Created By: BlueIceTea on April 26, 2012 Last Edited By: BlueIceTea on September 29, 2012
Troped

Your Son All Along

A man discovers that a child he thought was his girlfriend's by another man is actually his own.

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A man's girlfriend leaves him and marries someone else. She and her new husband have a son together. The man, jealous, develops feelings of resentment and even hatred towards the boy, whom he believes to be the offspring of the woman he loves by another man. When they meet, the relationship between them is tense at best, homicidal at worst.

Then one day someone reveals the truth. The man was the child's father all along! He's spent years resenting someone who was in fact his own son!

This is a common variation on the Your Son All Along trope. This trope covers any situation where a man believes that a child is his love-interest's by another man, then discovers that he is in fact the true father. Basically, it's the inverse of cuckholding.

For obvious reasons, the parent in these stories is (almost?) always male. For less obvious reasons, the child is usually male, too. In many cases there is an adversarial relationship between parent and child prior to the revelation, but not always.

Sub-trope of Luke, You Are My Father. The distinguishing feature is that the parent originally believes the child is someone else's, and only discovers the truth later - sometimes not till after the child is dead! This is significant because in most examples of Luke, You Are My Father, the surprise comes from the man learning that he is a parent, with the potential responsibilities that that entails. In this trope, the surprise comes from the man learning that he is the parent of a particular child. This forces him to rethink his relationship with that child and also, potentially, with the child's mother.

Expect lots of unmarked spoilers.


Examples:

Film
  • Used hilariously and tragically in the French duology Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources. In the first film, the protagonist wants the titular Jean to sell him his land, and plays many tricks on him to pursuade him to do so. It doesn't help that Jean is the son of his childhood sweetheart Florette, who left him and married another man while he was away at war. In the end, he successfully drives the Jean to his death and takes the land. In the second film Jean's daughter, Manon, takes revenge for her father's death. It is only at the end of this film that the main character discovers that, contrary to what he thought, Jean was not Florette's son by her husband, but his own son, and that he has unwittingly caused the death of his only child and been in conflict with his granddaughter!
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has Indy finding out that Mutt is his son.

Literature
  • Inverted in The Mayor Of Casterbridge. The title character drunkenly sells his wife and infant daughter to another man. Two decades later, the other man dies and the wife returns to her original husband, bringing her daughter along with her. It is only upon the wife's death that the protagonist learns that the daughter is not the same child he gave up, but a different child fathered by the second husband.
  • The Thornbirds

Live-Action T.V.
  • On Scrubs when Jordan becomes pregnant the first time she claims that the father who someone she had a one night stand with, but is unclear which one. It is actually Dr. Cox's baby, but she doesn't tell him in order to hold their relationship together. Eventually it leaks to Dr. Cox that Jack is his son, at which point Dr. Cox is angry at Jordan for keeping it a secret from him.

Theatre
  • In Love Never Dies, the Phantom realizes at the end of Act One that Gustave is his son, not Raoul's.

Video Games

Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • April 26, 2012
    zarpaulus
    This might be Luke You Are My Father
  • April 26, 2012
    randomsurfer
  • April 27, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    Yeah, it's definitely a sub- and/or sister trope. But still, I think, distinct in its own right.
  • April 27, 2012
    reub2000
    I'm not exactly sure if this fits:
    • On Scrubs when Jordan becomes pregnant the first time she claims that the father who someone she had a one night stand with, but is unclear which one. It is actually Dr. Cox's baby, but she doesn't tell him in order to hold their relationship together. Eventually it leaks to Dr. Cox that Jack is his son, at which point Dr. Cox is angry at Jordan for keeping it a secret from him.
  • April 28, 2012
    DracMonster
    You'll have to explain how its different from those.

    Do you mean its specifically where an enemy turns out to be his child? Enemy Mine Offspring? (God, I wish there wasn't a ban on snowclones, haha.)

