"Master Harold" … and the Boys

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Hally Character Analysis

Hally, or Harold, is the 17-year-old son of a tearoom and convenience store owner. Hally's father is also a crippled, alcoholic, ad racist World War II veteran. As the play unfolds, we learn that, when he was a younger boy, Hally's troubled family life often drove him to spend time with his mother’s black workers, and . Hally is in secondary school, where, he precociously asserts, it is unnecessary to perform well on tests or even to learn all the material. His relationship to white South Africa's built-in structures of racism is murky—he seems at once to be blind to its existence, to unconsciously subvert or go against its demands, and to harbor all its darker aspects within himself.

Hally Quotes in "Master Harold" … and the Boys

The "Master Harold" … and the Boys quotes below are all either spoken by Hally or refer to Hally. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage International edition of "Master Harold" … and the Boys published in 2009.
"Master Harold" … and the Boys Quotes

Tried to be clever, as usual. Said I was no Leonardo da Vinci and that bad art had to be punished. So, six of the best, and his are bloody good.

Related Characters: Hally (speaker)
Related Symbols: Ballroom Dance
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

Hally has started doing homework and Sam has noticed a caricature Hally drew of his math teacher. Sam compliments the caricature, but Hally says that when his teacher found it he "tried to be clever" by saying Hally was no Leonardo da Vinci, and used this as an excuse to give Hally six lashes of the cane. This story suggests that Hally's teacher gets a kind of sadistic pleasure out of punishing him, even making a joke out of it. It also further emphasizes the thematic importance of artistic skill as a metaphor for desirable behavior. Just as Sam criticizes Willie for dancing stiffly, Hally's teacher (presumably) scolds him for drawing badly. These examples show that both Willie and Hally's behavior is constantly being monitored and evaluated. 

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I’ve heard enough, Sam! Jesus! It’s a bloody awful world when you come to think of it. People can be real bastards.

Related Characters: Hally (speaker), Sam
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

Having started listening to Sam explain the method the police use to beat black men in prison, Hally suddenly interrupts him, exclaiming that he's "heard enough" and remarking that "people can be real bastards." On the surface, this reveals Hally's childlike innocence and goodheartedness. He is sensitive to the injustices of the world, so much so that he cannot bear to hear about them. At the same time, it also highlights that, because of his race, Hally is shielded from the full extent of Apartheid violence. The fact that he chooses not to hear the rest of Sam's story is somewhat selfish (and it's notable that he has the choice to avoid these realities—a luxury not afforded to Sam and Willie). Despite his age, as someone who benefits from the white supremacist Apartheid regime, Hally arguably has a responsibility to confront the reality of its cruelty.

I know, I know! I oscillate between hope and despair for this world as well, Sam. But things will change, you wait and see. One day somebody is going to get up and give history a kick up the backside and get it going again.

Related Characters: Hally (speaker), Sam
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

Having remarked at the awfulness of the world, Hally has conceded that "there is something called progress," saying that at least people aren't burned at the stake anymore. When Sam skeptically points out that there is still a death penalty, Hally responds that he too "oscillate[s] between hope and despair," but that "one day somebody is going to get up and give history a kick up the backside." Hally's choice of words conveys the deep level of violence that permeates all aspects of South African society and affects the psychology of all the characters in the play. Note the irony of the fact that Hally cannot even contemplate a more peaceful, compassionate world without framing it in violent terms. 

However, this invocation of violence is not the only disturbing element within Hally's comment. His optimism that "things will change" is undermined by his suggestion that "somebody"––i.e. somebody other than Hally himself––will change them. As the play reveals, this passive reliance on the idea of social change tends to lead to cycles of cruelty and abuse, not progress. Hally appears unaware that, as a white South African, the burden of building a better world rests disproportionately on him. Meanwhile, Hally is dismissive of Sam's cynicism and is unable to see why Sam would be more inclined to "despair" than hope.  

