just how deeply societal prejudices and attitudes can affect an individual, even if you don't con...
This was an interesting read, not something that I would normally have picked up on my own. I read it w/ my son, Dylan, who read it for school. It's the story of a boy, Harold, who while growing up has 2 very unlikely friends in 2 black waiters, who work for his parents. But in the world of apartheid in South Africa, life can get in the way of the best of relationships. This book gave me alot to think about, and I think I will be thinking about it for some time to come.
Hally: "Penicillian and Sir Alexander Fleming!...The major breakthrough in medical science in the Twentieth Century. If it wasn't for him, we might have lost the Second World War."Hally: "Philosophers have been trying to do that for centuries. What is Art? What is life? But basically I suppose it's...the giving of meaning to matter."Sam: "Nothing to do with beautiful?"
Had to read this for a theater class I am taking (an elective) and immediately loved it. The story is easy to follow and really has a lot of important lessons. It's scary that it was based on a time only 63 years ago. That's not so long ago when an African could not sit with on a bench with the white boy that he has practically raised. A very good story.