Hello everyone. Welcome back to #theorythursday.
Last week I talked about subversive literature, and you should go and check that out if you have not already.
Today I am talking about tropes. Let’s dive right into Theory Thursday.
What is a trope?
It is important to note that the word trope can have many definitions, but in literary terms, a trope is a commonly used plot device or character trait that is used so often that it appears to be conventional.
An example of this is the ‘final girl’ trope that is often recognised in horror movies. This is the idea that there can only be one female character surviving at the end of the movie, and this female character is usually smart, studious, and she is usually a virgin. I’ve talked about this ‘final girl’ trope in greater detail in this week’s #moviemonday discussion as Laurie Strode’s arc in Halloween is an example of the ‘final girl’ trope.
Many fairy tales contain a ‘rags to riches’ trope where the protagonist rises from a situation in which they are struggling and they are rewarded for their kindness and courage along the way. The protagonists in ‘rags to riches’ tropes usually have hearts of gold. They are usually very endearing, and easy characters for us as the audience to root for. If we think about the Disney version of Aladdin, the character Aladdin experiences a rise from rags to riches. He exemplifies these kind, heroic, endearing traits because despite being given the title of ‘street rat’, Aladdin is also called a ‘diamond in the rough’, showing us that he deserves this good fortune.
Certain tropes can become associated with certain genres, for example, the ‘rags to riches’ trope could be argued to be associated with fairy tales, and the ‘final girl’ trope can be heavily associated with the horror genre, and these stories occur so often, that we begin to view the idea of the final girl in horrors as normal, we think that’s just how horror movies work.
Tropes become familiar, and I think that people have certain tropes that they enjoy.
Enemies to lovers is a very popular trope, and this trope explores the idea of two characters who start off hating each other, but over time they begin to have romantic feelings towards each other. This usually happens after the two characters were forced to spend a lot of time together for some reason, and although both characters hate the idea at first, as time passes they grow on each other. I would argue that this trope tends to be popular in young adult fiction.
Why is it important to understand what a trope is?
I think it is important to understand tropes simply because they occur so often in literature. When one is talking about literature, tropes will come up because they are so central to the stories so it is important to understand what they are. Tropes can also cause interesting discussions because some tropes are considered extremely popular, while others could be argued to be outdated. I will discuss this further at some point in the future.
This has been Theory Thursday, I hope you enjoyed it.