June 14, 2003

· Sociology

Contrasting images of the social order from a Saki short story called “The Saint and the Goblin”. The Saint and the Goblin are little statues living in a small church somewhere.

The Saint was a philanthropist in an old-fashioned way; he thought the world, as he saw it, was good, but might be improved. In particular he pitied the church mice, who were miserably poor. The Goblin, on the other hand, was of the opinion that the world, as he saw it, was bad, but had better be let alone. It was the function of the church mice to be poor.

Because it’s Saki, the Goblin comes out ahead by the end of the story.

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I am Associate Professor of Sociology at Duke University. I’m affiliated with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Markets and Management Studies program, and the Duke Network Analysis Center.



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