Ok, so this passage had me stumped.
What is pathos and bathos?
Pathos I have heard of before.
Pathos is something the stirs the emotion of the soul (think sadness, sorrow, and empathy).
Had to Google “bathos.”
Bathos is an anticlimactic let down (think disappointment and regret).
And yeah, I can imagine there is a certain callousness (bathos) that comes with butchering a cadaver during third period…eww.
Everything teeters between pathos and bathos: here you are, violating society’s most fundamental taboos, and yet formaldehyde is a powerful appetite stimulant, so you also crave a burrito. Eventually, as you complete your assignments by dissecting the median nerve, sawing the pelvis in half, and slicing open the heart, the bathos supersedes: the sacred violation takes on the character of your average college class, replete with pedants, class clowns, and the rest. Cadaver dissection epitomizes, for many, the transformation of the somber, respectful student into the callous, arrogant doctor.
-Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air (Amazon)