Inclusion Of Master Harold And The Boys Into An En Essay

This essay has a total of 1158 words and 6 pages.

Inclusion Of Master Harold And The Boys Into An English Course


The claims for the inclusion of MHATBs' in a specified course of secondary school English
study are entirely justified. This play by Fugard, while set in the specific South African
locale of Port Elizabeth, reflects the universal and age-old tensions, which exist between
those who occupy a dominant position in society and those who do not. These tensions are
brought into even sharper focus by issues of race. In addition, Fugard has crafted both
character and dialogue expertly to enhance the dramatic tension. Lastly, the playwright
demonstrates considerable adroitness in the use of motifs to provide an extra dimension to
themes, character and dialogue. It is on these grounds - themes, character and dialogue,
and the use of motifs - that the case for MHATBs' inclusion in a course of study will be
supported.




Conflict forms the basis for most novels and plays, and MHATBs is no exception. In this
play, however, the major vehicle for conflict is the existence of apartheid in South
Africa. Apartheid was a term used euphemistically by the Botha government. It means
‘separate development', but the practical application of it ensured that the white
minority maintained its dominant position, at the expense of the black, Cape coloured and
Asian majority. This is indeed fertile soil for the spade work of any dramatist, but it
does not provide a guarantee against clumsy development or poor writing. Fugard's major
victory is to take an already powerful issue and deal with it in an equally powerful, and
yet sometimes subtle and sensitive way. The features of racism are often blunt, as they
are for example in Courtney's novel, The Power of One. It is hard to mask racial hatred.
Fugard, however, demonstrates that racist sentiments can often be conveyed more subtly
through attitudes and interaction. Hally, for example, makes many comments that he would
in no way regard as prejudiced. We, however, know differently. Example: kite.


The waters of racism are further muddied by the fact that Sam and Hally have shared so
many experiences that a real affection has developed between them. Fugard has spoken many
times of a similar adolescent experience as being the wellspring for the play, not simply
the experience of apartheid in general.




Prejudice can take many forms and Fugard is not content to explore its racial form alone.
We never see Hally's father on the stage, but we are in no doubt as to Hally's opinion of
him. It appears that the mere suggestion that his father will be returning home from
hospital is enough to mortify Hally. Adolescents reading this play will identify with the
discomfort that Hally feels with parents, but few will be as ashamed of theirs as Hally is
of his father. His shame comes close to, but never quite succeeds, in drowning his love.




MHATB also deserves to be included in the English course on the strength of its excellent
portrayal of character and its use of dialogue. All three characters in the play - Sam,
Hally and Willie - are successful creations in communicating Fugard's point of view to the
reader. In addition, they are drawn subtly and possess considerable nuance. Hally, for
example, does not fit the typical mould of the racist. He is intelligent, articulate and
enjoys a generally affectionate relationship with the two waiters in his mother's employ.
Hally would consider that he is a fair-minded individual, the last person to be accused of
harbouring racist attitudes. However, under pressure, the racism comes to the surface.


"He's white and that's good enough for you."

The playwright is also skilful in the way he develops the character of Sam and Willie.
They may share the same colour skin and the same depressing social circumstance, but they
are very different people in other ways. Sam possesses an inquiring mind, a prodigious
memory and an acute perception of the world around him. He has an engaging sense of humour
and is a quick learner. Clearly, someone with Sam's manifest abilities would occupy a more
Continues for 3 more pages >>




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