Ramblings on tropes

We all have tropes that we can’t resist.

Whether it’s in books, graphic novels, television shows, films, whatever- if this trope is present and it is well executed (or even if it’s not, to be honest) you will be unutterably, inexplicably, drawn towards that piece of media.

(Quick definition: according to the Oxford dictionary a trope is ‘a significant or recurrent theme’. Personally, I think that urban dictionary has a more accurate definition in this case.)

I am no exception to this, and must confess that whenever I read a book which features one of these tropes I can’t help but love it, even if it has other flaws that may otherwise have objectively led to me disliking it or at least liking it less than I do.

That sounds a bit incoherent, but that’s because it’s one of those reactions that’s based more in emotion and feeling than in the mind, which sharply differentiates it from my well-trained English lit. degree instinct to analyse and critically evaluate literature.

I had one of these reflexive responses to a book I read recently, and it led me to pause and interrogate the phenomenon in greater detail. I started to think, is this a negative thing? Does consuming the equivalent of brain comfort food limit my reading; it makes me happy, sure, but is it then too easy for the book to get a response out of me? Isn’t it more rewarding to read a book that has elements that I would perhaps not be instinctively drawn to, as it may open up new literary horizons, or at least challenge me as a reader?

I then realised that if you take this idea of preferring certain tropes to its logical conclusion, that’s just having a general preference in what you like to read or watch.

Obviously, we all have certain preferred genres. But it’s a matter of degree; there’s a difference between preferring a certain genre which still contains variation within itself and exclusively focusing on works which only contain very specific tropes.

There’s nothing wrong with reading or watching things which contain favoured tropes, that you know are guaranteed to lift your mood.

But, maybe on occasion it’s good to try something new.


If you want to learn more about different types of tropes and are prepared to waste a significant chunk of time, check out this website! It’s really cool!

Image Credits: Hans/ Pixabay 


Note on image: it’s a lampshade hanging. if you get it, you’ll get it.


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