Don’t get sentimental, Sam. You’ve never been a slave, you know. And anyway we freed your ancestors here in South Africa long before the Americans. But if you want to thank somebody on their behalf, do it to Mr. William Wilberforce. Come on. Try again. I want a real genius.

Related Characters: Hally (speaker), Sam
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

Sam and Hally are still discussing "men of magnitude." Having expressed dissatisfaction at Hally's choice of Charles Darwin, Sam suggests Abraham Lincoln instead. In response, Hally accuses Sam of being misguidedly sentimental and points out that "we freed your ancestors here in South Africa long before the Americans." He also claims that William Wilberforce, a British abolitionist who played a large role in ending slavery in most of the British empire, would be a better person for Sam to look up to. This exchange exemplifies the ignorant, patronizing attitude with which Hally treats Sam. He dismisses Sam's identification with slaves ("you've never been a slave yourself") while using the pronoun "we" to describe the white colonizers who ended slavery in South Africa ("we freed your ancestors here"). 

Hally's reasoning reveals just how biased and warped his view of progress really is. Although there are significant differences between the colonial regimes in the USA and South Africa, Hally's suggestion that the Dutch and British rulers were somehow more compassionate or progressive than the Americans is absurd, especially considering that the play is set during Apartheid. Such thinking reveals how little understanding Hally has of the reality of Sam's life, despite their close proximity and friendly relationship. His manner of speaking to Sam further emphasizes his haughty, belittling attitude. Phrases like "you know," and "come on, try again" sound like the language a teacher would use with a student, despite the fact that Hally is in fact a schoolboy and Sam a middle-aged man. 

…I got another rowing for hanging around the “servants’ quarters.” I think I spent more time in there with you chaps than anywhere else in that dump. And do you blame me? Nothing but bloody misery everywhere you went.

Related Characters: Hally (speaker), Sam
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

Having debated at length about who counts as a man of magnitude, Hally and Sam have finally settled on Alexander Fleming, the inventor of penicillin. Hally boasts that he has "educated" Sam just as Tolstoy educated "his peasants." The two of them recall memories together, and Hally mentions that he was beaten for spending time in the "servants' quarters." Despite its friendliness, this conversation highlights the stark inequality in Hally and Sam's relationship. At the same time, Hally's words reveal the extent to which he has been coerced into assuming a superior social position to Willie and Sam. The fact that Hally is punished for spending time with his family's servants may incline the audience to view Hally more sympathetically. 

On the other hand, Hally's reasoning for why he was "hanging around the 'servants' quarters'" in the first place conveys the thoughtless and selfish side of his character. His claim that he was seeking to avoid the "bloody misery" in the rest of his household rudely implies that there is no other reason why he would spend time with Willie and Sam; it also shows his lack of consideration of the different kind of misery Willie and Sam themselves experience as black South Africans in a position of servitude. 

The sheer audacity of it took my breath away. I mean, seriously, what the hell does a black man know about flying a kite?...If you think I was excited and happy, you got another guess coming… When we left the boarding house to go up onto the hill, I was praying quietly that there wouldn’t be any other kids around to laugh at us.

Related Characters: Hally (speaker), Sam
Related Symbols: The Kite
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

Hally has asked Sam to guess his "best memory," before telling him that the memory began one afternoon when Hally was bored and went to Sam's room, where he found Sam constructing something out of wood. In this part of the speech, Hally describes his shock at discovering Sam was making a kite, and his fear that the kite wouldn't fly and that other kids would laugh at them. Although he is telling the story to please and entertain Sam, he interweaves explicit racism into his account ("what the hell does a black man know about flying a kite?"). Clearly, it does not even occur to Hally to consider how this comment would make Sam feel. 

Hally's description of the memory also reveals the bizarre logic of the racism that defines the world around him. The idea that Sam's race would make him unable to make a kite is completely nonsensical, and Hally's use of the word "audacity" shows how restrictive and narrow the expectations placed on black South Africans were. At the same time, the story also highlights the way in which racism has even indirectly harmed Hally himself, by making him ashamed of his association with Sam and anxious that other white children will ridicule him. 

