Symbolism in Master Harold and the Boys
Because Hally’s father is an alcoholic cripple, Sam takes it upon himself to be a better role model in Hally’s life, which is why the kite is a sign of Sam’s fatherly love for Hally and a lesson to Hally to not judge people that are different.
The kite is a clear symbol of Sam’s love for Hally. As a little boy, Hally did not have someone he could look up to because he was ashamed of his father’s behavior. Sam took pity on him and decided to be a good example for Hally. Sam made the kite because he loved Hally and he wanted Hally to have something that he could be proud of. When thinking back to that day, Hally said, “I was so proud of us! It was the most splendid thing I had ever seen.” Now that Hally is grown, Sam still tries to be a good father figure but he failed to help Hally because Hally is still a rude, judgmental, and racist boy. Sam tries at one final attempt to save Hally when he says, “Should we try again, Hally? … Fly another kite, I suppose. It worked once, and this time I need it as much as you do.” Even though Hally became a terrible person, Sam never gave up on him because Hally was a son to him.
The kite also represents Sam’s lesson to Hally to not judge people, even though that lesson clearly did not pass through Hally’s thick skull. Hally’s first thoughts about Sam making a kite were, “the sheer audacity of it took my breath away. I mean, seriously, what the hell does a black man know about flying a kite? … I had no hopes for it” and “Can you remember what the poor thing looked like? … Hell no, that was now only asking for a miracle to happen.” But despite its appearance, Hally said, “I still can’t believe my eyes… the miracle happened…” when it proved itself by flying high in the wind. Obviously Sam failed once again to make Hally a decent human being, because Hally still proves to be judgmental and now very racist as a teenager.