Sam & Hally's Relationship in Master Harold... and the Boys

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English IA 11 IB
December 6th, 2010

An analysis of Sam and Hally’s relationship in Master Harold… and the boys

Athol Fugard’s Master Harold…and the boys provides a simple setting in which the main focus shifts from the plot to the story’s characters. The relationship of the play’s two main characters, Sam and Hally, becomes quite apparent from the beginning of the play. Their relationship took on many different forms, each serving a different purpose. The relationship between Sam and Hally at the beginning of the play can be described as father and son, friend and friend, and employer and employee.

As we can see from the conversations between Sam and Hally, as well as Hally and his mother, Hally’s father is in the hospital. It becomes apparent that the subject of his father is a touchy one, indicating that there is some form of conflict there. Because of the lack of father-figure in Hally’s life, he finds one in Sam. We can see their relationship take on a more father-and-son style when Sam is encouraging Hally to do well in his studies, as well as when Sam is trying to calm Hally down after the call from his mother. Hally had to deal with the loss of the fatherly relationship at a very young age. Because of this he searched for the closest thing he could find to it, which was his mother’s employee. This affiliation developed and eventually stemmed off, but it mostly likely originated as a young boy desperately seeking for someone to fill the empty role of a father.

Hally and Sam also share a friendly relationship. The author utilizes flashbacks to explain the length and depth of their friendship. When Hally was young, he would spend days in Hally and Willie’s room away from his mother, playing chess or flying kites. When Sam first brought up the subject, Hally barely even remembered because he was so young. Their room would be his safe haven, his place to escape to, and it was a large part of his childhood. Sam and Willie became friends instead of...