Created By: Xzenu on August 21, 2011 Last Edited By: Merlock on February 6, 2012

Normative Untwist

A kind of twist ending that bring the work closer to certain values at a character\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s expense.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Rolling Updates * Needs More Examples


A story is coming to an end. Throughout the story, a character have upheld ideals, lifestyles, identities or whatever that certain audiences might find objectionable, without being villified. Time to set the record straight and do something really bad to this character, in a way that prove the character's life to have been wrong all along. Anything so that the Moral Guardians will hopefully accept the work in spite of the rest of this character's plotline. Of course, they might object anyway.

Depending on how Genre Savvy or Wrong Genre Savvy the individual reader/viewer is, this sudden aesop about traditional morality being best after all is either a Twist Ending or The Untwist. note that for many issues, the genre savviness is more about decade then about genre - mainstream morality changes fast. For example, the Mood Whiplash can be huge if you read about a character who is an atheist, non-white, non-married mother, homosexual or sadomasochist without apologizing for it, and you don't realize that the work is from the fifties. After having faced the Normative Twist, looking up when the work was made can sometimes help to make sense of what the hell just happened.

The "twist" is often a sudden murder, suicide or other horrible fate, but it can also be a "happy ending" where the character is suddenly converted to Christianity or cured of his sexual orientation or whatever.

Note that it's beside the point whether the twist is calculated or not. Same goes for whether the author really sympathize with the pre-twist character, with the twist, or doesn't really care either way.

Supertrope of Bury Your Gays.

Expect unmarked spoilers.


Examples

Comic Books
  • A few Chick Tracts could be said to follow this pattern. The non-Christian character is likable and live a good life. Then suddenly at the end, BAM: Dead you are, and into the fiery pit of hell you go. Forever and ever and ever. Of course, these few tracts only has the potential to work as a Twist Ending on readers who haven't read any other Chick Tracts and who are very Wrong Genre Savvy.

Film
  • In the relatively early days of film, there was a movie titled "The Atheist Girl" which did very well in the Soviet Union, much to the surprise of Americans who'd seen it. Until they found out the Soviet distributors had simply removed the final reel in which the title girl is suddenly brought face to face with the horrible consequences of atheism and is inspired to convert to The One True Religion. Without that final reel, the movie had a happy ending with the girl remaining firmly atheist.

Literature
  • In Venus in Furs, the protagonist is a sexually submissive heterosexual man in an age where men was socially expected to dominate over women. At the end of the story, he suddenly switch to the socially acceptable dominant role.
  • In The Storyof O, the protagonist is a promiscuous female masochist. The book exist in two versions. In the old version, the book end with the protagonist suddenly committing suicide.

Western Animation
  • The entire plot of Shrek 2 is a parody of this trope. A ogre, who is of the wrong family, social class and even species got the princess? NO WAY! Time for the real happy ending: Here comes the fairy godmother to the rescue, to correct all that went wrong in the first movie. Even the protagonist himself is sufficiently Wrong Genre Savvy to go along with this narrative for a little while, until he embark on a misguided quest to solve the wrong problem.
  • South Park has an in-universe example: Cartman is reading a story he wrote to the class, where his rival, Kyle, has suddenly becomes evil in an anti-Semitic way. Kyle objects to Cartman finishing, but relents when Cartman insists that he will not be killed off by the hero. Back in the story, Kyle pulls a Heel–Face Turn and there's a happy ending for everyone...until Cartman randomly throws in that Kyle dies from AIDS two weeks later.
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • August 21, 2011
    Xzenu
    I'll work more on this tonight. :-)
  • August 21, 2011
    halfmillennium
    If this is what I think it is, it would need careful description to avoid the problems of Getting Crap Past The Radar. A better title could help.
  • August 21, 2011
    Xzenu
    Added a description. :-)

    (Note to new readers: I made the first version on my iPhone. Until now, the description was simply that I would add a description later.)

    All examples are appreciated, but especially non-sexual examples.

