Study Guide

Master Harold... and the boys Home and Family

By Athol Fugard

Home and Family

Home, sweet home it ain't. In "Master Harold" …and the boys, home is where the humiliation is. Hally, the main character, has nothing but terrible memories of the boarding house he grew up in with his mom and a cast of seedy tenants. In his current life his dad is a drunk who humiliates his family, uses his son's school money to buy alcohol, and makes Hally feel responsible for taking care of him.

For Hally, the only refuge in all this chaos is the "servants' quarters," where his friends Sam and Willie let him hide out in the afternoons. Their sad little room is the only place he feels safe, the only place he feels at home. Sam proves to be a much better "father" to him.

Questions About Home and Family

  1. Who is the person Hally most identifies with his home? Why?
  2. What is the significance of Sam's and Willie's room in Hally's conception of home?
  3. Why does Hally have such a negative feeling about his home?
  4. Where is Hally's dad, and why doesn't Hally want him to come home?

Chew on This

By rebelling against Sam and Willie, Hally is symbolically leaving home.

Why can we consider Sam as more of a father than Hally's actual father?

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