Normative Untwist YKTTW Discussion

Normative Untwist
A kind of twist ending that bring the work closer to certain values at a character\\\'s expense.
(permanent link) added: 2011-08-21 06:51:36 sponsor: Xzenu edited by: Merlock (last reply: 2012-02-06 21:07:34)

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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.


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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
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