HALLY: You explained how to get it down, we tied it to the bench so that I could sit and watch it and you went away. I wanted you to stay, you know. I was a little scared of having to look after it by myself.
SAM: (Quietly) I had work to do, Hally

Related Characters: Hally (speaker), Sam (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Kite
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

Hally has recounted that, despite his low expectations, the kite Sam made flew brilliantly and that it was "the most splendid thing" he had ever seen. He recalls that Sam walked away and explains that he had wanted him to stay, but Sam quietly responds that he had work to do. This is an emotionally climactic moment within the play, exemplifying the complex tensions and pressures caused by the powerful racist forces that dominate South African society. While Sam claims that he left Hally with the kite because he had work to do, in reality it was because he realized they were on a whites-only bench, and thus it was illegal for Sam to be there.

Hally's ignorance of the true reason why Sam left highlights how sheltered he is from the reality of the racist nation he lives in. Importantly, Sam's lie about having work to do proves that he is also forced to be complicit in keeping Hally in this ignorant, sheltered state. There are several possible explanations for why Sam does not tell Hally the truth. One reason could be that it would be considered improper for Sam to discuss racist laws in front of Hally; by not mentioning it, Sam acts in a manner akin to the effortless way of dancing he encourages Willie to adopt. On the other hand, it is also plausible that Sam feels protective of Hally, and wants to preserve his childhood innocence even if this means misleading him about the true nature of the society in which they live. 

Would have been just as strange I suppose, if it had been me and my Dad… a cripple man and a little boy! Nope! There’s no chance of me flying a kite without it being strange.

Related Characters: Hally (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Kite
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

Hally has finished telling the story about the kite, reflecting that the image of him and Sam flying it together is "strange." Sam has asked if it's strange because he is black and Hally is white; Hally responds that he doesn't know, but that it would have been just as strange to have flown it with his own father because he is a cripple. This passage is likely to elicit further sympathy for Hally; despite the rather thoughtless and offensive way in which discusses both Sam and his father, it is clear that he feels sad and ashamed about not having a "normal" family. 

Indeed, Hally's shame highlights an unexpected connection between his cruel, racist father and the much kinder, more fatherly Sam. Although as a white man Hally's father occupies the most privileged social position in South African society, he is nonetheless still stigmatized for his physical disability. Although this is not the same as the racism Sam experiences as a black man, the parallel nonetheless highlights the complexity of prejudice, and emphasizes the fact that everyone––including Sam, Hally, and Hally's father––is affected by the forces of stigma, discrimination, and shame. 

Don’t try to be clever, Sam. It doesn’t suit you. Anybody who thinks there’s nothing wrong with this world need to have his head examined... If there is a God who created this world, he should scrap it and try again.

Related Characters: Hally (speaker), Sam
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

Hally's mother has phoned to tell him that his father will be coming home from the hospital. Hally begs for this not to happen, but with no success. Furious, he has begun to boss Sam and Willie around, exclaiming that life is a "plain bloody mess" and that people are fools who deserve the bad things that happen to them. When Sam comments that if that's true then Hally shouldn't complain, Hally snaps back at him, telling him not to be clever. Once again, Hally's concern about the state of the world––which on the surface could indicate compassion and sensitivity––is undermined by his otherwise rude and selfish behavior. He treats Sam and Willie in a patronizing, scornful way, and only seems to care about injustice when he personally is affected.

I’ve been far too lenient with the two of you. But what really makes me bitter is that I allow you chaps a little freedom in here when business is bad and, what do you do with it? The foxtrot! Specially you, Sam. There’s more to life than trotting around a dance floor and I thought at least you knew it.

