This is a guest blog from my daughter. It is portions of her final essay on Kushner’s Angels in America. I loved it!
People orbit around a central force, mainly our own comforts. These comforts can consist of our religion, our beliefs about what protects us, and in some cases, our addictions. We feel a gravitational pull toward each one of these things, and to venture away from them is terrifying, so when we do leave our orbits of comfort we need thick skins in order to protect us from the world.
Life changes us whether we like it or not, but what Kushner pushes us to understand is that realizing when to accept change is crucial to physical and emotional growth. Via Harper’s line “people are like planets, [they] need a thick skin,” Kushner suggests that a person’s protection can be damaging if it doesn’t allow for them to grow. [I agree.]
[Kushner’s book] illustrates how a person’s refusal to change can be damaging to personal growth and development in relationships. [Louis,] someone who runs away from adversity, is unwilling to change himself when his life is falling apart; instead, he blames others and his surroundings.
Change is hard, and looking to the past for the feeling of comfort is so appealing because no one wants to give up safety. But Kushner [allows us to see] that when you look primarily to the past, to what is known, you are not open to new ideas; however, if you turn to the future, to what is unknown, you allow yourself to grow and look for new ideas.
Harper, especially, exemplifies this because her life is damaged by her addiction and loveless marriage, but she realizes that in order to be saved she must change herself rather than try to fix her surroundings. Although her loveless marriage and addiction are comforting in a way, we see that they are harmful to her growth as a person and damaging to her health, so she is willing to fly away from her old self and life to salvage hope for a healthy life.
Prior, like Harper, is willing to accept change because he knows that it will be better for him in the long term, and even in adversity and facing the threat of death, he teaches us to always choose more life, even when it involves completely altering our mindsets.
[So, lets] embrace life for what it is, which is hard, painful, annoying and difficult, but [also] beautiful, exciting and magnificent. This is something that each character in this play moves towards realizing. Through each character Kushner tries to teach us different lessons like accepting change or realizing when our skin, our established comfort, becomes suffocating. Inevitably these lessons tie back to choosing more life [than comfort.]
XOXO Lovie – thanks for letting me share this.
Have a great weekend everyone!