pathetic fallacy

It is a rhetorical figure and a form of personification. In the strictest sense, delivering this fallacy should be done to render analogy.

…or as we learned it in my undergrad English classes, the pathetic fallacy occurs when the hero is sad and so it starts to rain. Or more accurately, it’s raining, so you know that the hero is sad. We had English in the Woolley building, not in the Main Quad; Archaeology was in the Quad and that’s why I love jacaranda trees. I was ambivalent about English, my forte, and passionately in love with Archaeology, which at times I barely passed. Nothing changes.

The only piece of actual Sydney Uni culture I ever picked up was that by the time the jacaranda is blooming, it’s too late to study. I didn’t study much, which may be why Archaeology gave me such a thrashing. I would sit underneath the jacaranda gazing at Danielle and her Mycenean golden hair, waiting for Alexander Cambitoglou to enlighten us on the techniques behind red figure vases, or Jean-Paul Descoeudres to blow my mind with his readings of the floor plans of Pompeiian villas.

I was a bit surprised to learn that jacarandas aren’t Australian natives (its placement in the Quad, of course, should have been a clue. Once you’re in the Quad you’re not supposed to be in Australia any more, you’re in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Oxford!) Anyway, I was pleased to find, on the day we moved in to our San Francisco home, that the street tree outside was a jac. With yellow-and-red roses growing at the foot of it, like the ones I carried at my wedding. I’ve been gazing into its upper branches for four years.

And for the last week or two I’ve been watching its leaves fade and fall.

Well, it’s a tough spot for any tree, on a slope with not a lot of direct light in the winter, and our jac got rootbound and has died. And it’s probably not worth trying to save the roses either. So I’m going to pull everything out and rebuild the tree well and replant something that might be able to cope with the rough conditions, and I am going to ignore the symbolism of it all because it’s just tacky and overdone, like how Nature has absolutely no taste when it comes to sunsets.

Ric’s not doing very well. Jeremy’s leaving in a few hours.

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