Angels in America

Angels in America

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Angels in America Perestroika: Act 3, Scene 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Harper and the Mormon Mother from the diorama are walking through Brooklyn Heights, but everyone from the previous scene (Joe, Louis, Cohn, Belize, and Ethel Rosenberg) is still onstage. The Mormon Mother points out the skyline of Manhattan, calling it “the Great Beyond.” She talks about God’s love—something that, unbeknownst to most people, is highly painful. God has the power to cut people open with his thumbnail, she says. He fills people up, and it’s their job to “stitch themselves” back together.
Kushner portrays an idea of religion that isn’t so much about rules as it is about ecstasy, love, and sacrifice. Kushner suggests that God’s love (as it ought to be at least) isn’t about condemning gay people or not drinking alcohol—it’s about entirely giving up one’s self to something supernatural. This is more like mysticism than religion, and it’s a better fit for Kushner’s worldview and the politics he espouses.
Themes
Prophets and Prophecies Theme Icon
Fantasy, Escape, and Tragedy Theme Icon
The Clash between People and Principles Theme Icon
On the other half of the stage, Prior walks into his apartment. The Mormon Mother tells Harper that Joe will return to Harper soon.
Again, it’s left unclear if Harper is hallucinating the Mormon Mother or not—if so, then Harper is projecting her own desire to see Joe again.
Themes
Homosexuality in the AIDS Era Theme Icon
Prophets and Prophecies Theme Icon
Fantasy, Escape, and Tragedy Theme Icon
The Clash between People and Principles Theme Icon
Another part of the stage lights up: it’s Louis, standing with Joe on the beach. Louis walks away from Joe, to a phone booth. He calls Prior, who’s still in his apartment, and tells Prior that he wants to see him.
The plot has been set in motion: after trying to flee from Prior, Louis is finding his way back to his old lover—he’s unable to live with his guilt.
Themes
Fantasy, Escape, and Tragedy Theme Icon