    That would be The Same But More Specific, but there might be enough examples to warrant it, it's not an uncommon plot twist.
  • April 29, 2012
    mythbuster
    Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull has Indy finding out that Mutt is his son.
  • April 29, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    The difference between this and Mamas Baby Papas Maybe is that that trope is about not knowing who the father is, whereas in this one we do learn the father's identity.

    Luke You Are My Father is harder. The main difference I'm seeing is that in many examples of Luke You Are My Father, the father knows from the first time he meets the child that he/she is his offspring, whereas in this trop he gets to know the child first and discovers the relationship afterwards - sometimes not till after the child is dead!

    I guess that makes this a sub-trope of Luke You Are My Father, and a sister trope of Mamas Baby Papas Maybe.

    Hmm, I'm not sure whether the Scrubs and Indiana Jones examples count or not. They're different from the examples I've listed, but they might still fit depending on what the exact definition of the trope is. Some possibilities:
    • A man believes that a child is his love-interest's by another man, and dislikes the child for that reason. Then he discovers that the child is in fact his own.
    • A man believes that a child is his love-interest's by another man. Then he discovers that the child is in fact his own.
    • A man has an antipathetic relationship with another character. Then he discovers that the character is in fact his own child.

    I'm not sure which of those I prefer. Thoughts?

    Also, any thoughts about the title? Is it okay, or do we need another one? I was thinking of Your Son All Along, but I like the fact that the current one can readily be identified with the other Luke You Are My... tropes.
  • April 29, 2012
    Bisected8

    Come to think of it, should this be a spoiler-less trope?
  • May 2, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    You mean one where we don't bother with spoiler tags? Probably, as it's inherently a spoilerrific trope.
  • May 3, 2012
    DracMonster
    @Blue Ice Tea: The difference between this and Luke You Are My Father seems kind of The Same But More Specific territory to me, but we'll see what the Hive Mind thinks. Your Son All Along would probably be better to avoid Trope Decay, the snowclone is too confusing methinks.

  • August 23, 2012
    NateTheGreat
    Due to rewrites between the end of the second season and the beginning of the third season (the two parts of the episode "Basics"), this had to happen. It was intended that Seska's baby was Chakotay's, and the makeup on the infant was designed to show this. When the orders came that required that the baby be Culluh's instead, all of a sudden we have a problem. The infant had absolutely no Kazon makeup on it.
    Seska: But I was so certain. He, he looks...
    EMH: He's the first offspring of a Cardassian and a Kazon. We have no frame of reference by which to judge his initial appearance. Perhaps he will develop more Kazon features as he matures.
    Can anyone say "handwave"?
  • August 23, 2012
    KarjamP
  • August 24, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    ^^ That seems more like the inverse of this trope. If Chakotay started out thinking the baby was Culluh's and then discovered it was his, that would be an example.
  • September 11, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^^ By the way, that example is from

    Live Action TV
  • September 11, 2012
    KingZeal
  • September 15, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    "Luke You Are My Father is harder. The main difference I'm seeing is that in many examples of Luke You Are My Father, the father knows from the first time he meets the child that he/she is his offspring, whereas in this trop he gets to know the child first and discovers the relationship afterwards - sometimes not till after the child is dead!"

    "many examples" =/= "definition of the trope". The point of that trope is just the reveal.
  • September 15, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    Aha. So what you're saying is the definition of Luke You Are My Father is that a character is revealed to be another character's offspring from the get-go.

    Lemme just go double check that...

    Crud! What? Somebody went and changed the definition of Luke You Are My Father? When did that happen? Great, now it looks more like a super trope than a sister trope. Better change the write-up to reflect that...
  • September 15, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ No, I did not say that. The definition is ANY TIME in a work that the reveal is made.
  • September 15, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    Hmm, the original definition of Luke You Are My Father appears to have been this:

    A new character shows up who is almost immediately revealed to be the long-lost, previously unknown, or believed-dead child of an established character.

