Escapism and the Desire for More Leading to the Homebody’s “Downfall”

It is no secret that there are a lot of different things going on in this play–one particularly interesting character to discuss only appears onstagein Act One, Scene One, even though her presence is felt throughout the remainder of the play, as she delivers a monologue of epic proportions which is both fascinating and confusing. It is obvious that the Homebody craves adventure and exploration which is in direct opposition to her title as “homebody”; whenever one typically thinks of a homebody, they generally think of a person who is

content staying at home and has not desire to travel and/or explore the greater world. We can see her desire for a more interesting life below.

 “My husband cannot bear my…the sound of me and has threatened to leave on this account and

 so I rarely speak to him anymore.We both take powerful antidepressants. His pills have one name and mine another; I frequently take his pills instead of mine so I can see what he is feeling. I keep mine in a glass bowl right next to the bathroom sink, a nice wide-mouthed bowl, very wide, wide open, like an epergne, but so far as I know he never takes my pills but ingests only his own, which are yellow and red, while mine are green and creamy-white; and I find his refusal to sample dull. A little dull.” (Kushner 13)

The Homebody craves adventure and understanding. In an attempt to achieve both of these goals, she takes her husband’s pills instead of her own. She is trying to see what her husband sees because there is no possible way for her to see otherwise because of the disconnect present between the two of them. She also mentions how dull she finds her husband and his lack-of-adventurous drive. This is a key point to realize because she leaves for Afghanistan to seek adventure and become more worldly which leads to her ultimate downfall (supposedly even though there is no concrete evidence of this, she could have gone to Afghanistan and faked her death as a way to escape her boring, dysfunctional life). The Homebody used her trip to Afghanistan as a type of escapism which is exactly what drugs do for Milton, her husband, later in the play–I found this to be extremely funny considering the Homebody mentions in the above passage found in the beginning of the play that he won’t even try her antidepressants.

Does the Homebody achieve her goal of adventure by going to Afghanistan? We can never really know because Kushner intentionally shrouds the entire issue in secrecy and elusiveness. One thing is for sure–the Homebody gets more than she originally planned for when she travels to Afghanistan.

Works Cited

Kushner, Tony. Homebody/Kabul. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2004. Print.
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