Inexplicable Moral Resonance YKTTW Discussion

Inexplicable Moral Resonance
When characters suddenly share the morals of the day despite not having any reason to do so.
Needs Examples
(permanent link) added: 2013-04-18 16:43:11 sponsor: Nemi (last reply: 2013-06-05 18:32:55)

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"We cannot ignore the truth about the past."
"Going to Vic's won't make us forget who we are or where we came from. It reminds us that we are no longer bound by any limitations. Except the ones we impose on ourselves."
-- Sisko and Kasidy on historical accuracy, Badda-Bing Badda-Bag, Deep Space Nine

Hard times call for hard people and harder choices, be it in fantasy, dystopian, sci fi, or historical setings. Sometimes this gives the viewers a case of Values Dissonance. This can even be deliberate.

However, sometimes the creators, not wishing to have a Broken Aesop, or alienate their viewers/readers, will instead have the work reflect more contemporary (for the time) morals instead.

A subtrope of Consistency, specfically dealing with external and internal varients, and often presents as anachronistic morality.

A general example of this trope for external Consistency the Eternal Sexual Freedom trope applied to a woman in a setting heavily based upon the European Middle Ages, if and only if there is no internal reason for there to be an exception to this.

While Like Reality Unless Noted would cover such an instance, it would leave a consumer with the question of "But Why?" If there is an answer beyond authorical fiat, such as only women can use magic, magical contraception, or the Crystal Dragon Jesus was a woman, this trope does not apply.

Internal consistency would be something like a bunch of advanced aliens not caring either way for lesser life forms, but once they meet humans they inexplicably change their minds.

Essentially if there is no prior indication in the work itself that anybody in this society has these kinds of moral standards, and then they suddenly do.

Subtropes include

Averted by:

Compare with:



Monsters, Inc.
  • The Monsters make it clear that they consider human children to be terrifying, unclean, and 'subhuman'. They literally make their living harvesting the fear of human children to power their city. The entire moral arc of the character Sully is when he meets a human child and bonds with it, thus teaching him that human children are not the horrible, well, MONSTERS that they believe them to be. Yet at the end of the movie, Sully uncovers a plot by the mayor of the town to increase the power output to the monster city by kidnapping human children and torturing them. Suddenly, the revelation that he is prepared to do this is enough to turn every monster in the city against him at once.

  • In Disney's Mulan, the protagonist meets the matchmaker for an Arranged Marriage. When this goes badly, she laments that she's an unsuitable bride, but never questions the custom. Contrast the sequel, in which she reacts with outrage on hearing that the Emperor is sending his daughters off to an Arranged Marriage.

  • Despite being based off of the Norse, who predate the idea of genocide being a bad thing, Loki's attempts to destroy Jotenheim is soundly condemed. The Warriors Three and Sif expressed no concer over the wrongness of going to Jotenheim, only that it was forbidden, and no concern over World War III IN SPACE!. Odin banished Thor for starting an war that would endanger all the peaceful realms. He never spoke out against genocide.


  • Parodied in Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States. A couple pages into Chapter Four: The Colonies Develop A Life-style, the Lemony Narrators interrupt the action to notify the readers that "a review committee... has determined that, so far, this history book is not making enough of an effort to include the contributions of women and minority groups. Unless some effort is undertaken to correct this situation, this book will not be approved for purchase by public school systems in absolutely vast quantities." Whereupon the narrators/authors "just now remembered... that during the colonial era women and minority groups were making many contributions, which we are certain that they will continue to do at regularly spaced intervals throughout the course of this book." Spoiler: They do... whenever the narrative remembers to mention it, anyway.
  • In Eragon the butcher's place is specifcally noted as being very clean, despite that being uncharacteristic for a primitive butcher house. But the idea of a filthy butcher would disgust readers.
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