"The Nether", a play by Jennifer Harley is a powerfully written piece which explores the aesthetics of both language and the theatre in a magnanimous manner. Interwoven into the play is an equally astounding message that not only mortifies one, but also sends a warning into what could or could not be, as the play is timeless. Right from the beginning, one is cast into an ongoing interrogation of a suspect, Sims (pg. 3). Sims also popularly referred to as Papa is quite the sensation with the kind of revelation one gets when they are done with scene one and the subsequent scenes thereafter. In a nutshell, this essay will take a look at the plot, stylistic use of the metaphor, allusion and a thematic aspect as far as the play is concerned. Jennifer Haley, an award winner with this play has managed to explore the aforementioned in a meticulous way.
The author has employed the use of allusion which is an indirect reference in speech, text, song or to an event or figure. In simpler language, an allusion is a literary aspect which does not require an explanation as one readily understands or grasps what it means. Examples of allusion in the play include the reference to the Nether "as not being the Wild West" by Morris to Sims (pg.11). The implication here was that the Nether also the Internet was no longer a site where lawlessness and anarchy thrived. By so saying, Sims is reinstating his position as an officer in charge of the investigative unit of the Nether. He further asserts that it was in his interest to control, measure and examine all suspicious and criminally affiliated activities over the nether and pedophilic sites created by Sims was one such site.
Another literary style that the author has used is a metaphor which is a direct comparison between two dissimilar things. A good example is seen when Iris, the shining little girl refers herself "as the top" (pg. 11). "I'm a top", Iris exclaims upon being spun around in some fun activity by Sims whom she also refers to Papa. By so saying, the little girl is referring to herself as a pinnacle, peak or crown of sorts. This self-proclamation by Iris goes to further support the whimsical activities that took place in the Hideaway which was her residence. She, Iris viewed herself as the best little girl sensually as men would visit her often looking to fulfil their sexual fantasies and from the onset, Iris considered herself to be the pinnacle of it all. This means she saw herself as the most sought after little girl in the Hideaway as Papa later confirms this to be true.
The author has also brought out thematic concerns and in the process she leads to plot development. As one garners an understanding of the story, issues of pedophiles and pedophilic behaviors come to the fore. Detective Morris is seen to be investigating a rather delicate matter whereby Sims through the virtual reality has managed to create "The Hideaway" which was a realm of the Nether where child molesters had the ability to access it and carry out their hideous fantasies (pgs 8-11). These fantasies were inclusive of having sex with the children and thereafter depending on the person's imagination, kill or dismember the same children between the ages of nine and twelve (pg 15). This is quite a disturbing picture, yet Jennifer has managed to incorporate it into the play. Interestingly enough, Sims is seen to be professing to pedophilic acts and tendencies as part of his urges which he does not seem to be in control of (pg 11).
Therefore, thematic concerns addressed here include child molestation and the use of technology in advancing scientifically driven projects" The Nether, the realm, and the Hideaway are all technical terms for the Internet and the Website respectively (pg. 27). It is imperative for a reader to understand these terminologies as Jennifer has generously used them in her play to elaborate more on virtual reality. Pedophilia as a theme is a recurrent subject in our society today and though a sensitive topic, Haley has managed to address it in her play.
In my view, therefore, Haley is issuing a caution of some sorts and in so doing, making us question our moral obligations as far as the Internet and technological advancements are concerned. Yes, we love technology and the perks it brings but are we ready for the ramifications associated with it? And secondly, what takes place online and actual life, could they be one and the same? Can they be merged into one single entity?
These are some views I suppose the author is evoking and The Nether is the perfect play offering some sensible answers. Could it be that one day the human race would deem itself superior as to have wild fantasies carried out online and in the physical? According to Haley, the answer is yes. And how should we handle such atrocities? Haley yet again provides the answer through detective Morris, by going to the root of the problem and plucking it out. In so doing, we would be able to protect our children and their innocence while taking in stride the vast, fast paced-technological advancements. Our societal values would not be corrupted, and sanity would reign supreme once again.
In conclusion, therefore, the above mentioned pedophilic behaviors are both repulsive and sickening .Such behaviors should be eliminated from the society and should not forget that it takes courage and gallantry for anyone address such a sensitive topic in the way that Haley. She is therefore is a dauntless hero. Not only has she brought to our attention some of the realities of the monstrosities that the Internet harbors and can bring but she has also painted a vivid scenario of what the future could be for the human race.
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