Father Son Relationship In Master Harold

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A seventeen-year-old boy’s superficial discontent towards his disabled father’s return from the hospital draws attention towards what is supposed to be the strongest bond: a father-son relationship. Throughout Athol Fugard’s play “Master Harold” … and the boys, Hally tries to suppress his mixed feelings after each call from his mother, who intends to bring his father home. Athol captures Hally’s true sentiments towards his father through two phone calls, initially provoking irrational anger and uncontrollable emotions, but eventually leading to a defeated reveal of truth. The first phone call from Hally’s mother introduces the boy’s bipolar attitude towards his father. He initially seems concerned, asking about his father’s state and condition, but his distress quickly turns into hostility. Hally adamantly opposes his father’s return, spitefully saying “Order him to get back into bed at once! If he’s going to behave like a child, treat him like one” (33). Hally treats his father like an immature adult incapable of making proper decisions. By telling his mom…show more content…
Following his second call with his mother, Hally becomes emotionally unstable, venting out his frustrations on his servants. When Sam finally snaps and retaliates after Hally’s racist joke, Hally reveals his true feelings towards his father. After Sam recalls a memory in which he carried Hally’s drunk father back home with little Hally by his side, Hally finally admits, “I love him” (58). Hally’s hatred towards his father is not genuine, but derives from shame. Hally is embarrassed of his father’s drinking habits, but even more ashamed of the night when his black servant had to carry his drunk father back home and clean up the mess he made in his pants. Hally’s conversation with Sam and expression of resentment brings out his authentic feelings towards his father, which is not hatred, but
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