Related Characters: Hally (speaker), Sam, Willie
Related Symbols: Ballroom Dance
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

Hally has been behaving in an increasingly cruel and strict manner with Sam and Willie, even rapping Willie on the bum with his ruler. Having at first complained that the two men were distracting him from his homework, Hally then abandons his homework and begins strolling around with the ruler in his hands "like a little despot," telling Sam and Willie that he has been "too lenient" with them. The manner in which Hally quickly assumes the role of a pompous, unforgiving ruler is disturbing. Although the chronology of events makes it clear that Hally's obnoxious behavior directly results from his fear of his father, Hally's sudden change of character suggests that compassion and friendship give way all too easily to cruelty. 

Regardless of his friendly relationship to Sam, Hally clearly believes that––as a white person––it is natural for him to rule over Sam and Willie, even though they are much older than he is. Indeed, the tone Hally adopts implies that he is wiser and more mature than Sam and Willie, although it is obvious from Hally's behavior that he is still very much a child with a naïve and somewhat foolish understanding of the world. Hally's comment that there is "more to life" than the foxtrot is misguided, considering the dance represents fundamental themes of struggle, harmony, and propriety within the world of the play. It is also ironic that Hally is precociously scolding Sam for taking the foxtrot too seriously, considering the reality of Sam's life is far more harsh and complicated than Hally's. 

There’s no collisions out there, Hally. Nobody trips or stumbles or bumps into anybody else. That’s what that moment is all about. To be one of those finalists on the dance floor is like… like being in a dream about a world in which accidents don’t happen.

Related Characters: Sam (speaker), Hally
Related Symbols: Ballroom Dance
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

Hally has mentioned that he has to write about a significant cultural event for his homework, and is considering writing about the ballroom dance competition in New Brighton. Sam has described and reenacted the event along with Willie, and when Hally asks if the dancers are given penalties when they bump into one another, Sam explains that the dance competition is "like being in a dream" in which people don't bump into each other. This passage illustrates the symbolic significance of ballroom dance within the play, and shows why Sam and Willie are so invested in it. Unlike the real world, in the ballroom all people work together in harmony, without "accidents" or conflict. Sam admits that this is only an unrealistic "dream," but remains committed to pursuing it if only in the realm of dance. 

You’re right. We musn’t despair. Maybe there’s some hope for mankind after all. Keep it up, Willie.

Related Characters: Hally (speaker), Willie
Related Symbols: Ballroom Dance
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

Hally has asked Sam if it is enough to throw oneself into the "dream" of ballroom dance, and Sam responds that this dream can be the start of actual progressive action. Hally concludes that the United Nations is "a dancing school for politicians," and announces that he now feels more hopeful about the future of mankind. This sudden change of opinion illustrates the power of art to inspire optimism; however, Hally's newly hopeful mindset soon shatters, implying that this power is somewhat limited. Note the irony of the fact that Sam and Willie remain consistently hopeful while Hally is quick to resort to a pessimistic, resentful attitude. Although all three characters experience struggle, Hally is arguably in a far better position due to his social, racial, and economic status. 

HALLY: He’s a white man and that’s good enough for you.
SAM: I’ll try to forget you said that.

Related Characters: Hally (speaker), Sam (speaker)
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

Hally has spoken to his mother and father on the phone and grown increasingly upset and furious at the prospect of his father being home again. Sam has tried to comfort him, but this only results in fighting. Hally reminds Sam that Hally's father is Sam's boss, and when Sam protests that his boss is actually Hally's mother, Hally responds that his father is a white man and "that's good enough for you." This exchange emphasizes the ease with which the nuance and complexity within Hally and Sam's relationship can be erased by the overarching racism that governs both their lives. Hally's words serve as a reminder that no matter what else happens, he will always be able to hurt and belittle Sam simply through invoking race. 

Sam's response that he will "try to forget" Hally's words highlights the seemingly infinite patience with which he treats Hally. Indeed, throughout the play Hally has oscillated between friendliness and racist cruelty; thus the existence of his and Sam's friendship relies on Sam repeatedly forgetting the offences Hally commits. This deliberate act of forgetting can be seen as the opposite of learning. Hally reveals that he has not truly learned the importance of kindness and justice, and Sam in turn deliberately erases his knowledge of Hally's racist sentiment. 

