Faith-Based Entrepreneurs

Ignite Your Light & Life through the Power of Connection

Who else wants a proven internet business?

What is the Pathetic Fallacy?

pathetic fallacy writing by
web site

Send Feedback to marciano guerrero
About Author
Report Problem
Tweet This

Share on Facebook Pin it

While skilled writers use this technique to their advantage, students hardly ever use it. And why not? In my estimation, it is because it just isn't taught in writing classes--even college writing centers!

To begin with, let's have a quick definition: the pathetic fallacy attributes human feelings to nature and also to human-created objects.

Here's an example from Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers:

"The evening grew more dull every moment, and a melancholy wind sounded through the deserted fields, like a distant giant whistling for his house-dog. The sadness of the scene imparted a somber tinge to the feelings of Mr. Winkle. He started as they passed the angle of the trench--it looked like a colossal grave."

People grow dull or sharp, not evenings. What Dickens is doing is setting up a scene with which he intends to startle his readers, to put them in a state of suspense and terror. And if Dickens doesn't fully intends to terrorize his readers at least he would have achieved a good scare--or at worst, get their attention and prompt them to go on reading.

Likewise, people grow melancholy and not the wind.

If you read closely you'll see the main elements (imagery) that Dickens uses to achieve that primeval fear we all carry within: dogs howling, whistling as we pass a cemetery and its graves. And by using the word ‘giant' he magnifies, elongates, and distorts --like El Greco does with his paintings--the nature and the objects to animate them and thus cause strangeness. Related to the pathetic fallacy are the techniques of ‘animation' and ‘objective correlatives.'

Retired. Former investment banker, Columbia University-educated, Vietnam Vet (67-68). For the writing techniques I use, see Mary Duffy's e-book: Sentence Openers. To read my book reviews of the Classics visit my blog: Writing To Live

Please scroll down to leave a comment below...

Contact the Author

marciano guerrero
book reviews and human interest articles
marciano guerrero's web site

awesome comments

This article has been viewed 632 time(s).



Upcoming IgnitePoint Events

Ignite your light, life and faith at an upcoming live IgnitePoint city event. Also find out how you can become a speaker at one of these events!

IgnitePoint - Atlanta
Spring 2015

IgnitePoint - Salt Lake City
Summer 2015

Imagine a TEDxR-style event where you can mention God, Jesus Christ and tell your faith-promoting stories! Learn more here.

Featured Collaborator

Laura West

Laura West is a Passionista for creativity in business! She believes that when you shift your energy, confidence, creativity, AND take action, you’ll create the business of your dreams. As a Creative Business Coach, author, speaker, and Visual Facilitator, Laura helps Creative Inspirational Leaders share their unique messages and gifts to create big change in the world. She has helped 1000s of entrepreneurs create successful businesses filled with passion, creativity, and real success. Laura is known for turning marketing on its head and making business fun, creative, practical, and real through her information products, workshops, teleclasses, and coaching programs. Meet Laura...

You can be featured on our site! Ask How!

Books by this Author

East of Tiffany's
East of Tiffany's
East of Tiffany's provides a rare insight into the lives of characters that populate the East Side of Manhattan. The collection features riveting stories about actors, bankers, warriors, cops, industrialists, executives, and --and why not?-- their beloved pets.

Sentence Openers
Sentence Openers
Writing guide for budding writers: 10 unpretentious lessons that get results.

The Poison Pill
The Poison Pill
A business (gothic) thriller that makes readers miss their subway or bus stop.

Toolbox for Writers
Toolbox for Writers
By using the proven techniques crafted by master writers, all aspiring writers can produce excellent prose. We present an abundance of examples culled from successful literary writers.