Master Harold … and the Boys - Quotations




p.5        “…the secret is to make it look easy. Ballroom must look happy, Willie, not like hard work. It must…Ja! must look like romance.” Attempt to escape reality of servitude; “must look like romance” but in truth the romantic world of escape does not exist.

p.15      “They make you lie down on a bench. One policeman pulls down your trousers and holds your ankles, another one pulls your shirt over your head and holds your arms” True nature of life as a black male in Apartheid South Africa- Hally refuses to hear anymore-racial divide and treatment.

p.24      “You should be grateful. That is why you started passing your exams. You tried to be better than me.” (They laugh together.)          Closeness of the Sam’s and Hally’s relationship. Sam acts as surrogate father-teaches Hally, but they teach each other; friendship.

p.46      “Look at the three of us this afternoon: I’ve bumped into Willie, the two of us have bumped into you, you’ve bumped into your mother, she bumping into your dad…none of us knows the steps and there’s no music playing.” Contrast to fantasy of perfect and romanticized world (ballroom dancing)

p.46      “What I’m saying to you is that everybody’s got it.” Reference to dancing-but can be said to allude to equality between races. All aspire to the same romanticized and perfect world.

p.58      “If you ever do write it as a short story, there was a twist 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” Hopelessness of a possible friendship-with Hally’s growing awareness of his social obligations.



p.4        “Stage instructions- He gets up and moves the bucket. Stands thinking for a moment, then raisin his arms to hold an imaginary partner, he launches into an intricate dance step.”  Willie’s escape from reality of life for a black male in Apartheid South Africa- moves the bucket-pushes aside servitude and enters his own fantasy.

p.7 “So? She makes me the hell in-too much.” Coarse and potentially abusive individual

p.9 “At your service, Master Harold!” Does not share the close informal relationship with Hally as same does. Shows Willie at least in this instance to be subordinate to Sam and especially Hally.

p.13      Sam: Count Basie always gets there first. (Willie lets fly with his slop rag. It misses Sam and hits Hally) Almost childlike character of Willie. Again resorts to impulsive actions in response to Sam’s lighthearted joke.

p.7        “He’s little boy, Boet Sam, little white boy. Long trousers now, but he’s still little boy.” In this instance, even more than Sam, Willie recognizes the reality of the situation (Hally having just spit in Sam’s face). Hally is young and follows ideals set out for him by his society. Unable to comprehend the damage he has just caused



p.15      “I’ve heard enough, Sam! Jesus! It’s a bloody awful world when you come to think of it.” Referring to police beatings of blacks-separation in society-for the black community it is an ‘awful world’-Sam being exempt from this world Closeness of Hally’s relationship with Same and Willie-discussing open and freely issues that more than likely would be taboo or socially unacceptable.

p.19      “To answer [who is a great man], we need a definition of greatness and I supposed that would be somebody who…who benefited all mankind.” Roles are reversed-Hally an adolescent teaching a middle aged man. All ‘great’ individuals listed are white males-recognition that only Caucasians men are seen to have the ability to further humanity.

p.29      “The sheer audacity of it took my breath away. I mean seriously what, the hell does a black man know about flying a kite?” Clear example of social belief’s of Hally. Hally’s lack of understanding-Sam in the end was taking Hally’s mind away from the harsh and neglected reality of his relationship with his father. Sam was acted as a surrogate father to Hally.

p.31      “I don’t know. Would have been just as strange, I supposed, if it had been me and my dad…cripple man and a little boy. Nope! There’s no chance of me flying a kite without it being strange.” Conflict between relationships in Hally’s life-on one side he has Sam but on the other his real father who, incapacitated and an alcoholic, does not seem to play a pivotal in the boy’s life. Depicts Hally’s embarrassment and shame.

p.38      (after Hally strikes Willie) “Get back to your work. You too Sam.” Follows Hally’s frustrating call from his mother. Hally’s irritation is carried through to Sam and Willie Shows the fact that although these three individuals are friends, on the surface Hally only a young man, superior to both Sam and Willie.

p.56      “Sam” (Sam stops and looks expectantly at the boy. Hally spits in his face.) Harsh depiction of the reality. Any equitable relationship between a white and a black male is impossible. Hally has lost his innocence and fallen in line with Apartheid society-shows Hally’s malicious nature, he trick Sam into turning around only to humiliate him.





·         "Don't be clever, Sam. It doesn't suit you." (Referring to themes of anger, apartheid, white dominance over blacks)

·         "You know what that bench means now, and you can leave it any time you choose." (Referring to themes of the apartheid, loss of innocence, torn between worlds)

·         "The way we want life to be ... a world without collisions. (Referring to themes of escapism, idealism and Apartheid)

·         “…and the one that gives you the strokes talks to you gently and for a long time between each.” (Referring to themes of apartheid, segregation, ignorance, reality)

·         “What the hell does a black man know about flying a kite?” (Referring to themes of ignorance, white oppression)

·         “He struts around like a little despot...” (Referring to themes of aggression, dominance, power, social class)

·         “He’s a white man and that’s good enough for you” (Referring to themes of apartheid, social power)



·         "An intrepid social reformer will not be daunted by the magnitude of the task he has undertaken." (Referring to themes of power of the individual, to change)

·         “Like you and Winston Churchill” (Referring to themes of fatherly figure)

·         “Then came my first lesson.” (Referring to themes of teaching, power and dominance)

·         “There were occasions when we deliberately let you win a game…” (Referring to themes of education, self-control)

·         “Hell, Sam, couldn’t you have waited until it was dark?” (Referring to themes of education, fatherly figure)



·         “…big chamber pot with roses on the side and it’s full to the brim with piss.” (Referring to themes of losing control, realist)

·         Boet Sam? Lets dream.” (Referring to themes of escapism)


Two Worlds

·         “…but it also means we’re in for a nice quiet afternoon.” (Referring to themes of torn between worlds)

·         “I’ve also got a memory of a little white boy…” (Referring to themes of childhood innocence)

·         “God, what mental rubbish” (Referring to escapism, realist)




The dancing

p.5        “Ballroom must look happy…not like hard work”

p.46      “Learn to dance life like champions instead of always being just a bunch of beginners at it?”


Hally’s phone conversation with his mother

p.33      “All I want is for him to get better. And if he was, I’d be the first person to say: “Bring him home”. But he’s not…”


The kite memory

p.28      “What the hell does a black man know about flying a kite”

p.31      “You can’t fly kites on rainy days”


The bench memory

p.58      “It was a “Whites Only” bench. You were too young, too excited to notice then. But not anymore”

p.60      “You don’t have to sit up there by yourself. You know what that bench means now, and you can leave it any time you choose”


The climatic argument between Sam and Hally

p.54      “To begin with, why don’t you also start calling me Master Harold”

p.54      “He grabs Sam by the arm and tries to make him turn around. Sam reacts with a flash of anger”

p.56      “The face you should be spitting in is your father’s…but you used mine, because you think you’re safe inside your fair skin”