How "Master Harold and the Boys" Conveys the Negative Effects of Apartheid More Effectively than "Too Late the Phalarope"

Essay by carlstrate9 October 2007

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Athol Fugard and Alan Paton both lived through South Africa's apartheid era; the South African government shunned them; and each fought the horror of segregation through literature. Yet, though the two men existed for the same purpose, their methods of persuasion differed. Paton's books and Fugard's plays helped the cause of apartheid in their own ways, but certain dramas written by Fugard portray the negative effects of apartheid much more effectively than various pieces of literature created by Paton. "Master Harold and the Boys", a masterpiece written by Fugard, displays apartheid in a much more meaningful, insightful, and realistic way than "Too Late the Phalarope", a book written by Paton. The play Master Harold and the Boys captures the reality of apartheid through its rational plot and setting, its personable cast, and the way it captures the sophistication of black culture.

The events occurring in Master Harold and the Boys seem extremely likely: at that time countless black employees worked under white employers.

However, in Too Late the Phalarope, the main character, Pieter, plays rugby for the national team, holds the post of a lieutenant in the Police, and becomes respected by soldiers throughout the world. In the prelude, Paton even denounces the reality of his story. "No event or incident in the story is intended to relate to, or represent, any actual incident or event, and the names used are the invention of the author, who apologizes should he have inadvertently used the names of actual persons." (Paton, Prelude)Athol Fugard's choices of character reflect the knowledge of his audience; he invents a plot that many residents in South Africa and the rest of the world can relate to, in order to prove his point. Not many men or women understand a man of...