Good Work and Good Works
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The World's Last Night and Other Essays

"Good Work and Good Works"

This essay was originally published in the Christmas 1959 issue of Good Work, formerly called Catholic Art Quarterly, an American publication. 

1.  How does Lewis define "good works"?  How do you define the term?  Consider Ephesians 2:10 and 2 Corinthians 9:8.

2.  By contrast, what does Lewis mean by "good work"?

3.  According to Lewis, what harm came from built-in obsolescence?

4.  What two categories of jobs does Lewis identify?  What examples does he give of each?  Do you think he is oversimplifying? 

5.  Has enjoyable, meaningful work become "the privilege of a fortunate minority" in our country today?

6.  Lewis states, "the competitive search for customers dominates international situations."  Is this an accurate assessment of today's global economy?

7.  Is it better to feed people "for making bad things badly than for doing nothing"?  Put another way, is busy-work preferable to outright charity?

8.  Describe the shift Lewis claims has taken place between an artist and his/her audience.  Do you think his assessment is accurate or not?

9.  Should an artist take the audience's taste and capacity into account when producing art?

10.  Is it desirable for everyone to have "work which is worth doing"?  Given the world's population, is it feasible?  Is it possible to provide employment for large numbers of people without producing needless trinkets or electronics or amusements?



desideratum:  Latin for "something wished for"

Dogberry:  Constable in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.  He performs his duties with comic incompetence and frequent use of malapropisms, while mirroring the superficiality of Messina society.

hoarding:  British term for billboards

© 2008 by Allyson Wieland