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The Pathetic Plot

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > The Pathetic Plot

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

In a pathetic plot, the main character, who is often attractive in some way, falls into misfortune, being harmed or failing to achieve some desired end. After some brief respite, perhaps, the story ends unhappily, with death, loneliness, bitterness and other sad feelings.

Example

Thomas Hardy's novels (eg. 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles').

Discussion

Pathetic plots are generally 'tear-jerkers' and, after hopeful interludes, the reader is left at the end of the story feeling sad and sorry for the character. The power of the story is in the emotional response gained, and may make the reader feel that their life, in contrast, is not so bad after all.

The Pathetic Plot is one of Friedman's story plots.

See also

Friedman, N. (1955). Forms of the Plot. Journal of General Education. 8: 241-253

 

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