noun: pity
  1. the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others.
  2. a cause for regret or disappointment.
verb: pity; 3rd person present: pities; past tense: pitied; past participle: pitied; gerund or present participle: pitying
  1. feel sorrow for the misfortunes of.

I see this in probably over half of the wordy-plot-having-things I read (i.e. fanfictions and YA novels) in the context of basically this exact quote: “I don’t want your pity” or “I don’t want you to pity me” or some such. And it drives me nuts. Are these characters saying that they don’t want people to feel bad for the bad things that happen to them? Is this (has this become) some cultural thing, “I don’t want your pity”? How (and why) did pity become a dirty word? When did it start making people feel like they had to react with nasty, spiny (like porcupines or cacti, not the backbone) retorts? Is “I don’t want your pity” supposed to make me think that the character is damaged or strong or actually deserving of pity (i.e. compassion)?

What am I missing here?


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