epitomizing helplessness in the face of the elements

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Does "epitomizing helplessness in the face of the elements" mean "making helplessness salient in difficult situations"? Simply a wild guess.

Drowning touches a primal human terror, hardwired like a fear of fire, epitomizing helplessness in the face of the elements. The mind conjures torrential floodwaters, Leonardo DiCaprio sinking into frozen oblivion, Virginia Woolf stuffing her pockets with rocks and wading into the river. And, too, it seems utterly preventable, simple as putting lifeboats on the Titanic or redoubling efforts to rescue refugees lost at sea.

-Scientific American

  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    To epitomize something or to be the epitome of something is to be a perfect example of something. Drowning is the ultimate example, to the writer, of being at the mercy of the elements.
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