The Wilderness as a Shelter from the Real World
When we think of the wilderness, we often think of danger. Humans’ attempt to explore and interfere with the wilderness almost always results in tragedy, especially in a place like Antarctica. Angels in America, however, offers a different but interesting perspective of this ice desert. Harper, in terror of losing her family, finds shelter in Antarctica. This icy land becomes a cocoon that protects her from all the sadness and terror that she is facing in the real world. In her fantasy, she dreams of building a new world where everything goes her way, a world unlike home. She thinks of building an enormous city with bonfires on every street corner next to a river and the forests. She dreams of having a man to love her, and a child that she will mend together and breastfeeds it with hot cocoa. None of her dreams can come true in Antarctica. Deep down inside, Harper may know that but her heart and mind still wander to Antarctica to seek shelter. This icy wonderland is far enough from home for Harper to feel like she is in another world; one that is detached from all the sorrow of real life. There is nothing in Antarctica but ice crystal and snow and therefore her imagination can go wild. Antarctica’s detachment from civilization frees her from everything that troubles her mind. Its nothingness allows her to create a kingdom of her own to hide away from the harsh reality.
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