Antithesis (an-tith’-e-sis): Juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas (often, although not always, in parallel structure).
Open and closed—doors, windows, safes, wounds. What is opened will not always eventually be closed, no matter how desperately we may desire it to be. We know this. We live this. We may fear this in the anguish of not being able to close what is open, or open what is closed. A door with a broken lock. A window painted shut. A safe that won’t unlock. These things can eventually be repaired DYI, or by a tradesperson. But wounds aren’t as straightforward. Doctors may do their best to heal festering cuts and swollen scrapes, but there is also chronic illness—it must be managed, it can’t be cured. And, of course, not all disease or wounding is physical. For example, a battered and broken heart, torn and twisted by love’s travails.
Nobody knows how to heal a broken heart: when hope contracts, despair expands. The passage of time may make it sort of well, or it may make it worse. Finding a new lover may make life better. The person may be like a medicated bandaid stuck across your heart. They may soothe. They may dull the pain. They may even heal almost all of your heart’s despair.
It is your memory that thwarts complete healing: The person you ran from visits your dreams. The “good times” filter through your consciousness. The dinners. The TV time. The sex. The vacations. The good memories start to eclipse the bad memories—being bossed around, being belittled, being marginalized. In dreams, day and night—bereft of the ordeals—your life together is sanitized, romanticized, idealized, and yet, there is still the pain. The pain may be indelible—a reminder of where not to go, and how not to get there. With your new lover, though, the pain may be dimishing, but it will never completely go away. Let it be a source of wisdom. Let it lecture your soul.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)
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