Symbolically Broken Object
The destruction of an object represents the destruction of something more important
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.
ExamplesAnime 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
- In The Parent Trap, both girls have half of a picture of their divorced parents.
- The Ten Commandments in The Ten Commandments. Oh, and in The Bible too.
- When Aslan returns from the dead in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe the Stone Table splits in half.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Sirius gives Harry a magic mirror that will allow them to communicate. Harry tries using it after Sirius' death but it doesn't work, so he throws it in his trunk and it smashes. It later becomes a Chekhov's Boomerang.
- When Adric dies in the Doctor Who serial Earthshock, the Doctor has to use his star badge to kill a Cyberman, destroying it in the process. Then they run the Silent Credits over the image of the broken star.
- An episode of Sex and the City had an episode where Samantha gets her boyfriend a framed painting of a heart. His reluctance to hang it on his wall symbolises his inability to give her the commitment she wants, and later he smashes it... having broken her heart.
- In the blink-182 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.
- In Mortal Kombat 9 the cracked amulet represents Armageddon: the further it's cracked, the closer it is.
- 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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