Angels-in-America.pdf - Angels in America Study Guide by Course Hero What's Inside by addressing playgoers as\"you fabulous creatures suggesting

Angels-in-America.pdf - Angels in America Study Guide by...

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Angels inAmericaStudy Guide by Course HeroWhat's InsidejBook Basics 1.................................................................................................dIn Context 1.....................................................................................................aAuthor Biography 4.....................................................................................hCharacters 5...................................................................................................kPlot Summary 8.............................................................................................cScene Summaries 14..................................................................................gQuotes 35........................................................................................................lSymbols 36.....................................................................................................mThemes 37.......................................................................................................bCritical Reception 39.................................................................................eSuggested Reading 39.............................................................................jBook BasicsAUTHORTony KushnerFIRST PERFORMED1991GENREDramaABOUT THE TITLEThe full title of the play is Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia onNational Themes.The main title, Angels in America, suggestsan eruption of the transcendent in the everyday. The play endsby addressing playgoers as "you fabulous creatures,"suggesting homosexuals are the angels in America. A fantasiais a free-form musical work made of disparate elements; theplay is a free-form exploration of American democracy from agay perspective.dIn ContextHIV and AIDSAIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is a disease ofthe immune system. The body of a person with AIDS cannotfight off infection; people with AIDS usually die of suchinfections and cancers as tuberculosis, pneumonia, or invasivecervical cancer (women). A virus called humanimmunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS. HIV gets into bloodcells through very close contact with blood, semen, vaginalfluids, or breast milk. People exposed to HIV do not necessarilydevelop AIDS.AIDS is a recently discovered disease. The earliest knownhuman blood sample containing HIV dates to 1959, but theAIDS disease went unrecognized until the late 20th century. InJune 1981 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publishednews of five gay men in Los Angeles coming down with a rareform of pneumonia. In September 1981 the medical journalLancetreported on five cases of the rare cancer Kaposi'ssarcoma in eight gay men in New York. Such rare infectionsand cancers are now known to be symptoms of AIDS. By 1992when Kushner's Angels in Americapremiered, AIDS was theleading cause of death among males ages 25 to 44 in theUnited States. At first AIDS was little understood; HIV was notdiscovered until 1983. Because of AIDS's prevalence amonggay men at the time, the media often called it "the gay plague"or "gay cancer."
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Angels in America Study GuideIn Context 2Copyright © 2018 Course Hero, Inc.As in Millennium Approaches, Part One of Angels in America,often people did not know they were sick until they got a late-stage symptom of AIDS like Kaposi's sarcoma, usually a seriesof discolored patches on the skin, or thrush, white patches inthe throat. Diagnosis came late, so the progress toward deathwas terrifyingly swift. The high mortality rates, lack of effectivetreatments, and spread of infection caused sorrow anddevastation among gay communities in the 1980s and early'90s. Scientists discovered in 1984 that heterosexual sex couldalso transmit HIV, but AIDS remained a "gay plague" in thepopular imagination. Fundamentalist pastor Jerry Falwell calledAIDS "the wrath of God upon homosexuals." The prejudiceextended to other people with AIDS, in addition to gay people;in 1984 teenager Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS
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