Another Essay Prompt Headed to Retirement (Part 2)

[This post and the one preceding it contain high school essay prompts ready to be retired for awhile from my teaching. While they were a good fit for my seniors, they seem less appropriate for my ninth graders.] 

Pathos is an element in art or literature that evokes feelings of compassion in the viewer or reader.  Great writers make us feel for the characters they create. How do four of the writers we have read this year create pathos?  You may want to consider such elements as plot structure, timing, and characterization as well as themes such as suffering, violence, and isolation.  In the concluding section of your essay, choose which author is the most skilled in making audience members or readers feel for the characters he or she creates and defend your thinking with care.  I have included one more definition of pathos below:


From the Greek root for suffering or deep feeling, pathos is the quality in art and literature that stimulates pity, tenderness, or sorrow in the reader or viewer.  (from A Handbook for Literature, 5th Edition)

2 thoughts on “Another Essay Prompt Headed to Retirement (Part 2)

  1. bllbrwn423 April 1, 2012 / 4:35 pm

    Thanks, Ross. I like the clear guidance of these prompts–enough that I may borrow.

  2. J Ross Peters April 1, 2012 / 8:11 pm

    Glad they might be useful, Bill. Please let me know how they work for you if you use them.

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