Presentation on theme: "“The Face of a Spider” by David Quammen"— Presentation transcript:
1 “The Face of a Spider” by David Quammen Photo copyright Maxis, Inc.
2 The Spider in QuestionThe black widow spider (genus Latrodectus) produces the neurotoxin -latrotoxin that causes systemic effects including achiness, mild paralysis, nausea, etc. Black widow bites rarely cause death in humans.Top Photo fromBottom Photo from Encarta
3 ThemesPeople often exaggerate nature’s ‘holiness’ (e.g. Jainism’s ahimsa, the “animal liberation” movement)We should not treat higher lifeforms any differently than we do lower lifeforms (even including plants)Eye Contact = Communication = IdentityThis works both ways!Front-Center Eyes, Wolf Spiderahimsa, Jainism, Ghandi, India; “animal liberation,” Jane Goodall, etc.ahimsa’s vegetarianism, mosquitoes, worms, black widow spiders“This is some mother’s darling, this is some mother’s child”; still may kill; hardest--spiders (fear, fascination, grotesqueness)tarantula’s “distrust”Photo from
4 Literary and Rhetorical Techniques Scientific knowledge and terminologyHistorical and cultural knowledgeHumor (and bluntness) and ‘honest’ conversation with readerRepetition of fundamental questionPseudo-rational approach to sub-issuesSpecific examples“chelicerae,” 8 eyes, “predator needs good eyesight”Jainism, “ahimsa,”Ghandi, etc.“can of Raid,” “I was going soft,” “godawful stupid”“How should a human behave toward the members of other living species?”eight eyes <=> eight legs, hypocrisy of ahimsa, humans cannot live without hurting other animalssee all above: Ghandi and DDT, 10,000 humans die from snakebites, Darwin’s Insectivorous Plants
5 Questions Does the author really regret killing the baby spiders? Does he answer his fundamental question?Does the author believe in eye contact?Do you think eye contact works with spiders? With larger animals? With humans?Top Photo fromBottom Photo from