Angels in America

by Tony Kushner

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Student Question

How are Angels in America and Frankenstein similar?

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One particular similarity between both works is the idea of how human beings can abandon those to whom connection is evident.  Victor abandoned the creature when he approaches him.  Louis abandons Prior and Joe abandons Harper in much the same way that Victor abandons the creature.  In both, there is abandonment as part of what it means to be human.  At the same time, I think that both works speak to a basic condition of forlornness that impacts human beings.  To a great extent, the characters in both novels experiences what it means to be forlorn, to be cut off from the rest of the world.  Victor forgoes all human connection in his pursuit to appropriate the world in accordance to his own subjectivity.  In Kushner's work, the main characters are all impacted by being alone.  Louis has to experience this, as does Prior Walter as a result of Louis' abandonment.  Harper experiences this when Joe leaves her, who in turn recognizes this in the relationship that he holds with his mother and father.  Roy realizes this when he is afflicted with AIDS and in the last stages of his life. In these narratives, the condition of being alone and being forlorn is something that Kushner and Shelley both construct in their works.

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