Tag Archives: pathopoeia

Pathopoeia

Pathopoeia ( path-o-poy’-a): A general term for speech that moves hearers emotionally, especially as the speaker attempts to elicit an emotional response by way of demonstrating his/her own feelings (exuscitatio). Melanchthon explains that this effect is achieved by making reference to any of a variety of pathetic circumstances: the time, one’s gender, age, location, etc

My heart aches alternately with more pain and less pain, but never no pain. This is what it means to have a broken heart. I should be past this now, enjoying my retirement, my children and grandchildren. Yet my heart aches. I am old, too old for the pain. I do not know what to do about the endless pain, but you can pray for me–pray for the end of my pain, still living, and possibly enjoying life with its ups and downs. In the meantime, I will quietly suffer; old and presently broken.

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

Pathopoeia

Pathopoeia ( path-o-poy’-a): A general term for speech that moves hearers emotionally, especially as the speaker attempts to elicit an emotional response by way of demonstrating his/her own feelings (exuscitatio). Melanchthon explains that this effect is achieved by making reference to any of a variety of pathetic circumstances: the time, one’s gender, age, location, etc.

Being careful not to slip and fall down on what’s left of my neighbor next door, I continue my walk and follow my thoughts about death, my career, my car, last summer’s vacation, my flat screen TV, and my mother, daughter, and wife who ran beneath the tracer fire last night as it stitched up the sky with its thread of red, brighter than the dark puddle of blood collecting in the gutter and reflecting my dread.

I turn. I howl. I vomit.

My family is dead.

You call it war. I call it endless sorrow and pain. You call it just. I call it criminally insane.

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

Pathopoeia

Pathopoeia ( path-o-poy’-a): A general term for speech that moves hearers emotionally, especially as the speaker attempts to elicit an emotional response by way of demonstrating his/her own feelings (exuscitatio). Melanchthon explains that this effect is achieved by making reference to any of a variety of pathetic circumstances: the time, one’s gender, age, location, etc.

“I am worn out, hungry, homeless, cold, and sick. I need help. Can I stay in this shelter tonight? Can I have some hot soup? Can I see a doctor?”  I heard this last night, and I hear some version of it nearly every night, at the homeless shelter where I work. I wanted to answer “Yes” to all the questions, but I couldn’t, and it broke my heart.

We can provide shelter.  We can provide meals, but we can’t provide any kind of medical assistance. When will I be able to answer “Yes, yes, yes” to those three basic life-sustaining questions? Shelter? Food? Medicine?

Well, now it’s your turn to answer: Will you volunteer? Will you be on call? Will you answer “Yes” when a homeless person asks “Can I see a doctor?” Will you help? What is your answer? Is it “Yes”?

  •  Post your own pathopoeia on the “Comments” page!

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