Friday, April 15, 2016

archetypes and tropes

I have been looking for new books to read. I have a growing list of about eighty books that I'd like to read. But, they are all books that I have to, "be in the mood for". So, I spend my time looking at new releases, trolling reading lists, and reading book reviews. 

I have noticed that people are judgmental of certain archetypes and tropes within stories. They do not want Mary Sues, they do not want manic pixie dream girls, and they do not want insta-love.

Yet, these are the things that I am here to talk about today. 

1.) The rejection of Mary Sue. 

What is so god damned awful about somebody being a perfect and well-liked human being? Isn't that what we strive for? Wouldn't we want a friend who was a Mary Sue? Why are we suddenly judging writers for creating characters that we could strive to be? Those unrealistic abilities (unless we are talking about paranormal abilities like magic) should be appreciated. It is not that a Mary Sue character is not realistic, it is that we do not know how to make someone "perfect" seem realistic. We somehow need flaws, or so we say.

I would like to argue that if a Mary Sue existed, we as a people would reject them (as we already are). We'd see perfection as a flaw (as we already are) and we would want to discredit the possibility of their perfection.

We are such ridiculous beings!

2.) The rejection of Manic Pixie Dream Girls.

As a person, who has been compared to a, "manic pixie dream girl", I resent there is something wrong with this role.

Nathan Rabin, created the archetype by defining it as, "that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures."

I am not shallow. I sway between; bubbly and aloof. I have been a muse and friend to many (all of them soulful humans and not gender specific). I want people (with every fiber of my being) to embrace life and its infinite mysteries. I want them to create and go on adventures. To explore and imagine. I want to spread happiness and love. I want to inspire. 

If I want these things, why can't manic pixie dream girl in that novel or film share my passion?

3.) The rejection of insta-love.

This one is difficult for me. Sometimes, I think insta-love (as a plot device) works. Sometimes, it does not. The thing is, I am a hopeless romantic. I have fallen in insta-love.

I knew right away. that he was, "the one". I talked to him online once and then on the phone once. I made the reckless decision and flew across the country to meet him. (I didn't even know his last name.) 

I knew it was him. I just did.

None of that is normal. The fact that I could have been murdered on my impromptu trip, hasn't escaped my attention. But it happened to me. I was (and still am) in insta-love.
  
Insta-love has been decreed as, "not love at all" or immature. I can see why someone would say this. However and in my case, I knew the following things about, "him" before I even met him.
He would be tall with dark hair and beautiful eyes. He would show his fear and have flaws that only I could love. He'd be adventurous and willing to take risk. He would be very smart to borderline genius. He'd have an amazing sense of humor. He'd make choices with his heart; not his retirement plan. He'd be into things that I wasn't, which would broaden my horizons. He'd want to eat healthy but not avoid junk food. He'd talk to the moon. He'd be different and fragile in his strength. He'd like sports, but sports would not be the meaning to his existence. He'd drive a stick. He'd have a laugh that felt familiar. He wouldn't be afraid to cry. He'd be brutally honest. He'd like tattoos. He wouldn't be afraid of people's sexual orientations or gender identities. He'd be liberal in his political views and he would be musically talented.
There was more to this list, but he was (and still is) all of them and more. To have people disregard even the concept of insta-love; makes my blood boil. 

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