    @halfmillennium: With "the problems of Getting Crap Past The Radar", I suppose you mean the issue on whether or not it was intended by the author? I added a disclaimer about this being irrelevant.
  • August 21, 2011
    halfmillennium
    Many entries on GCPTR look as if they were made with the assumption that the radar has failed if it doesn't eliminate everything anyone could find offensive.

    That said, this is looking another rant already, so I'm not sure if that's useful.
  • August 22, 2011
    Xzenu
    Ah. I think we can avoid that problem quite easily.

    That said, I think you should stick to subjects that interest you. The last few months it seems to me that whenever I have written something that in any way has even the slightest connection to BDSM, it gets a complainy reply from halfmillennium. At first it was merely that you don't find the subject interesting and thus I shouldn't write about it. Lately you have taken the habit of calling it a "rant" instead. Seriously. Sometimes you have really good input, but some of those times has been only after I remind you to keep it constructive.

    You don't have to like BDSM: Your preferences and values are your own business entirely. You seem to think that I'm "ranting" against "people who don't like bondage", but that is simply not the case. As far as I'm concerned, people should listen to their own dislikes, and stay away from things they feel wouldn't be good for them (or for their partners). However, I do find it fascinating how values change over time. Homosexuality and sadomasochism are two of the areas that have changed most in my lifetime. When I was a teen, the social norm was to want to discriminate against these minorities. Today we have gay marriage and adoption and laws against discrimination and everything. Talking about Sweden here, USA seem to vary from state to state. But there is still a huge difference between all of contemporary USA and the fifties.

    That being said, I'd like to again underscore that this trope in itself has nothing to do with sexuality, and I would appreciate if people can add more non-sexual examples. I know there are a lot of examples that are about race or religion.
  • August 22, 2011
    SKJAM
    In the relatively early days of film, there was a movie titled "The Atheist Girl" which did very well in the Soviet Union, much to the surprise of Americans who'd seen it. Until they found out the Soviet distributors had simply removed the final reel in which the title girl is suddenly brought face to face with the horrible consequences of atheism and is inspired to convert to The One True Religion. Without that final reel, the movie had a happy ending with the girl remaining firmly atheist.
  • August 22, 2011
    Xzenu
    LOL! Thanks for that example. Added.

    Hmm. I think the biggest issue with this trope right now is characters in the gray area between being this trope and being a straight villain who are doing well through the entire work until they are suddenly killed off at the end.

    For example, in my eyes, Winn of Star Trek Deep Space Nine has nothing to do with this trope. Sure she's doing well throughout the series, rising from Vedek (cardinal) to Kai (Pope). And the narrative is ambiguous: She may or may not be the traitor and terrorist the protagonists suspect her to be. Sure she sides with the Pah Wraiths (the devil) for a while, but she was manipulated into it - and she dies trying to repent for that mistake. Still, I think the narrative is quite clear all along that she's a villain we're not expected to root for.

    Edit: Added a few words in the description about the character not having been villified.
  • August 22, 2011
    halfmillennium
    If you have a problem with me, take it to PMs. I've said all I need to say on this matter, apart from this: it needs a better explanation of where Getting Crap Past The Radar comes into this.
  • August 22, 2011
    Xzenu
    Oh, Getting V Crap Past The Radar isn't nearly as important to the trope as the original laconic made it sound. Changed it.
  • February 4, 2012
    Xzenu
    bump
  • February 4, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    multitudes of examples from Hayes Code Hollywood and Comics Code-era comic books.

    A more modern example is the Darkhorse Comics miniseries Accident Man. (Inspired by but not identical to the series by the same name in the UK comic Toxic). The stories feature an amoral hit man who in the end is murdered by his employers once they're done with him.

  • February 4, 2012
    Jordan
    I have no idea what the Shrek example is supposed to say. For one thing, Shrek is an ogre, not a troll.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=5ydeibbyivzlyqtn7wx33xpr