Style Guide #3 – Brian Chong

Style Guide #3


One of the most important elements of writing a story is drawing emotional responses from the readers. In many of the Storium stories, the authors used pathos for unique purposes for each story. “Unexpected Love” and “The Violin” demonstrates effective use of pathos on multiple parts. Since the authors of these two stories used emotions relatable to most audiences, the stories contain dynamic characters that can be understood by most readers’ context.

The uses of pathos in “Unexpected Love” are usually relatable to the audiences that went to high school or have been to it, which is a significant proportion of the population. In Scene 1, “as Dexter makes his way towards the ballroom, he quickly slouches” because he thinks that Marrisa “wouldn’t pay attention to him” and that “a girl like Marissa probably has a date already” (TheArtist14, el al, Scene 1). Here, Dexter quickly concludes that he is not good enough for Marissa who is beautiful and popular. Low self-esteem is one of the most common issues in American high schools. Most of the audience can relate to this in one way or the other. The readers will establish an emotional tie to the protagonist and be more engaged in the story. The audience sympathizes with Dexter’s situation and better understands one of the major conflicts of the story.

In Scene 2 of the “Unexpected Love,” Dexter suffers from bullying, one of the most serious problems that high school students go through. When he realized that his jock brothers were looking at him with jealousy, “it was imperative that he leave the prom before he became a victim of a beating from his jock bothers. … He found himself trying to open a locked door. … Dexter thinks he has ruined his chances of being with Marissa” (TheArtist14, el al, Scene 2).  This quote will provoke pity for Dexter in many aspects. The audience gets to realize that Dexter has been a victim of physical bullying. Many teenagers can relate to the fear of getting beaten up or the urgent need to get away from the bullies. This deepens the characterization of Dexter and makes the conflicts more dynamic. Also, due to running away from the jocks, Dexter had to give up having fun in the prom and missing one of his chances to develop a romantic relationship with Marissa. Any reader who has been to high school will understand the regrets of failed love.

Through these two uses of pathos aimed at stirring up pity for Dexter, the co-authors of this story aim to break down some of the social norms that revolve around Dexter. By showing the struggles with self-esteem and getting bullied that Dexter goes through and having him win over a popular girl in Scene 3, the story is very unique. Marissa is shown as a caring, understanding, and genuine character despite her beauty and popularity, which makes her a three-dimensional character and different from the most archetype of a popular girl. It may seem unlikely in most real-world contexts for a typical popular girl and a nerdy guy to date but the story paid much attention to the characterization of Marissa, making Dexter and Marissa’s love seem natural and plausible.

In “The Violin,” one particular part appeals to a mixture of emotions of intense terror, contempt, and pity by presenting a very graphic description. In Scene 3, Jhin describes how he killed his own father in detail. Amidst the series of different techniques of murder that reveal Jhin’s cruelty, there is a part when Jhin stopped stabbing due to his father’s “‘gurgled pleas as he begged [Jhin] to not break the violin’” and shouts that “‘even as [his father] was dying, all he could ever care about was that damn piece of wood!’” (Soarser, el al, Scene 3). This imagery evokes intense emotions in the audience. This part has the audience focus on the scene from the father’s point of view. Right when the father pleads Jhin not to break the violin, the gore can be seen as not only a product of Jhin’s fury but also as father’s excruciating pain and hopelessness. This swift transition from the murderer’s viewpoint to victim’s viewpoint makes any audience with parents or children sympathize with Jink and Jhin’s father or Jink who is listening to the whole thing. This lets the audience know the significance of the violin to Jink and her motivation to look for it throughout the story. This part is not only a vivid description of Jhin’s cruelty but also a decent addition to Jink’s characterization.

It is also noteworthy that some audience can have a deeper understanding of the story and have pity for Jhin as well. The part when Jhin shouts “that piece of wood” some audience can notice that the violin he refers to is symbolic of his father’s preference of Jink over Jhin. In many situations, many people have to go through being left out of his or her parent’s love due to siblings. With this detail, some audience can realize that the murder was not due to pure hatred but also fueled by the vengeance caused by physical and mental abuse.

All in all, the co-authors of “Unexpected Love” and “The Violin” were successful in weaving a story that many audiences can relate to by complex and effective use of pathos. Through the use of pathos, the authors aimed at deeper and more ample characterization and successfully creating convincing characters that the audience can sympathize with.





The Violin. Storium. Scene 3


Unexpected Love. Storium. Scene 1


Unexpected Love. Storium. Scene 2