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Violence in Modern Drama - Essay Example

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Violence in Modern Drama

Both works deal with different forms of racism, hatred and violence. Both the works try to show the futility of violence and hatred. In both the works, the mental turmoil faced by teenage boys due to frustration and confusion is highlighted .In "Master Harold and the Boys"' the cause of the violence is the policy of Apartheid followed by the government of South Africa , which fanned the anger and hatred between the blacks and the whites. In "American History X" written by David McKenna and directed by Tony Kaye, the death of their father who was shot while he was doing his duty as a fireman, turns the sons violent and full of hate for the other races.

Athol Fugard has written a semi- autobiographical play in "Master Harold". The entire play takes place in a restaurant, St.George's Tea Room, in Port Elizabeth in South Africa . The year is 1950, when South Africa still followed a policy of apartheid. The play begins when the seventeen year old boy Hally (Harold), who is the son of the owner of the restaurant, comes back from school. Hally treats Sam and Willie, the two black employees as his friends. Sam is his special friend because Sam allows himself to be taught by the boy. Hally's father is an alcoholic and Hally does not like him. In fact, he hopes his father will stay some more days in the hospital where he is admitted.
The friendship between Hally who is white and Sam and Willie who are black is quite sincere. Sam had taught the boy how to make a kite and fly it. Making and flying a kite had increased Hally’s self confidence. Hally teaches Sam what he learnt in school, and Sam teaches Hally real life skills, like a father. Sam is an admirable character, who attempts to transcend the hate. He thinks life is like a dance where nobody knows the steps. In the racist environment of South Africa, Hally's role model is Sam, since his own father is not an admirable character. Hally who lacked self confidence, is taught by Sam to make and fly the kite .By the act of flying a kite, Hally gains self confidence. He says, ".I still can't believe my eyes.It was flying.I was so proud of us." (Fugard 1092)
In the mid twentieth century, South Africa followed a policy of apartheid which humiliated the blacks. Sam says, referring to a "WHITES ONLY" bench on which Hally was sitting, "I couldn't sit down there and stay with you". (Fugard 1091) Growing up in such an environment, Hally is a confused person. Hally's father who is a cripple and a racist besides being an alcoholic, makes him do horrible tasks like cleaning pot full of phlegm Finally , when Hally hears that his father is returning from the hospital that day, his confusion turns into rage, and he ends by spitting in Sam's face. He forgets all the teachings of Sam to consider life like a dance, and turns violent. The policy of apartheid and his father's blatant racism are too much and they push him towards violence.
The film "American History X" also deals with violence caused among young people by hate and intolerance. Written by David McKenna and directed by Tony Kaye, "American HistoryX" is a powerful ...Show more

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