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What matters to viewers more: the amnesia trope itself, or how effectively it's used in the plot?

Discuss how tropes and the way they are used in the story affect the plot itself and the viewer’s experience and opinion on the story.

  • Let's take the 'character gets amnesia' trope as an example. This trope is usually disliked because it's often used to explain away an element of the story doesn't make sense and because of how convenient it is. If the trope were used better in a story, would it add to the plot or does it take away just by virtue of being used in the first place? – brightasgold 2 years ago

'Missing Mother' and Other Tropes: Examining a fantasy protagonist's backstory

This article seeks to pinpoint and discuss re-used/well-worn tropes in literature surrounding the issue of family and the background/ongoing story of a fantasy literary protagonist! What exactly is it about the tropes that fuels a protagonist’s backstory – that makes it interesting? Why are these tropes used time and again (i.e. Dead Parents, Wicked Stepmother, Death by Childbirth); and in your opinion, are they useful, or too well-worn? Are there any notable exceptions where family either doesn’t play a huge role (i.e. they’re not mentioned), or they do, and are treated much as part of the protagonist’s current story line as their past reason for doing things/giving them angst and trauma?

(It could be worth looking at TV Tropes and other websites for names of particular ‘tropes’ to discuss and explore).

  • Great idea. The absent parent, especially the absent mother, ties into a fear we all have about what it would be like if no one cared about you. Having no parents or a cruel stepmother means we immediately sympathise with the central character. It can be more interesting if there is a twist in this trope though. In The Hunger Games Katniss's father dies and her mother becomes lost in her grief for some time. Katniss is forced to become the adult at a very early age. As a result her relationship with her mother is strained because she wasn't there when she needed her. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,however, the children are evacuated to the country and barely mention their parents. – SarahPhilip 5 years ago
  • You could explore more about latinamerican writers, such as Roberto Bolaño, Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortazar. – Pedroaft 5 years ago

How tropes can be a valuable writing tool to help create compelling characters.

Look into how using specific tropes can help a writer to make their characters more recognisable for their target audience. Discuss how tropes are often used in mainstream media in order to quickly assemble a cast of characters and how playing with peoples expectations of tropes makes for engaging storytelling

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