Why is Pride a mortal sin? Is there a link between Pride and Vanity? In order to understand The Black Spider we will need to read carefully. Think about the novella’s social content, but also attend to its allegorical dimensions.

Culture gives expressive form to value. Some of those values are implicit; they’re not being overtly examined so much as they’re folded into the text (novel, poem, song, etc.) itself. We could see these as cultural assumptions, the “common sense” that underlies the artist’s project.

In our own context, for example, the concept of diversity is often uncritically extolled as a positive value. But is this always the case? What if I am sick and I exhibit a diversity of symptoms (headache, chills, ulcers, tinnitus, etc.)? How is that good? Can diversity survive without at least some commonalities such as a shared commitment to the general welfare or a basic agreement about the appropriate mechanisms of justice? My point here is that values in culture can be explicit and/or unacknowledged. A text may articulate values without necessarily criticizing them. It may reproduce values unconsciously.

Last night’s class should have left you with a better understanding of the specific kinds of things that the midterm will address. If you have any doubts or questions, address them to this post.