Study Guide

Master Harold... and the boys Dissatisfaction and Disillusionment

By Athol Fugard

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Dissatisfaction and Disillusionment

Living in a society in which your race determines every single opportunity available to you (or lack thereof), it's not surprising that the characters in "Master Harold" …and the boys are deeply dissatisfied with their lives.

In fact, Hally, the white protagonist, seems much more unhappy than Sam and Willie, the black characters. He hasn't yet accepted the world as it is and still fights against its difficulties and injustices (as they apply to him, that is). Sam and Willie might not be satisfied, but they are resigned to the fact that life just isn't fair.

Questions About Dissatisfaction and Disillusionment

  1. Why do you think Hally is so cynical and dissatisfied with life? Isn't he a little young for that?
  2. Why does Sam keep trying to cheer up Hally when it's basically an impossible task?
  3. What does Sam mean when he says that Hally will be on the bench all by himself if he isn't careful?
  4. Do you think that Sam and Willie are more satisfied than Hally, or that they keep their dissatisfaction to themselves?

Chew on This

Sam and Willie are content with their lot, even though it is a difficult life.

Sam and Willie know that it is dangerous to voice their dissatisfaction, so they pretend to be content.

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