In the play “The Normal Heart” by Larry Kramer there were a couple of scenes that really impacted me. One of these was when Ned was taking to his brother Ben for some help for his fight against AIDS and the other was the last scene when Ned and Felix were married. Both of these scenes really show the impact of Aids on New York City. In the first scene where you meet Ben and realize he is more than anything else scared of his brother because he is gay. This was a very powerful and impactful scene in my mind because it shows how even family can be blind when it comes to something as scary as an AIDS epidemic. Ben who was just about to spend more than a million dollars on his new house couldn’t lend a dollar to his brother to help him fight AIDS. It seems crazy in this scene that Ned had to basically beg all weekend for 124 dollars while Ben can just throw a million dollars into his new house. The worst thing about it all is Ben doesn’t show any signs of feeling bad he was about to basically waste all this money on a luxury while people were dying and couldn’t even get a couple of bucks to try to find a cure. More than anything else Ben is afraid his law firms will lose money and respect because it’s associated with the gay community. Also in this scene you can tell Ben doesn’t want his Law firm to have anything to do with AIDs when he won’t even let Ned use the law firms name to try to gain people in his fight to stop AID’s. Ben says he needs to bring it in front of the committee but doesn’t want Ned to talk to anyone else on the committee. If Ben wanted anything to do with Ned’s fight he would have just accepted the proposal and allowed Ned to use the law firm name and given him money. Ben being the main owner of the law firm can pretty much do whatever he wants without asking the rest of the committee. The other scene that impacted me was a lot like the first with people overall just being frightened of a unknown disease. This scene happens to be the last in the book and has a marriage and a death within one line. This scene takes place in the hospital with Felix (Ned’s lover) lying in his death bed. Felix death showed the full pain that a gay man went through in New York City when Aids broke out. Felix reminded me of the song and idea “Live like you were dying” except he couldn’t because of his sexual orientation. If Felix wasn’t gay and maybe had aids there would have been people left and right trying to help him. But no he had Aids so the only people that were there for him were Ned and Emma. At one point Felix was married and had a son but when he called his ex-wife to tell her about his situation he still wasn’t allowed to talk to his son because his wife was embarrassed of her ex-husband. This scene becomes even more impactful because of the marriage between Ned and Felix. The last words out of Felix’s mouth before he dies is “I do”, then Ned argues with himself about how he should of fought harder for Felix’s. The only thing Felix is really worried about in this scene is that Ned will be able to return to his old self and fight for gay men with Aids. Felix says “Please learn to fight again” because Ned had sort of lost his fight in the last couple of scenes after he was basically kicked out of the volunteer group he started because he fought to hard. This scene overall is very short but in my mind one of the most impactful in the book. After finishing this book I realized how Aids were always a back page story in New York City during the begging of the epidemic. The scenes that I choose to write about in my mind were definitely the most impactful in the book because of how they showed this fact. If maybe one more person in the book cared about the Aids epidemic, maybe someone with money like Ben. Felix would have surveyed.
Kramer, Larry. The Normal Heart. New York: Grove Press, 2000.