HALLY: To begin with, why don’t you start calling me Master Harold, like Willie.
SAM: Do you mean that?
HALLY: Why the hell do you think I said it?
SAM: If you make me say it once, I’ll never call you by anything else again

Related Characters: Hally (speaker), Sam (speaker), Willie
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Hally gets angry at Sam, tells him to stop bossing him around, and orders Sam to start calling him "Master Harold." Shocked, Sam warns Hally that if he is forced to call him that once, he will never go back to calling him Hally. This is a climactic moment in the play, in which Sam and Hally's friendship reaches a dramatic breaking point. Up until this interaction, Hally's treatment of Sam has swung wildly between kindness and cruelty, and so far Sam has mostly tolerated this, deliberately ignoring Hally's callous behavior.

However, Sam's words here point to the fact that calling Hally "Master Harold" would represent an irreparable rupture in their relations, such that their friendship would become another broken thing with no chance of recovery. This claim demonstrates the significance of the word "master," a term that has more potential for damage than all the explicitly racist insults that Hally has thus far used. Sam can perhaps dismiss these insults as childish foolishness; however, by insisting that Sam calls him "Master Harold," Hally positions himself as the authority, and Sam as the inferior. 

If you ever do write it as a short story, there was a twist in our ending. I couldn’t sit down there and stay with you. It was a “Whites Only” bench. You were too young, too excited to notice then. But not anymore. 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.

Related Characters: Sam (speaker), Hally
Related Symbols: The Kite
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:

Sam has returned to the story of the kite, recalling that the episode happened a few days after Hally's father had drunkenly passed out and soiled himself in the Central Hotel Bar, and that Hally had been severely depressed afterwards. He then reveals that the true reason why he left Hally alone on the bench while they were flying the kite was because it was a whites-only bench, and he warns Hally that if he continues with his current behavior he may find himself sitting alone on the bench "for a long time to come." This speech emphasizes the dramatic change in Sam and Hally's relationship. Sam no longer feels compelled to protect Hally's innocence, and instead forces Hally to confront the reality of the racist world in which they live. 

This moment is a powerful example of education. Although Sam has had little formal schooling and thus theoretically is less knowledgable than Hally, the story of the kite reveals how naïve and ignorant Hally really is. Sam, on the other hand, understands the true nature of the world and has carefully controlled the way in which he reveals this nature to Hally. Up until this point, Sam's patience with Hally can be interpreted as a loving, protective gesture, designed to preserve Hally's childish innocence. However, Sam's words of warning point to the danger of remaining in this "innocent" state in the midst of a deeply unjust world. Although as a white person Hally benefits from structural racism, Sam reminds him that harboring racist views is itself harmful because it prevents connection to other people. 

HALLY: I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore.
SAM: You sure of that, Hally? Because it would be pretty hopeless if that was true. It would mean nothing has been learnt in here this afternoon, and there was a hell of a lot of teaching going on…

Related Characters: Hally (speaker), Sam (speaker)
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

Sam has revealed what really happened on the day of the kite; Hally, dejected, has asked Willie to lock up and goes to leave. Sam has asked if it's possible for them to "try again," but Hally responds that he doesn't know, repeating "I don't know anything anymore." This exchange evokes a tension in the way in which education, ignorance, and power operate. While Sam insists that "there was a hell of a lot of teaching going on" during the course of the afternoon, Hally claims not to "know anything anymore." Keeping in mind the context of Hally's heavily biased, colonial education, this moment seems to imply that for those in positions of power, gaining knowledge can feel like becoming ignorant. 

This passage also illustrates the complex nature of the connection between knowledge and optimism. Hally's claim not to know anything seems closely related to his increasingly defeated, pessimistic outlook; meanwhile, Sam says "it would be pretty hopeless" if Hally truly felt he had not learned anything that afternoon. While it is fairly common to associate optimism with a kind of ignorant naïveté, Sam and Hally's exchange indicates that perhaps it might be necessary to have a hopeful attitude in order to acquire knowledge and understanding, even if that understanding in turn reveals the world to be a rather bleak place. 