    That's what I always thought the definition was. However, it's now been changed to a more general definition, with no explanation given except a broken link. Anyone know why?
  • September 15, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ The trope was originally meant to be a counterpoint to Luke I Am Your Father, which was when the reveal was made later.

    Then it turned out wicks were basically about parental reveals and offspring reveals, which is what the trope names implied. We decided that when the reveal was made doesn't matter. Being the parent of offspring as a reveal was better, so that was what we changed it to on either TRS or ykttw before TRS was founded (honestly can't remember).

    But this was a while ago, and I mean over a year or so.
  • September 15, 2012
    polarbear2217
    Theater-

    In Love Never Dies, the Phantom realizes at the end of Act One that Gustave is his son, not Raoul's.
  • September 17, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    ^^ Okay, guess that makes this a sub-trope. I'll re-write the description accordingly.
  • September 17, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ How is it a sub trope?
  • September 17, 2012
    acrobox
    The way this is distinct in my mind is not about the finding out relationship of the child and father, but about the fathers relationship with the mother.

    this is a break up trope. I broke up with my woman, woman married another man, woman was already pregnant with my child and i didn't know it.

    That said its gotta be a pretty fast turn around for all this stuff to happen and for people to believe that the child belonged to the new man. That or the father was out of the mothers life, and the mothers new husband just didnt care who the biological father of his step child was.

    Superman Returns is a good example.
  • September 17, 2012
    acrobox
    in that sense its a subtrope to Mamas Baby Papas Maybe and sister trope to Luke I Might Be Your Father when the answer is "yes and the mother married another man."
  • September 17, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ 1. That is assuming Luke You Are My Father is about males only. It doesn't work that way, as some women can think they lost a child, or gave one up for adoption.

    2. The break up can STILL happen with other examples that don't have a pretend parent.

    3. So the key aspect is actually pretending another parent, and then the truth is revealed.

    4. The name should be tweaked to reflect that.
  • September 20, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    ^ What would you suggest?

    ^^^ Interesting point about the father's relationship with the mother. I think it can sometimes be about that, but sometimes the relationship with the child is the more important point. Worth adding to the description, though.

    ^^^^ It's a sub-trope because it fits the definition of Luke You Are My Father, but with important distinguishing features that separate it from other instances of that trope.
  • September 20, 2012
    acrobox
    ^ the sequence of events between the father and the mother is what makes the trope. thats its true distinguishing feature

    Because Tropes Are Flexible the author can decide whether to make the actual plot about the father and mothers relationship or either parent and the child, or the step parent, or about something completely unrelated and this is just part of someones backstory

    the current distinguishing feature says it has to do with the person finding out the parentage of the child, but that can happen in backstory or in the plot or in an epilogue. it only has the potential for happening at all because of the relationship between the parents.
  • September 20, 2012
    acrobox
    what im saying is that this feels more like a 'these events happen a lot in fiction' trope rather than a 'if you see this event, it has this specific meaning and this right way it should be played'
  • September 20, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    Er, I'm not quite sure I understand what you're saying. Whether the child belongs to the protagonist or not, the sequence of events between him and the mother is the same: they have a relationship; the relationship ends; she takes up with someone else; she has a baby.

    I think sometimes this trope gets used to show the importance of the woman's relationship with the man. (As though there were some law of nature whereby a woman can only conceive a child by a man she is in love with. I've never understood that one.) But sometimes I think it gets used to show the futility of jealousy and rivalry. Take my Florette duology example; the woman is dead when the first movie starts. The shock at the end comes partly from the protagonist discovering that she really loved him, but mostly from realising that he's been fighting with his own flesh and blood.
  • September 21, 2012
    acrobox
    right, we're saying the same thing. the sequence of events between the mother and the father is consistent across all examples (relationship, break up, new relationship, baby) so thats what distinguishes the trope from other tropes the most.
  • September 21, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    Uh, okay. So, do you think that's unclear from the description? If so, what would you suggest changing/adding?
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