Study Guide

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika Visions of America: The Reagan Era

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Visions of America: The Reagan Era

Angels in America is pretty much the play on Reagan-era America. Sure, there are others, but few are as wide in scope. The AIDS epidemic was a major issue during this era, and much paranoia and misinformation surrounded the rise of the disease. The play focuses on the terrible toll that the AIDS epidemic took on the gay community. But the play expands beyond the issues of sexuality and disease to examine the Cold War and rise of modern conservatism under Reagan's presidency. In Perestroika, we also hear a lot about what's going on in the Soviet Union. Want to know more about the Reagan era? Click here.

Questions About Visions of America: The Reagan Era

  1. Do you think President Reagan is depicted fairly in the play? Why or why not?
  2. In what way does the AIDS epidemic affect the lives of each character in the play? How would a play about AIDS set in America today be different?
  3. How are Reagan-era politics represented by the characters in the play? Who's for Reagan and who's against him? How do they express their views?
  4. Though the play is set during the 1980s, there's a lot of talk about the McCarthyism of the 1950s. In what ways does the play seem to compare and contrast these time periods and political movements?

Chew on This

Ultimately <em>Angels in America</em> depicts the Reagan era as a dark period that progressively-minded people had to suffer through.

The play presents Gorbachev, Reagan's Soviet counterpart, as a hero who dared move his country and the world forward.

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