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Hally Character Timeline in "Master Harold" … and the Boys

The timeline below shows where the character Hally appears in "Master Harold" … and the Boys. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
"Master Harold" … and the Boys
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
...with his practice, Sam gives a demonstration of the quickstep. He is a great dancer. Hally, the owner’s son enters at the door to see the end of Sam’s performance. Willie... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Hally is unhappy at the news, and because Sam only overheard his mother talking on the... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Hally and Willie banter about dance and Willie accidentally hits Hally with his washrag. Hally tells... (full context)
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Hally starts to do his school work at the table and Sam grabs a mathematics book... (full context)
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Hally says that progress is possible and society might one day be changed for the better... (full context)
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Now Sam takes the history textbook from Hally’s school case. He turns at random to some lines about the French General and later... (full context)
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Sam asks Hally whom he would choose as a man of magnitude, and Hally says Charles Darwin. Sam... (full context)
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Sam suggests William Shakespeare, but Hally says Sam’s only read the play Julius Caesar and that the language in Shakespeare should... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Sam recalls his first lesson, a lesson in geography he was able to get from Hally when Hally had come to his and Willie’s servants’ quarters at the back of the... (full context)
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Hally spent so much time with Sam and Willie there that he recalls having walked in... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Hally tells Sam to guess his favorite memory, and goes on to recall coming into Sam’s... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Next, Hally tells how Sam told him to run and remembers how his embarrassment and anxiety melted... (full context)
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Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Hally says that a black man and white boy flying a kite is strange. Sam asks... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Hally’s mother phones from the hospital. Sam answers and gives the phone to Hally. When he... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Hally tells Sam and Willie they heard right, his father is coming home. His mother won’t... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Sam asks Hally about his homework. The assignment is to “Write five hundred words describing an annual even... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
...song about Willie dancing with his pillow, and, losing his temper, Willie charges at Sam. Hally yells at the two men to stop fooling around and hits Willie in the backside... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Sam says dancing is a harmless pleasure, and Hally says it’s a simple-minded pleasure that doesn’t challenge the intellect. Sam says it does other... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Hally says that dance isn’t art and that art is “the giving of meaning to matter”... (full context)
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
...and his Ochestral Jazzonians, and the climax of the evening when the winners are announced. Hally begins to ask more questions about the event, where it's held, how often, and concludes... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Hally says his English teacher will argue with him because he “doesn’t like natives,” but, Hally... (full context)
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
...and, if he plays the jukebox, he won’t be able to take the bus, and Hally thinks about taking some money from the till (cash register) but decides against it. They’ll... (full context)
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Hally asks if there are any penalties for stumbling or doing something wrong. Sam and Willie... (full context)
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
...got past just dreaming about it and are actually doing something right, like Mahatma Gandhi. Hally says when it comes down to it the United Nations is like a dancing school... (full context)
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Hally’s mom phones again, this time from a private telephone—presumably, her home phone. She has brought... (full context)
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
After protesting, Hally speaks to his father and we can see that Hally is genuinely conflicted. He is... (full context)
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Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Hally is disconsolate and silent after hanging up the phone. Sam tries to comfort him, and... (full context)
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Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Sam tells Hally to be careful of the things he’s saying, warning him not to speak ill of... (full context)
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Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
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Hally tells Sam that his father’s being a white man should be enough for him, and... (full context)
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Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Hally says his father will be glad to hear about the lesson he has given Sam... (full context)
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Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Hally spits in Sam’s face and Sam starts calling him Master Harold. Sam warns Master Harold... (full context)
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Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Sam tells Hally that Hally doesn’t know what he’s done. Hally has made him, Sam says, feel dirtier... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Cripples and Broken Things Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
After the incident, Sam says, Hally was dejected for days. Sam made the kite to try and cheer Hally up, and... (full context)
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
Sam asks Hally to wait. He says he has no business telling Hally how to be a man... (full context)