“A hero has to rely on the gods for some sort of divine interjection.”

Yes, heroes do rely on the gods (and those who forget to be grateful often find themselves in situations that threaten their continued heroicality…).

In an emergency a hero might beg a god for a spot of divine intervention. This is standard practice for heroes.

But my student asserts another need—greater or lesser we cannot say—from the gods. Evidently it is a continuing necessity (“has to rely,” with no adverbs to make the need intermittent or situation-specific), although there seems to be some latitude in the specifics of fulfillment.

I know what an interjection is. My sixth-grade teacher, the formidable and inspiring Miss Cecilia Artym, taught us a little rhyme about the parts of speech, and I was always fond of number eight: “An interjection shows surprise, As ‘Oh!’ ‘Alas!’ ‘Dear Me!’ ‘How wise!'” (In fact it is one of the few couplets I can remember from that ditty. Another is “Prepositions show relation, As in our town and of our nation.” But that has no bearing on my heroes, and I will return to my subject…)

I can’t imagine a god calling down “Dear me!” to Aeneas, or “How wise!” to Odysseus, or “Alas!” to Hektor of the shining helm. Those are words for Victorian damsels. A god’s interjections must be divine.

“Pinnacled Parnassus, Odysseus! A towering victory over the Cyclops!”

“Watch out, Hektor. O, thunderbolts and torrential sorrow! Here comes Achilles!”

Maybe just “Alas!” in Latin: “Eheu!” Anyway, SOME sort of divine interjection.

Oh—maybe “divine” should be used in a different sense:  “Athena replied to Odysseus, ‘I will answer your prayer—Omigod Odysseus, DIVINE abs!—and save you….”

I know my student just got the word wrong. I know he meant “divine intervention.” But wouldn’t you think he would have been more likely to be familiar with the word “intervention” than with “interjection” (never having been in Miss Artym’s class)? Then where did “interjection” come from? V and J aren’t close enough on the keyboard—nor are N and C, for that matter—to be chosen by slipping fingers and then screw up the Spell-check. I have to assume he chose the word he wrote. The reason for his choice I cannot guess.

Insert divine interjection here: _________________________ .

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About RAB

Teacher of English writing and literature (college-level); academic-freedom activist; editor and copy editor; theater director, costumer, actress, playwright. View all posts by RAB

6 responses to ““A hero has to rely on the gods for some sort of divine interjection.”

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