In American history, there came a prevalent point in time when groups were extensively challenged in joining a new community. Whether it was a place of worship or place of education, multitudes and multitudes of people were never fully accepted for what they call as part of their identities, including the "melting pot" of America. Specifically, foreign immigrants that traveled to begin their new lives in the United States were often categorized and neglected in their home countries for their verbal admittances about human prosperity. And so America, consistently viewed as a "melting pot," a place where "immigrants have the right to come to the United States and retain their culture," but also a place where "marginalized groups suffer while white people prosper," enhances our complex perception of humanity: our varying backgrounds and disparities of equality rooted from peoples' unique stories are catalysts for complexity. In return, these contrasting depictions of America in a melting pot allows us to think and rationalize what we believe is true. By constantly rethinking and reforming our opinion on the melting pot ideology, this increasingly celebrates human dignity beyond past mistakes, decisions, and sins because we are able to consider all backgrounds, all cultures, all factors, all countries as all people. People are people, no matter what.
Four Hispanic immigrants sit on old couches and smile in the middle of a field. Photo by Matthew Rader.
Later on, Joe promptly transforms into more or less of a “religious” person that cares more about discovering his sexuality rather than his faith. As he becomes more sexually active and less authentically faithful to his wife, Harper, the idea of merging seemingly contrasting factors together becomes more complex. In the melting pot ideology, “immigrants come to America, bringing with them their rich cultural history that they melt into the ever-evolving homogenous broth” (Lahlou). This “rich cultural history” provides a diversity of backgrounds, including sexuality and religion, what Joe is obliged to balance in Angels in America. The “homogenous” broth is confronted by Joe as he realizes that he is “different,” and not the “man” he, Harper, and his mother initially thought that he was. Angels in America reveals a melting pot because of the differences of each character. A homosexual, valium addict, professional lawyer, passionate Jew, black ex-drag queen, and a Mormon mother profoundly adds diversifying perspectives of the events throughout the play. America, especially in the cities, are depicted as places where you are able to be yourself and follow your passions. While Angels in America doesn't necessarily center around this melting pot ideology, it is clear through the intentional choice of characters and personalities in the play that polar differences can be still be meshed into one community.
Hannah, Joe's mother, is clearly juxtaposed with Roy, Joe's boss. While the former eventually accepts Joe and his homosexuality, the latter struggles to do the same. These differences in opinion, choice, and view grant us the opportunity to see how understanding both sides can lead to a more holistic depiction of Joe. An increase in understanding invites humanization.
There is a constant, authentic, and deep love for each other if we recognize why sexuality and religion do not present ignorant depictions of human dignity. Humanity is worth the time to appreciate and be thankful for because of our imperfections; no matter how much Joe initially looked down upon himself after confessing his sexuality, he still found through his confusions and lack of guidance something that was worth pursuing. And on top of that, Hannah’s desire and commitment to fully be there for Joe amidst the discomfort of balancing her Mormon faith and homosexuality ended up her valuing humanity in the end, displayed even further through her free choices to help Harper in her addiction. She remained ever so persistent in getting Harper to the Mormon Visitor’s Center, which definitely led her to the woman that she ended as in the play: a hopeful, mature, and responsible young woman ready to embark San Francisco with a fervent and joyful spirit.
San Francisco is depicted around sunset period, twinkling with city lights and exciting opportunities. Photo by Casey Horner.
Created with images by Jed Villejo - "Running through the Trees" • Matthew T Rader - "untitled image" • Jaron Nix - "Morning outside the Grand Teton National Park, at Mormon Row." • Michael Hart - "6/24/2019 evening shot of the Salt Lake City, Utah Mormon Temple" • Aaron Burden - "untitled image" • Aaron Burden - "untitled image" • Casey Horner - "Twilight city" • Anastasia Vityukova - "instagram: anastasiavityukova__" • Vonecia Carswell - "I took this photograph of a group of ladies at a photo walk in NYC. It perfectly exemplified the unity that took place among photographers, models and creatives alike. Shout out to International Women’s Day." • Toa Heftiba - "laugher"