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Last updated: Sunday, December 24, 2017 7:06 PM

Our ATTITUDES are the manifestation of our VALUES, expressed or shown through what we say and do.

Our VALUES make us accept certain things and reject others. How we act and what we say represents our ATTITUDES - i.e. our VALUES made manifest. 

(NOTE: Do not talk aout attitudesandvalues or valuesandattitudes as one and the same thing. Effective responses will differentiate between these terms and expand with appropriate examples.)


Values make up a group's belief system. This belief system is made up of a socially and culturally constructed set of value that have developed and will continue to develop over time. These exist for society to operate with the least amount of conflict.

Values determine what people in a community commonly accept as good or right. While we may have our own personally thought-out and constructed set of values, the majority of those values we accept are socially and culturally constructed. (See Our values, the things we believe are good/bad, right/wrong, acceptable/unacceptable etc have become naturalised and normalised to us. Society develops a value system or a set of values and conveys these to us through the family, schools, governments, religious institutions, the media, and so forth. Nationalities often have different or differing values based on their particular religious or cutural beliefs. 


Attitudes are how our values are manifested in our actions and thoughts; they are our feelings towards certain ideas or issues. Attitudes dictate how we react in particular situations. Authors and creators of texts reveal certain attitudes within their texts and convey these through the use of specific language, (written, visual, spoken, music, movement, design etc) to position audiences to accept their ideas and their attitudes towards them. As readers or viewers we need to be aware that texts seek to position us to accept certain attitudes and ways of looking at the world. We need to be be critically aware and prepared to question the ideas and values upon which any views about the world are based. (Avoid discussing a text creator's attitudes as either positive or negative towards some value! Don't be lazy; identify what it is they think and/or feel.)


It is essential when considering the values and attitudes of any text to be aware of the context or surrounding circumstances. These may include personal, social, cultural, economic, political, historical and geographical factors. How anything is perceived depends on where it is perceived or seen from. Being aware of context is to be aware of

  • the reader's attitudes and values;
  • the author's attitudes and values;
  • the attitudes and values in which the text is set (where, when).


Ideology is a belief system that consists of certain values and attitudes. It is a collective view of the world. It may be secular and/or religious. Ideology unconsciously determines our 'way of seeing', creates values and set standards that guide our attitudes.

Another definition: ideology is a system of assumptions by which a society operates, and which permeates everything it produces, including literature.


Assumptions are all the things or 'ways of seeing' that we take for granted. They are naturally assumed to be true and become part of how we look at the world. However it is important to remember that these assumptions are socially constructed. We become so used to hearing them and taking them for granted that they give the appearance of truth or fact.


Issues are areas of conflict which concern a particular group. - something controversial within a neighbourhood, state, country or international community. Examples may include include litter, sexual discrimination, migration, global warming. An issue can often arise as a consequence of a clash between diffferent sets of VALUES, ATTITUDES and/or IDEOLOGIES.


  1. Pat Rafter's attitudes
  2. The Big Soda
  3. Caitlin Jenner preaches acceptance
  4. Climate change
  5. Relative values - 'Sparrow's death shock a nation'
  6. Shooting an Elephant - George Orwell


Sample questions

1.       Consider the techniques employed by an author to convey his/her values and attitudes. Comment on your response to these values and attitudes.

2.       What values and attitudes are presented? (Select one text above)

3.       Consider your reactions to or reading of one passage. You might consider your attitudes and values and/or other reading experiences.

5.       Discuss the ways in which one passage employs narrative conventions and style of language to influence the reader's response.

6.       Comment on the issues and values in this passage / these passages.

7.       What attitudes to the theme /issues raised in this article / passage does the writer encourage in you? Analyse the techniques used by the author to shape your response.

8.       How does the writer use setting / character / point of view / choice of language / narrative structure / dialogue to position the reader in relation to the issue raised in this article/ passage? (Select the most relevant three for the passage you are analysing.)

9.       Consider the comment the author makes on human values and social structures. Make detailed references to support your answer.

10.    What attitude to x does the writer encourage in you, the reader? Analyse the techniques that have been used in achieving this response.

11.    How does the use of setting, choice of language and selection of detail position the reader to respond to certain minority groups.

12.    How has the the writer challenged / endorsed your attitudes to the subject of this article / passage?



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