Sexual Identity In Kushner's Angles In America

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Struggles of Sexual Identity in Kushner’s Angles in America Angles in America by Tony Kushner explores the critical issue of what it means to be a homosexual at a time when Republican Right Wing ideals dictated the country with anti-gay propaganda. Many characters in the book are homosexuals struggling to fit in the conservative society at the time whether they followed those ideologies or not. The already isolated queer community faced even more backlash as the AIDS epidemic became a negative label associated with them. But not everyone’s struggle with homosexuality came from a desire to be treated as an equal and have legal rights, some struggled with self acceptance. Joe Pitt, a deeply closeted homosexual with strong religious values and…show more content…
He is able to open up to him talk about his struggles with god and religion and his desire to start a new life and accept who he is. Although Joe is more open about his identity with Louis he never directly refers to his homosexuality in the passage and that portrays the deeply rooted battle between who he wants to be and who he is. In the passage Joe tells Louis about coming to work on a sunday and the fear that overcame him as he entered the deserted workplace. Both Joe and Louis work at the Justice department in the play which is very significant because of the definition of “justice” and what it symbolizes in the play. About justice Louis says: “is an immensity, a…confusing vastness. Justice is God.”(Kushner 40) We can see the significance of the Hall of Justice in the play. “It just flashed throughout my mind: the whole Hall of Justice, it’s empty, it’s deserted, it’s gone out of business. Forever. The people that make it run up have up and abandoned it.” (Kushner, 75) Justice, in Kushner’s Angles in America, symbolizes God therefore the Hall of Justice is where God’s words would be applied to society. Fear of God dictates many aspects of Joe’s life, that fear creates a barrier between Joe and acceptance of his sexual orientation. But God is not who Joe thinks he is, the God’s in the Hall of Justice are people who use their power to oppress behaviours or beliefs…show more content…
We see Joe as a new man who wants to change his life but is not able to because of the internal conflict that he struggles with. Joe expresses the desire to change: “Very great. To shed your skin, every old skin, one by one and then walk away, unencumbered, into the morning. (Kushner, 75) He is always a follower in society, follower of religion, follower of traditional family dynamics, hence it is hard for him to shed his old skin and start a new life. The play portrays the life and status of homosexuals at a time when great emphasis was put on traditional gender roles, men were supposed to be dominant and women submissive and the only acceptable form of relationship was a heterosexual one. Conservative outside forces made it hard for Joe to accept himself but the most important barrier was his own judgment not others. People’s own inside voices can make it impossible for them to be honest about who they are and what they want to do. Joe struggled with his homosexuality for a long time, calling himself ugly and corrupt inside and trying to fit in with the people around him. Soon he realized that it is only through accepting himself, and shedding the skin that is trapping him inside the person he does not want to be, that he will be able to start a new life and be true to who he really

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