Fans of The Andy Griffith Show no doubt remember Hope Summers, who played Clara Johnson (or Edwards, depending on when you watched the show). She was Aunt Bee’s best friend, although there was some rivalry between the two of them. Aunt Bee usually ended up losing to Clara, but was always gracious in defeat.
"Hoping against all hope" is kind of a strange expression. It’s kind of like watching a loved one on their deathbed and hoping they’ll suddenly sit up and be totally well. You know what the prognosis is and have more or less accept it, but you hold onto that one last scrap of hope. Or it’s kind of like baseball, where you know your team is probably going to lose, but you hold onto hope that your team will get a rally going and somehow win the game. I’ve seen it happen more than once.
Remember that line from Dante’s Divine Comedy "abandon hope, all ye who enter here"? I used to have a sign above my desk, which was always a mess, that said that. It somehow prepared visitors for what was (or most like wasn’t) going to happen.
Finally, how about a song? From 1964, Dusty Springfield, "Wishin’ and Hopin’."
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