Queer Binaries in Kushner's Angels in America

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This paper will discuss Tony Kushner’s Angels in America - A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, published in 1992. The play gives insight into what it meant to be a gay American in the late 20th century showing accurate depictions of social, medical, religious, and political life. The importance of this play cannot be overlooked as even a decade after the premier, the play was dubbed as “one of the most important pieces of theater to come out of the late 20th century” (Odenwald). One question remains, is the play still relevant today? By using a post-structuralist approach this paper attempts a queer theory deconstruction of the text looking for contradictions and the ways it empowers the underlying conflictory motif. Considering the fact that today’s political and social climate is very much like the one discussed in the play, it is well worth trying to find out if said play is indeed still relevant. In doing so we will look at issues of disease, sexuality, binary systems, and conflict trying to show how a play that talks of the queer fails in actually being a play about the queer. In a very distinctive manner the play works on the basis of the self versus the other paradigm. Said paradigm comes to show how the world of New York is taking shape in a heteronormative way. If everything has a place, and order, a specific way of functioning then the play would be the villain destroying the context and trying to recreate something new- free of bias and prejudice. The question of boundary, specifically, social boundary arises from the need to understand (outside of the play) the plurality and versatility an actor must have. While social boundaries have been created in order to discourage people from crossing, or mixing gender roles and... ... middle of paper ... ...not walk the walk. In other words, Millennium approaches, but, to what avail? Works Cited Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2009. Print. Fausto-Sterling, Anne (March/April 1993). "The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are Not Enough". The Sciences: 20–24. Kusher, Tony. Angels in America: Parts 1 & 2, Nick Hern Books, London, 2007 Odenwald, Dan. "Soaring Angels." : Angels in America on HBO: TV Section: Metro Weekly. Washington, D.C.'s Gay & Lesbian News Magazine, 4 Dec. 2003. Web. 20 Jan. 2014. . Theberge, Nancy. "'It’s Part of the Game’: Physicality and the Production of ender in Women’s Hockey.” In The Gendered Society Reader, edited by Michael S. Kimmel, Amy Aronson, and Amy Kaler, 73-80. Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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