Exergasia (ex-er-ga’-si-a): Repetition of the same idea, changing either its words, its delivery, or the general treatment it is given. A method for amplification, variation, and explanation. As such, exergasia compares to the progymnasmata exercises (rudimentary exercises intended to prepare students of rhetoric for the creation and performance of complete practice orations).

You have that far away look in your eyes, memories pressing against the present, you see through your eyes, but your eyes don’t look. Your eyes can’t look. They can’t help you understand. They just drop pictures with clouded colors, unmerciful veils failing to occlude what you don’t want to remember: terrifying traces of war nurse chemical imbalances in your brain, supplanting everything “out there” with vivid, cartoon-like hallucinations mocking the present with twisted revelations and tear-inducing images swarming like flies in front of your face.

So, your aging mother—nearly ninety—feeds you your medication. After awhile, the tide of madness starts to drain. The tumultuous sea of anxiety is filled with warmth and tranquility as the chemicals bring you back from drowning—like a lifeboat sent by God.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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