Novel Discussion Post

This assignment was given in order to reinforce/test for any learning targets that were not hit. I decided to use SC 7  and SC10.

In the discussion post, I compared and contrasted the plays “Master Harold and the Boys” and “Death of a Salesman”.


Discussion post:

Master Harold and the Boys by Athol Fugard and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller are both plays with very different themes. However, they both intensely focus on how their moral values affect the way that they treat family. In Master Harold and the Boys, although the servants, Sam and Willy, are not biologically related to their young Master Hally, but their bond is so strong that it could be comparable to such. This is portrayed by the anecdotes that they recount in their conversations; for instance, when Hally was young, he would prefer to go to the servants barracks rather than play with the other white boys. Sam and Willy are his fatherly figures, especially since Hally’s father is an alcoholic and rarely takes up his parental duties. Their relationship is so strong, in fact, that Sam is willing to defy his young Master by telling him what he believes is wrong and right. Sam attempts to transfer his moral compass to his ‘child’ by telling Hally not to speak badly about his father. Meanwhile, in Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is very materialistic and only cares about how his sons, Happy and Biff, are doing financially. Biff is the Willy’s foil because he has little to no interest in money and values his freedom and nurturing his interests more. This is seen through his conversations with Happy, where he details how he wants to escape society and build his own ranch. In the end, for both plays, the characters’ moral values is what destroys their relationships. For Master Harold and the Boys, Sam oversteps his boundaries by sticking to his morals and trying to make Hally have the same values as him. This is because in this time in England, blacks were still considered inferior to whites, so this act was considered unspeakable during that time. Hally, already conditioned to his society, explodes in outrage, eventually causing him to say something extremely racist remarks: thus permanently ruining a part of their relationship. In Death of a Salesman, Willy’s monetary values causes an insurmountable drift between him and Biff. Although Biff tries to close that gap, it fails because Willy is not satisfied with effort. He is only satisfied with results, which is becoming rich. Willy’s worldview combined with him hearing and seeing hallucinations of the woman he had an affair with leads to his death. Overall, these two plays have similar topics of morality and family, but wildly contrasting messages behind them.