Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Weekly Scribblings #14: Let's use Pathetic Fallacy, shall we?

Vladimir Kush, Oil Painting, Pinterest
“May I strike my heart's keys clearly, and may none fail because of slack, uncertain, or fraying strings. May the tears that stream down my face make me more radiant: may my hidden weeping bloom.... How we waste our afflictions!” – Rainer Maria Rilke

Hello everyone and welcome to another round of Weekly Scribblings! I have always been fascinated by how eloquently writers and poets ascribe feelings to inanimate objects, especially those expressed in order to portray their own state. But exactly what is Pathetic Fallacy?

Pathetic Fallacy: Meaning, Use and Function

Generally confused with personification, Pathetic Fallacy is a kind of personification that gives human emotions to inanimate objects of nature. For instance, Keats employs pathetic fallacy in his "Ode to Melancholy,"

“But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all
And hides the green hills in an April shroud”

The feeling of melancholy has been described by attributing the human emotion of weeping to the clouds. 

On the other hand, Personification is a much broader term. It is the representation of abstract quality in human form. 

Let us analyze a few more examples of Pathetic Fallacy in Literature:

by William Shakespeare

“The night has been unruly. Where we lay,
Our chimneys were blown down and, as they say,
Lamentings heard i’ th’ air, strange screams of death,
And prophesying with accents terrible
Of dire combustion and confused events
New hatched to the woeful time. The obscure bird
Clamored the livelong night. Some say the Earth
Was feverous and did shake.”

Shakespeare describes the baleful atmosphere on the night of Duncan's murder. The unruly night, the screams of death in the air, and the feverous earth depict what occurred a night before.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
by William Wordsworth

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

Here the poet describes clouds as lonely in order to describe his own state.

Your Challenge today is to write using the literary device "Pathetic Fallacy." Feel free to address what's stirring inside of you. Remember to attach the natural phenomenon to the feeling, the tone, or mood of the character, speaker or setting in your contribution. 

We at Poets and Storytellers United accept both poems and prose (i.e. stories, essays, articles) you may contribute more than one entry. Also, if you opt to write prose then please keep it to 369 words or fewer. The Prompt will remain open until next Wednesday!  

Good luck composing your masterpieces. I look forward to reading what you come up with. Please do visit others and remember to comment on their work. Also, enjoy this musical inspiration by Bon Jovi. Have fun!πŸ’


  1. Bravo!!! I luv this prompt. Thanks for sneaking us into your worl Sanaa, because you write a lot like this.
    Have a nice day every one, I will be posting in a while

    much love...

    1. Thank you so much, Gillena πŸ˜ƒ I am so pleased you enjoyed it! Heading over to read you, happy Wednesday!πŸ’πŸΉ

  2. Very interesting prompt! I am combining it with your ‘toads’ prompt for today. (Sneaky way to write one poem instead of two.)

    1. Haha I did the exact same thing my dearest, Rosemary! Loved your poem πŸ˜ƒ Happy Wednesday!πŸ’πŸΉ

  3. I used Pathetic Fallacy (I think) in the first stanza ... let me know if you want me to delete it.

    1. Thank you so much for writing to the prompt, Margaret πŸ˜ƒπŸ’Œ I absolutely loved it! Happy Wednesday!πŸ’πŸΉ

  4. I like this prompt! However, I'm not sure if my poem actually contains the pathetic fallacy... Let me know if it's okay. :)

    1. It's more than all right, Jenna πŸ₯° I am so pleased you enjoyed the prompt! Happy Wednesday!πŸ’πŸΉ

    2. Same to you, Sanaa, and I'm glad it was good.


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