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The pathetic fallacy

Posted by Simon Parke, 13 March 2017, 5.12am

Are you persuaded by the pathetic fallacy?

The ‘pathetic fallacy’ is a term used to describe the way writers employ nature to describe or create a mood.

‘I wandered lonely as a cloud,’ writes Wordsworth… when really the cloud isn’t lonely at all.

But he is.

And have you noticed how often thrillers reach their climax in the rain and at night?

The writers are using the weather to create a mood. Add some crashing lightning to the scene and we’re under the bed, a quivering mess.

Nature is turned into another character in the story, used to create a feeling.

(Which is the meaning of ‘pathetic’ in this context.)

Though really, a downpour at night is no more dangerous than a blue sky in June.

We’re just as likely to win the pools in the rain as the sun.

And burglaries are more common in the light than the dark.

Which is why it’s called a ‘fallacy’ simply isn’t true.

I’m sure you have your favourite weather. But the truth is, we’re more responsible for our mood than the climate.

And if you can start the day with some self-kindness and trust, allowing what’s difficult in your life, noting what’s good in your life, you might even re-write the story books:

‘She walked to work beneath the cheering clouds and the laughing rain.’ 

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