Oppression Essay, Research Paper


In the two novels, Master Harold…and the boys and the boys, and Like Water for

Chocolate, there are many symbolic similarities. In both books there are acts where

individuals strongly oppressed, or discriminated against. Although the individuals are

being oppressed for different reasons their emotions are shattered deeply. In Athol

Fugard’s book Master Harold and the boys, an older man is discriminated against by a

younger child only because the older man is black and the child is white. In Laura

Esquivel’s book Like water for chocolate, a girl by the name of “Tita” is oppressed by her

own mother because of the soul reason of being the youngest child, therefore lying in her

destiny to serve her mother till death, and being unable to decide her own destiny.

However in both cases there are signs of rebellion, and protestation, even though both

novels do not end the same end the same, both Sam and Tita get their point across.

Hally is a young white boy living in Africa, it is safe to say that he was raised by a

black man by the name of Sam. Now Hally is starting to grow up and he is noticing

things which he did not notice when he was younger. He realized that where he lives

white people have certain rights over black people. Hally owns a cafe and he has got two

black men working for him, one of which is Sam. Hally walks in one morning and finds

Willie and Sam dancing, preparing for a dance contest. “Hally- Think you stand a chance.

Act your bloody age! (Hurls the rag at Willie) Cut out the nonsense now and get on with

your work. And you too, Sam. Sop fooling around ” (Athol Fugard, Master Harold and

the boys 18). Hally criticizes Sam by asking him sarcastically if he really thinks that he is

good enough to win a dancing contest. Hally screams at Willie and Sam for making a

mistake, this is ironic because Willie and Sam are in their forties while Hally is not even

a teenager yet. Hally has power over Sam and Willie because of their difference in skin


Tita falls deeply in love with a man by the name of Pedro. Pedro asks Tita to get

married, she would love to marry Pedro but she knows that her destiny is to take care of

her mother till death. Tita will confront her mother and ask her permission to marry the

man he loves. “If he intends to ask for your hand, tell him not to bother. He’ll be wasting

his time and mine too. You know perfectly well that being the youngest daughter means

you have to take care of me until the day I die” (Laura Esquivel, Like Water for chocolate

10). Tita loves Pedro dearly and would love to marry him, but her mother refuses to

grant her permission because she is the youngest daughter and her task in life being to

take care of her mother till death.

Sam is like a father figure to Hally but yet he doesn’t respect him, because of the

color of his skin. “Hally- Don’t turn your back on me! I haven’t finished talking (He grabs

Sam by the arm and tries to make him turn around. Sam reacts with a flash of anger”

(54). Hally does not respect Sam, he not only orders him around but becomes violent

when Sam does not listen to him. He treats Sam like a dog.

Mama Elena refuses to let her youngest daughter get married, to make the

situation worse she Pedro and his dad show up at the ranch to ask permission from mama

Elena to get married to Tita. Mama Elena refuses to approve on the marriage of her

youngest daughter. “But if you really want Pedro to get married, allow me to suggest my

daughter Rosaura, who’s just two years older than Tits. She is one hundred percent

available, and ready for marriage” (13). Not only does mama Elena disapprove the

marriage of Pedro and Tita but she offers Rosaura, which is an older daughter.

Hally is not grateful for what Sam has done for him in life. He understands that

Sam cannot do anything to him, because he is white and Sam is black. Hally therefor

Hally takes advantage of this, by degrading Sam whenever he can. “Hally- (quietly) Sam..

(Sam stops and looks expectantly at the boy. Hally spits in his face. A long and heartfelt

groan from Willie. For a few seconds Sam doesn’t move)” (56). The worse act of

discrimination one person can possibly do to another, is spitting in one’s face. This is

extremely degrading.

Mama Elena sets up a marriage between the man that Tita loves and her sister

Roraura. Tita is extremely depressed. “I won’t stand for disobedience, Mama Elena told

her, nor am I going to allow you to ruin your sister’s wedding, with your acting like a

victim. You’re in charge of all the preparations starting now, and don’t ever let me catch

you with a single tear or even a long face, do you hear?” (27). Not only does mama Elena

approve the marriage between Rosaura and Pedro, but she also holds Tita responsible for

the preparations of the marriage of her sister.

Hally- Think you stand a chance” (Athol Fugard, Master Harold and the boys 9).

Sam shows sign of rebellion against Hally. He is tired of being picked on and spoken

down to just because of the color of his skin. “Hally-(Pause as Hally looks for something

to say) To begin with, why don’t you also start calling me Master Harold, like Willie”

(54). Sam proves appoint to Hally and Hally does not know how to reply so he relies on

the fact that he is on a higher rank and asks Sam to call him Master Harold, instead if

Hally. This proves the power trip which Hally is going through. Sam is an old friend as

well as a father figure, and know Sam has got to put the word “Master” in front of his

name, to demonstrate to himself, Hally, and everyone else how Hally is at a higher level

than Sam. “Sam- (Quietly and very carefully) If you make me say it once, I’ll never call

you anything else again”(54). This is the only sign of rebellion that Sam shows. He lets

Hally know that he is against it, and threatens to not call him anything else. At this point

Sam realizes that Hally has grown up and changed.

Tita rebels against the ghost of mama Elena. The Ghost shows up to tell Tita that

what she is doing is wrong. “See what you’ve done now? You and Pedro are Shameless. If

you don’t want blood to flow in this house, go where you can’t do any harm to anybody,

before it’s too late. The one who should be going is you. I’m tired of your tormenting

me. Leave me in peace once and for all. Once and for all, leave me alone; I won’t put up

with you! I’ve always hated you! Tita had said the magic words that would make Mama

Elena disappear forever”(199). (199). After all this time Tita finally stands up against her

mother, and puts her in her place. She chooses to fight back instead of just remaining

quiet and obeying her mom’s orders.

Throughout the novels Like Water for Chocolate, and Mater Harold…and the

boys, Tita and Sam experience discrimination. The difference between them were that

after Sam protested, he was still treated the same, were as when Tita rebelled, she was set

free. The ad thing about all this is that, Sam’s example is what happens in the real world.

Maybe people can learn from these novels and stop discriminating people because they

were born in class were they are expected to do perform only certain roles in society, or

obey certain people.

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