Symbolically Broken Object YKTTW Discussion

Symbolically Broken Object
The destruction of an object represents the destruction of something more important
Tropeworthy? Tropeworthy?
(permanent link) added: 2012-06-25 07:39:25 sponsor: ladyofprocrastination (last reply: 2012-07-02 20:00:28)

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Do We Have This One?, Needs More Examples

Something has been broken. It may be a spell, a relationship, a life. Whatever it is, it was important, and now it's been destroyed.

And so has something else.

An excellent way for a writer to demonstrate the destruction of something intangible is to break something tangible. The broken object could be anything, but the symbolism is usually obvious. When Bob and Alice break up, a picture of the two of them is destroyed. When Charlie dies, his prized possession is smashed to bits. When the Big Bad is defeated, his stronghold falls apart.

The extent of the damage to the Symbolically Broken Object frequently indicates the extent of the damage to the thing it symbolizes. If the object has been destroyed beyond repair, there's a good chance that the same is true of whatever else was broken. If the object can be repaired, so can the thing it smbolizes.

Frequently overlaps with Load-Bearing Boss, Insignia Rip-Off Ritual, and Wrecked Weapon.


Anime and Manga
  • When Asuma dies in Naruto, his girlfriend Kurenai's teacup breaks.
  • In Nana, the breaking of the strawberry glasses represents the breaking of contact between Nana K and Nana O



Live Action TV

  • In the Blink182 video for "Always", this happens to a vase of gladioli at the beginning of the video, symbolising the broken relationship between the guy(s) and the girl.

  • In The Glass Menagerie, one of Laura's glass animal figurines is broken by her "Gentleman Caller". The figure is a unicorn. Its horn breaks off, making it "just like all the other horses". It's symbolic of Laura herself, who is fragile and special and no one understands her.

  • BIONICLE: The Bohrok Online Animations begins with a storm over the Mata Nui rock, after which the rock shatters, representing the Bohrok coming to "cleanse" the island of Mata Nui.

Video Games
  • In Mortal Kombat 9 the cracked amulet represents Armageddon: the further it's cracked, the closer it is.

Western Animation
  • Happens twice in Brave: the tapestry Merida slices in anger explicitly represents the broken bond between her and her mother. Later, we see a carving of the four princes that has been similarly broken.
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