Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 358
Through his play Homebody/Kabul, Kushner explores the the consequences of cultural ignorance and romanticizing of other peoples. Homebody's reaction to meeting the Afghani vendor in London, who is missing fingers, displays the dangers of romanticizing other countries and cultures as she imagines herself making love to this vendor in a fantastical Kabul. Homebody does not seems to truly understand what the Afghan man has gone through in his life and how he truly feels about his loss of fingers. Instead, Homebody creates an imagined world in which he is romantic and fulfills her desires. This type of exoticism does not allow a person to actually empathize with someone else or understand their experiences or points of view. Homebody continues to choose to remain ignorant of a culture or country's reality as she travels to Afghanistan which has recently suffered a great culture, social, and political loss under the rise of the Taliban. Homebody refuses to understand the danger she is putting herself in by traveling to Afghanistan without understanding the new laws that women must obey. Of course, she would never analyze how imperialism from her own home country of England has contributed greatly to the rise of the Taliban. Homebody is eventually brutally killed for not following the Taliban's laws. As her family travels to Kabul in search of her, the relationship between the Afghanistan of the recent past, the current Afghanistan under Taliban rule, and the relationship between English people and Afghanis becomes more complex and teased out. Afghani characters are presented throughout the play who led significantly different lives before Taliban rule. One is an actor, one a poet, and one a librarian. These are the lives and worlds of Afghanistan that Homebody romanticized. However, these Afghani characters now are forced to lead drastically different lives in which they can no longer creatively or intellectually express themselves. Homebody is significantly bored by her life in England. However, one must wonder if Homebody would ever consider how these Afghani characters who have lost their entire livelihoods, means of expression, and autonomy would perhaps picture and think about her life of significantly more autonomy in England.