Mammoth Memory

Pathos – use of words to evoke pity or sadness

Pathos (pronounced PAY-thoss) is the careful and deliberate use of words to evoke feelings of pity, sympathy, compassion, and sadness among readers.

Pathos evoking pity and sadness

They paid for candyfloss (pathos) but later in life Emos (emotion) had lots of fillings which filled them with sadness.

Used effectively, pathos convinces the reader/listener that the argument or points being put forward are correct, and creates an emotional response in the reader.

Humans are emotional beings and writers know it very well – they use pathos to make us feel pity, sympathy and sorrow, and develop an emotional connection with readers.


Example 1

“I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists – with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" – one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

From Martin Luther King, Jnr’s speech, I Have a Dream


Example 2

In an advertisement about donating to a famine relief charity, there are scenes of emaciated children and the voice-over words: "For just one dollar a day, you can feed a starving child."

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