Author: hjc481

Ebola Outbreak In the Republic of Congo

This video discusses the major outbreak and severity behind the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is described as a ‘satanic’ inhibition of the body. It eludes to the fact that Ebola takes control of your body in a physical sense, because after all, it is an ailment, but also takes hold of your soul in a divine sense. The satanic comparison illustrates a narrative for Ebola, allowing it to be understood as an unholy hold over the identity of the person. In a literal sense, the interpretation may mean that the severity and consequences of the virus are so large that it seems to be sent by the devil himself, but it is interesting to look at the virus as something that has satanic qualities and has an identity of its own while it attacks the body and identity of another person.

Ebola ’76 paints Ebola as a quiet, lurking character, about to pop out at any time, brewing and manifesting behind the scenes. This matches well with the idea that the virus is “satanic”. The evil qualities of the virus are highlighted in this video, and the community is making the effort to eradicate it. Funnily enough, the only way to take the step forward in eradicating it, is to have a little piece of the devil inside of you; in the form of a vaccine.

Progress and Dreams in Kushner’s Angels in America: Perestroika

Perestroika begins with a warning against change and progress by the oldest living Bolshevik. However, the rest of the play argues against this mindset. At the end of Millennium Approaches, an angel descended and presented Prior with “the Great Work” to stop humans from moving, changing, and migrating so that they will no longer cause destructions in heaven. Yet Prior gradually realizes that moving and progress are inevitable, and even necessary, for humans. Throughout the play, for instance, each character progresses emotionally. Prior and Harper gain strength from being abandoned and are able to reject or leave Louis and Joe. Joe finds the courage to come out as a homosexual to his mother and Roy. After betraying Prior and realizing he has been in a relationship with a man whose acts he abhors, Louis comes back to Prior for his forgiveness. Perhaps we should ask if individual progress represents humanity’s progress in general? The play also takes a stance against conservatism when characters who are more liberal end up finding new directions for their life: Harper leaves for real to San Francisco, and Prior finds hope in life, while Roy Cohn, a conservative, suffers a tragic death. It’s interesting that even in his last moments, the final word he uttered was “Hold.”

Change is the central theme in Perestroika, as each character, with his or her own manifestation of “illness” has individual character growth. The angel rejects the idea of change, insinuating that change and movement will cause the destruction of heaven, and therefore of humanity. However, it is interesting to compare this connection between destruction and change with a similar, yet different connection in Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History. Benjamin claims that “The storm is what we call progress.” Is the destruction and turbulent storm that is being wrought upon heaven in Kushner’s play a sign of the progress and forwardness of humanity? Is it necessary to have that storm because it is the only way our society will progress or move forward, creating a better life and finding a satisfying meaning in it while doing so?      

Reality in Part Two becomes even more distorted with shared dreams, hallucinations, alternate realities and even ascent to and descent from heaven. It appears that the characters share a bond on a mystical or spiritual level through which they are able to connect and know things about each other that are secret or otherwise unrevealed. For instance, there are several times when Harper and Prior come to share the same dream, to the extent the audience is unable to recognize whether these encounters are dream or reality. As the play progresses the distinction between what is real and what might be a dream or a hallucination becomes even more blurred. For example, in this scene Harper is able to interact with reality and Louis acknowledges her as if she was real.

“(Harper puts her hand under Louis’s head, and pushes up; Louis startles awake.)

Louis: Who are you…?

Joe: (To Louis) I – It’s nothing, just…

     (To Harper) Go.

(She vanishes)” (182)

Even though they have never met each other, characters begin to see visions of each other and even hear each other’s voices. As a result, this raises the question, what does it mean to have this shared connection? Are there political meanings behind this?

HIV/AIDS Issue in South Africa

This video shows the story of a man in a town near Johannesburg that due to the HIV/AIDS outbreak there, has become a serial rapist in order to “cleanse” himself of the disease and spread it around the community. He does this so he would not have to “die alone” and gains power in being able to control who and who doesn’t have the disease, and is essentially dictating their quality of life.

In Welcome To Our Hillbrow , the community does not have a great understanding of the reason the AIDS outbreak is prominent in their city. They regard it as the consequence of the promiscuity of some people; the women in particular. Moreover, some theories point to the consumption of green monkey meat to be the blame, and particularly point that blame to West Africans that migrate to South Africa to be the bearers of the ailment as this is a custom of theirs. Like this video, there is no real understanding of the dangers and proactive behaviour to stop the ailment from spreading.

A Woman’s Right

In this article from The Guardian, the author goes on to explain the similar characteristics each of Ibsen’s female leads have within the world of their plays. The article states that Ibsen had “empathized” with his female characters and paints them out as social victims. This is shown in Ghosts with Helen Alving being a slave to the dos and don’ts of society and its perception of a well kept mother and wife. She is constantly scrutinized for her decisions made as a wife, and betraying her duty to her husband by leaving him. She is further judged by the local town pastor for her ‘free thinking’ ways that are sabotaging her son and negatively impacting his lifestyle. The play raises questions about the mother’s right over her son’s knowledge, in whether she even had the true right to keep the truth of his father from him; was she actually doing him a favor when he ends up sick in the end anyway? Does she deserved to be judged when her intentions were always in the best interest of her son, something that a mother is supposed to do?