Master Harold and the Boys

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In the play Master Harold and the boys, the telephone is a very significant symbol. It acts as a scene changer, as well as a mood changer the most for one particular character, Hally. In this summary, I will briefly describe a few instances throughout the play where the telephone is described, and the effects it has on the characters.

In the beginning, Hally, a young white man arrives at his mother and father’s restaurant where he is greeted by two black “servants.” One of the “servants”, Sam informs Hally that his mom had phoned for him about a half an hour ago. Hally’s mood immediately changed from happy/content to nervousness/worry. Hally seemed to know that when his mother called, it was for good reason. Hally began pestering Sam with questions about the phone call. He wanted to know where his mother called from, what she called for and how long ago it was that she called. Sam explained that his mother had told him that she was bringing his father home from the hospital. Hally then became even more worried and tried to accuse Sam of lying. There was no way Hally’s mother was bringing his father home from the hospital, because he was still too sick. He then tried to call his mother at home, but there was no answer. This made Hally contemplate if the news could be true. As the two servants went back to work, Hally stood alone in confusion and worry. All he could seem to do is think about what this news means, and how it will affect him.

Ring…ring…ring. Sam answers the phone while Hally stops his train of thought. He is listening and holding on to every word Sam says. This telephone call acts as a scene changer and also a mood changer for Hally and the servants; they all stop what they are doing to find out what is happening. Hally relates the phone ringing to something bad happening. Sam tells Hally that it is his mother on the phone for him. In worry Hally asks if the call is local or private, almost as if he is preparing his speech to his mother. Once...
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