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“The Face of a Spider” by David Quammen Photo copyright Maxis, Inc.

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Presentation on theme: "“The Face of a Spider” by David Quammen Photo copyright Maxis, Inc."— Presentation transcript:

1 “The Face of a Spider” by David Quammen Photo copyright Maxis, Inc.

2 The Spider in Question The 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 from Bottom Photo from Encarta

3 Themes People 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 = Identity · This works both ways! Photo from Front-Center Eyes, Wolf Spider

4 Literary and Rhetorical Techniques Scientific knowledge and terminology Historical and cultural knowledge Humor (and bluntness) and ‘honest’ conversation with reader Repetition of fundamental question Pseudo-rational approach to sub-issues Specific examples

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 from Bottom Photo from


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