The literary works Master Harold and the Boys and boy and egg illustrate clearly the device employed by their authors of showing their main characters trapped by their surroundings.

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The play “Master Harold and the Boys” is a literary work written by Athol Fugard, a famous South African playwright. It is set in South Africa during the Apartheid government, and deals with themes that portray loneliness, racial discrimination, family and internal conflicts of their main characters. The poem “Boy and Egg” is a literary work written by Naomi Shihab Nye, which deals as well with themes of character´s internal struggles and isolation. Authors of literary works often show characters trapped due to certain situations as a device to highlight the themes in their creations. In both the poem and the play, there are some characters, Hally in the case  of “Master Harold and the Boys” and the boy in the case of “Boy and Egg”, who appear trapped by several factors, such as the social environment that surrounds them and their emotional struggles, which in the case of Hally are triggered by his past. In both cases, the main characters attempt to resolve their confinement throughout escaping their problems instead of facing them.

In the literary work “Master Harold and The Boys”, Hally feels trapped in a first instance by the social environment that surrounds him. In the first place, he feels trapped due to his familiar reality. On the one hand, he has a drunken crippled father, with whom he has a very distant relationship. In many occasions the main character of the play has to take the role of an adult and take care of him. On the other hand, he has a weak mother with no authority over neither him nor his father. From a very young age, when he lived at the Old Jubilee Boarding house, Hally had to look for company in his parents’ servants, since they were not able to provide him the familiar support every young child needs at that age. As a result, Hally feels trapped due to lack of familiar comprehension, with no one belonging to his family available to rely on. Instead of trying to improve his familiar relationship, he avoids it and blinds himself to his reality. Hally therefore looks for support in Sam, a black servant of Hally´s family tea shop, who is constantly looking after him and is his moral advisor. In the second place, Hally feels enclosed as well by the social influence of his surroundings. In the context of the Apartheid in South Africa, black people segregation was a common issue. Racial discrimination was recurrent among white people. Hally feels trapped because he escapes the stereotype established by society by having Sam and Willie as friends and counselors. The main character of the play has a conflict between following the culture that surrounds him, which includes his father´s thoughts, or following his own ideas. Therefore, he feels trapped by his social environment, but does nothing to change it neither. Hally, the main character of Athol Fugard´s “Master Harold and the Boys” feels confined by the social surroundings in which he is inserted: both his family and the culture to which he belongs. Even though he has the tools to face these problems, he prefers to avoid them and therefore escape his reality.

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In the second literary work, “Boy and Egg”, the boy as well feels trapped by the social environment that surrounds him. The boy is inserted in a place with a lot of other kids, but he is rejected due to his age: “So little yet, too forgetful in games”. The other kids say he is not capable of playing with them because he is too small. As a result, the boy is faced to isolation and exclusion coming from the society that surrounds him, that in this case are the other kids. The boy therefore feels trapped because he does ...

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