Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches
How we cite our quotes:
Rabbi Isidor Chemelwitz: You want to confess, better you go see a priest. [...] Catholics believe in forgiveness. Jews believe in Guilt. (1.5.54-56)
Though he's not a particularly spiritually-minded person, Louis tries to get the rabbi's advice about his instinct to abandon his lover, Prior. Unfortunately, this spiritual leader offers no advice on how to get rid of his guilt. What do you think about these very general statements that the rabbi makes about Judaism and Catholicism? Do they accurately represent both religions?
Joe: I had a book of Bible stories when I was a kid. There was a picture I'd look at twenty times every day: Jacob wrestles with the angel. [...] Jacob is young and very strong. The angel is... a beautiful man, with golden hair and wings, of course. (2.2.11)
Hmm, we detect symbolism here. Joe's religion tells him that being gay is a sin. His sexual identity and his spiritual identity are at war with each other. You could even say that these two sides of his personality are "wrestling." Could this be why little Joe was so fascinated by the picture of Jacob struggling with the angel?
Sister Ella Chapter: This is the home of saints, the godliest place on earth [...] Every step a Believer takes away from here is a step fraught with peril. (2.10.27)
Sister Ella is referring here to Salt Lake City and is warning Joe's mom, Hannah, that she shouldn't move to New York. Salt Lake is generally considered to be a strongly Mormon city.