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Men of Magnitude

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Sean O'Tool

on 18 November 2013

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Transcript of Men of Magnitude

Men of Magnitude
Definition in the text
Man of Magnitude: ‘somebody who benefitted all mankind’

This is how Hally describes a Man of Magnitude in the text of Master Harold and the Boys
I think the theme related to the topic is giving a comparison of Hally's views as a white boy in comparison to Sam's, a black South African servent. All of their choices for men of magnitude are based on their beliefs of the world they are living in. Sam wishes for equality and peace and he reflects this in his choices. Hally on the other hand is broken. He doesn't want to believe in those things because of shame and his tough family situated. So instead he chooses more scientifical people. He is afraid to have hope, because he believes the real world is awful.
The idea of this topic is to give the reader and Idea of how each character thinks. It gives an example of Sam and Hally's personality and compares them.
Men of Magnitude
When Sam and Hally are arguing over who they would consider a "man of magnitude, they find agreement and disagreement
Charles Darwin - Known for his theories of evloution and his ground breaking discoveries. (Hally choice)
Abraham Lincoln - 16th president who abolished slavery in the U.S. (Sams choice)
William Shakespeare - Most famous poet/play writer to have ever lived (Sams choice)
Hally Disagrees with sam on both of these. he argues that Sam was never a slave and he never lived in America, so he asks him to try again. He disagrees with Sam once again, when Sam brings up Shakespeare and argues the Sam doesn't understand enough about Shakespeare to choose him.
Jesus Christ - This a big disagreement between Sam and Hally. It shows the difference between their personalities when it comes to religion. Sam is a strong religious believer, but Hally on the other hand is proud to call himself and aethiest. Sam is always hopeful, however Hally is very negative and doesn't want to believe that anything will get better. I think comes back to the issues he has with his family and especially his father.
Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy - "a literary genius." (Hally's choice)
It takes some coaxing, but finally Sam agree he is a man of magnitude.
Sir Alexander Fleming - inventor of penicillin and a renowned medical scientist. (Sam's choice)
This is the only person they are in total agreement with. It delights them both is agree that he is a man of magnitude.

Historical setting
Apartheid in South Africa
As you probably know, in 1950's South Africa, there was a great Apartheid that was in place. It completely separated white and black South Africans. The black people worked for the white people and were looked down upon during this civil injustice. It is basically the entire setting for the play, Master Harold and the Boys. It gives us a backdrop so that we can understand how significant this play was back then. You can start to understant why Sam chooses people like Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ. They are both men who brought liberation to their people, which is clearly what Sam longs for. Sam is always hopeful. He wants to break down the barrier between black and white people as much as he can, and I think that's why he chooses who he chooses for men of magnitude.
Men of Magnitude in 1983
U.S. President: Harry S. Truman
Prime Minister: Winston Churchill
Nelson Mandela - Fought for peace and civil right in South Africa during the Great apartheid, but was arrested for almost 30 years for his actions against segregation. He was a huge figure in South Africa then and still is today. He was one of the strongest influences against apartheid.
Men of Magnitude vs. Cripples

Phone call #1
1. After amicable interactions with Sam and Willy, Hally receives the first phone call from his mother
2. While he is on the phone, as the reader, you can tell that the happy Hally, seen earlier, has become stressed and angry. As if he has snapped back into reality.

Phone call #2
1. After Hally comes back from the anxiety of the first phone call, he starts to engage in friendly conversation once again
2. Once again he becomes angry, snaps back to reality, and starts to boss around Sam and Willy.

Phone Call #3
1. Once Hally finally gets back to a calm state he recieves the third and final phone call from is mother.
2. This is the worst phone call yet and it bings us to the climax.

During the climax Willy falls into anger and harshness once again after the last phone call. Sam tries to help him, but Hally doesn't listen. He tells Sam the he should start calling him Master Harold. When Sam hears this he tells Hally, "If you make me say I'll never call you anything else again. From there hally proceeds to insult Sam and spits in his face. This is when the story reaches its climax
The climax is resolved as Hally is leaving the shop, Sam turns to him and asks if he want to try again. He says, "Fly another kite, I suppose. It worked once, and this time I need it as much as you do." after conversing about this for a while longer Hally leaves the shop quietly and the conflict is resolved those moments.
During the time the play is set in (1950) there are many civil rights event happening, especially in South Africa, where the play is set.
Men of Magnitude and Cripples are complete opposites when compared, however they fit very well together in the story.
When Hally talks about cripples he is really talking about his father. He is hurt by that fact, and he is angry because he thinks it is his fathers fault for causing ruining everything. He does not believe in a world without collisions, because of his past experiences with his fathers handicap. A Man of Magnitude is the opposite of Hally's father, who is a crippled. Hally does not have a Man of Magnitude in his life and I think that is why it is such a big theme in this play.
Any Questions?
Full transcript