Remarrying For Your Kids
A parent replaces a spouse
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(permanent link) added: 2013-12-16 10:44:05 sponsor: TheMuse (last reply: 2014-02-08 14:07:13)

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Having a single parent in a work isn't uncommon in the slightest. But if a character's Missing Mom or Disappeared Dad is explained as being a product of death or Parental Abandonment, it's likely for the single parent to be paired up with another character by the end. This can be used to resolve the lack of spouse and parent in one swoop. The character may intentionally be looking for a spouse/partner throughout the story, but this often isn't the case.

The popularity of this trope may lead one to assume that anytime a widowed parent appears, they will be paired off in the end.

Playing this straight involves the parent being paired off with another character over the course of the story (backstory doesn't count) May involve a plot that features Parent with New Paramour.

Examples

Film
  • A major plot point of Nanny McPhee is Cedric Brown's necessity to get remarried after his wife's death, due to pressure put on him by the great aunt. By the end of the movie, he marries Evangeline.
  • Love Actually. Liam Neeson's character's wife dies at the beginning of the movie and he is forced to raise their child alone. By the end, he is paired up with another woman, be this is an unusual variant of the trope, considering the son is his by marriage.
  • Averted in Treasure Planet. Jim's lack of father is given an explicit explantation, but Mrs. Dawkins never enters another relationship.
  • The Aristocats. Played straight with Duchess and O'Malley, but the kitten's lack of biological father is never mentioned or explained.
  • In Disney's Enchanted, Robert has an extended relationship with Nancy, but end up with Giselle in the end. Morgan's mother is explicitly mentioned to have 'left,' which is actually pretty dark for a kid's movie.
  • Rugrats in Paris has Chuckie's father decide to remarry because he wants to provide a mom for his son. Unfortunately, he's not very good at telling that Chuckie is terrified of his new girlfriend Coco. Played Straight as Chaz ends up marrying Kira by the end of the movie.
  • Averted in Epic. MK's mother is explicitly mentioned to have died, but her father, Bomba, is not paired up with another character

Literature
  • Deconstructed a bit in Wives and Daughters, Molly's mother dies when she's a little girl. When she's teenaged, her father thinks she really needs a mother-figure and marries because of it. However, while not being exactly Evil Stepmother, she's a difficult woman and not helpful at all.

Legend
  • Min Ziqian was a Chinese model of filial piety. After his father discovered that his Wicked Stepmother was dressing her own children warmly, and not his first son, he told her he had married her to have someone to look after his son, and she is not doing it, so he would divorce her. Only Min Ziqian's intervention, reminding him that without her there, none of the children would be looked after, saved her.
  • In The Green Knight, the king remarries because his daughter begs him to.

Real Life
  • Abraham Lincoln's mother died of milk sickness when he was nine. A short time later his father went off for a week and brought home a Widow Woman specifically to be the new mother to his children. The new Mrs. Lincoln already had three children of her own, so the replacement went both directions.
    Thomas Lincoln: "I have no wife and you no husband. I came a-purpose to marry you. I knowed you from a gal and you knowed me from a boy. I've no time to lose: and if you're willin' let it be done straight off."
  • Truth in Television. This wasn't uncommon through much of human history, especially due to Death By Child Birth being much more common. (Which often left behind children, and sometimes Massive Numbered Siblings) The widower left behind would be expected to remarry to provide his children with a mother. A dead father would often produce a similar result. This was often motivated by the idea that children needed to be raised by a 'mother' and 'father' to flourish
  • This was common enough in the Victorian-era that etiquette books even had guidelines for how long Wife #2 should mourn her dead predecessor (assuming the male remarried during his mourning period).
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