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Comparing and Contrasting Racism, Technology, Freedom, and Love in Disgraced and The Nether

The lingering effects of racism and prejudice in society as portrayed in Disgraced and The Nether

1.Both Disgraced and “Model Minority” investigate the lingering effects of racism / prejudice in our society. Discuss the message that each text has on this topic.
2.Compare and contrast the internet’s potential for fostering real life harm, as portrayed in The Nether and “Radicalized.”
3.Compare and contrast the internet’s potential for providing socially healthy outlets and resisting injustice or oppression. Discuss with regard to “Automated Bread” and The Nether. Is the “dark web” a force for good or evil?
4.Doctorow’s stories – especially “Automated Bread” – describe systems that control people and limit choices (often while promising to do the opposite). In The Nether agent Morris also tries to limit people’s freedom and control their fantasies. Discuss.
5.In Disgraced, Amir has come to America and adopted a whole new, semi-fictional persona. In The Nether, characters like Doyle and Sims go on-line and also create brand new personas. Discuss the different politics of identity and role-playing.
6.In “The Masque of the Red Death,” Martin Mars makes selfishness and aggression appear as virtues; In Disgraced, Amir echoes the same Darwinian / corporate values. Discuss how these egoistic, hierarchical moral systems are presented and critiqued.
7.Describe “Model Minority” and The Nether as statements on the dangers of unrestrained and unchecked policing.
8.Both The Nether and Disgraced have characters who confess to rather dark, violent, and destructive impulses. What is the true nature of humanity as depicted in each play?
9.Both The Nether and “The Masque of the Red Death” describe societies that are falling apart, causing people to retreat and isolate themselves. Discuss.
10.In “Radicalized,” Doctorow describes a health care system so unjust that people resort to violence to change it. In The Nether, Sims skirts the law and encourages people to engage in virtual violence. When is it necessary to defy authority? Is violence ever a solution?
11.In Disgraced, Amir is a vocal critic of his religion, feeling it makes people petty and tribal; in contrast, Doyle praises the nether for its capacity to transform humans into gods. Compare and contrast the different portraits of the religious impulse in each.
12.In Disgraced, Amir is upset that she paints him as a slave. Can we ever escape the shackles of our own slavery? Are our chains always visible? Are they self-imposed?  Discuss with regards to Disgraced and “Automated Bread.”
13.In The Nether Detective Morris wants to shut down the imaginative and virtual world of the Hideaway, the fictional creation of Sims. In Disgraced, Emily’s art work comes under criticism because she paints in the Islamic style but is not Muslim. Discuss the portrayal of art in each. Is it ever okay to censor / shut down a work of the imagination?
14.Both Disgraced and The Nether are tragic love stories, where various forces conspire to keep the two beloveds apart. Discuss the two plays and their messages on love.

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