Hypophora is a type of rhetorical question. (See Examples and Observations, below.)
- Stephen King's "Horror Movies"
- Twelve Types of Questions in Casablanca
Examples and Observations:
- "What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured."
- "Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't."
(Pete Seeger in Loose Talk, ed. by Linda Botts, 1980)
- "Ask any mermaid you happen to see, 'What's the best tuna?' Chicken of the Sea."
- "Thirty-one cakes, dampened with whiskey, bask on window sills and shelves.
"Who are they for?
"Friends. Not necessarily neighbor friends: indeed, the larger share is intended for persons we've met maybe once, perhaps not at all. People who've struck our fancy. Like President Roosevelt. . . ."
(Truman Capote, "A Christmas Memory." Mademoiselle, December 1956)
- "Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it's the answer to everything. To 'Why am I here?' To uselessness. It's the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it's a cactus."
(Enid Bagnold, Autobiography, 1969)
- Dr. King's Use of Hypophora
"There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, 'When will you be satisfied?' We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by a sign stating 'For Whites Only.' We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."
(Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have a Dream," August 1963)
- President John Kennedy's Use of Hypophora
"What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children."
(John F. Kennedy, commencement address at American University, 1963)
- Hypophora in Paragraph Introductions
"Perhaps the most common use of hypophora is in a standard-format essay, to introduce a paragraph. A writer will begin the paragraph with a question, and then use the remaining space to answer that question. For example, 'Why should you vote for me? I'll give you five good reasons. . ..' This can be a good way to guide your readers from point to point to make sure they're able to follow."
(Brendan McGuigan, Rhetorical Devices: A Handbook and Activities for Student Writers. Prestwick House, 2007)
- The Lighter Side of Hypophora
Harold Larch: What frees the prisoner in his lonely cell, chained within the bondage of rude walls, far from the owl of Thebes? What fires and stirs the woodcock in his springe or wakes the drowsy apricot betides? What goddess doth the storm toss'd mariner offer her most tempestuous prayers to? Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!
Judge: It's only a bloody parking offense.
(Eric Idle and Terry Jones in episode three of Monty Python's Flying Circus, 1969)
"The National Space Administration informs us that Uncle Sam's Com-Sat 4 satellite is in a rapidly decaying orbit. That's their way of saying a ton of angry space trash is heading back home at fifteen thousand miles an hour. What does that make me think of? Makes me think of a triceratops, innocently munching a palm frond when out of the sky, whammo, a meteor sucker punches old mother Earth. Next thing you know, that triceratops, along with a hundred and seventy-five million years of dinosaur evolution, is nothing but history. To that unsung triceratops and all its kin, here's a song for you."
(John Corbett as Chris Stevens, Northern Exposure, 1992)