Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 243

The themes of Homebody/Kabul, a moving and striking play by Tony Kushner, include exoticism, a quest for fulfillment, cultural misunderstanding, a quest for understanding and closure, and decisions to let go of what cannot be changed/understood.

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In Homebody/Kabul, the middle-aged Englishwoman, simply called Homebody, embarks on a quest for fulfillment in Afghanistan after attempting to escape from her unfulfilling life in England. Homebody creates an exoticized and romanticized picture of Afghanistan through reading outdated accounts of the country. Homebody does not understand how the brutal rule of the Taliban has drastically changed the country and forced women into a subhuman category. Even though the country is clearly war torn and in a desperate situation, Homebody is determined to impose her false understanding of Afghanistan onto the country as she travels the streets of Kabul. This leads to her supposed death, as she does not follow the Taliban's strict dress code for women.

Homebody's husband, Milton, and her daughter, Priscilla, travel to Kabul to find Homebody. They learn of her death at the hands of Taliban law. While Milton appears to be emotionally reserved and even cold in the aftermath of Homebody's death, Priscilla is grief stricken and determined to discover what happened to her mother. Priscilla's quest for understanding does not bring her any closer to understanding what happened to Homebody, and she eventually leaves Kabul with her father, who is taking a new wife back to England from Kabul.

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