Tony Kushner American Literature Analysis
Tony Kushner, who embraces such epithets as “Jewish writer” and “gay writer,” is a maverick, a bold, fearless, overtly political playwright and social activist who has revolutionized the form and content of modern theater. He sees deep into the human heart and soul and touches all humankind. He is a writer of comedy in the classical sense since many of his characters overcome horrendous obstacles to achieve survival and renewal. With literary influences as disparate as Brecht and Tennessee Williams and use of contrasting characters to show how different people can learn from one another, Kushner’s plays also radiate passionate drama, surrealism, and unabashed theatricality.
Kushner is particularly attracted to transitional points in history such as the rise of Nazi Germany (A Bright Room Called Day), the heightening of capitalism (Hydriotaphia), the approach of the new millennium (Angels in America), Western involvement in the Middle East (Homebody/Kabul), and the fight for human equality (Caroline, or Change). Into dark times, Kushner shines a warm, bright, and guardedly hopeful literary beacon because he believes that the human race, individuals and groups, can slowly and painfully change.
Fascinated by human “journeys” of change, Kushner enlivens this motif as a broader struggle from the past, through the present, to the future. Angels in America, for example, begins with...
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