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Essay/Term paper: Like water for chocolate and master harold: oppression

Essay, term paper, research paper:  World Literature

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Like Water for Chocolate and Master Harold: Oppression


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 color.

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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