"Master Harold" … and the Boys

The Kite Symbol Icon
At its most basic, the kite that Sam fashions for Hally is a symbol of the human capacity to rise up and to rise above. The kite’s potential for flight is like our potential to transcend both our personal limitations and the broader, more systemic limitations imposed on us by our society and culture. As such, it also represents a kind of joyful freedom. When Sam first presents Hally with the kite, Hally is embarrassed at the idea of flying a kite with a black man, but, when the kite begins to fly, his embarrassment melts away and is replaced by pure elation. Hally’s joy at the prospect of flight blinds him to the fact that Sam is societally excluded from sharing it. Yet, as is later revealed, Hally unknowingly flies the kite from a “whites only” bench. There is an implicit challenge that the story of the kite offers in “Master Harold” and the boys: the plays asks us to keep our eyes open enough to see beyond our own joys or sorrows and register when others are abused, maligned, and oppressed. The kind of carefree joy Hally experiences flying Sam’s kite should be possible for us each and all.

The Kite Quotes in "Master Harold" … and the Boys

The "Master Harold" … and the Boys quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Kite. 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

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The Kite Symbol Timeline in "Master Harold" … and the Boys

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Kite 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
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
...recall coming into Sam’s room and finding Sam in the process of making him a kite. Sam took him to fly it on a hill, he remembers, and Hally was afraid... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Abuse, Oppression, and Inequality Theme Icon
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
...told him to run and remembers how his embarrassment and anxiety melted away when the kite took off flying. He describes it as “the most splendid thing he had ever seen”... (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 says that a black man and white boy flying a kite is strange. Sam asks him why, and Hally counters that it would have been just... (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
...that he is a failure. Sam then reveals the rest of the story about the kite: how Hally’s father got drunk, passed out, and soiled himself on the floor of the... (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 the reason he left Hally on his own... (full context)
Ignorance vs. Learning, Education, and Wisdom Theme Icon
Dance and Dream Theme Icon
...a man if he doesn’t behave like one himself. He says they should fly another kite on another day, and that they should both be mindful of all the teaching that... (full context)