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[[quoteright:243:[[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Breakingresized_2119.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:243:'''Phase 1:''' NaiveEverygirl.\\
'''Phase 2:''' HeroicBSOD.\\
'''Phase 3:''' DespairEventHorizon.]]

->''"Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them--in order that the reader may see what they are made of".''
-->-- '''Creator/KurtVonnegut''', "Eight Rules for Writing Fiction"

A series introduces a [[TheCutie character as sweet and lovable]], more comic relief than anything, who likes nothing more than to [[PetTheDog pet little creatures]]. [[{{Moe}} They make you adore them, root for them and love them]].

Then the writers proceed to slowly torment them in front of your very eyes. [[DeusAngstMachina They destroy everything important to them, kill everyone they love and make them suffer from horrible accidents, diseases and acts of violence]], including but not limited to [[ColdBloodedTorture torture]], [[MindRape ra]][[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil pe]] or any other FateWorseThanDeath. They beat the character with one cruel stroke of fate after another until they are just an EmptyShell of their former cheerful, carefree self.

This technique is often used to build TheWoobie in an attempt to enhance "adorability" points. Writers have to be careful or else TheCutie will become the universe's [[TheChewToy Chew Toy]] or cause DarknessInducedAudienceApathy if too much misery is heaped on them.

[[BewareTheNiceOnes Be careful about tormenting sweet little things]]--sometimes instead of breaking, or when there's nothing left to break, they '''[[FreakOut snap]]'''. If they snap, you'd better hope your [[UnstoppableRage life insurance policy]] [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds is up to date]], [[BullyingADragon especially]] if the cutie was a {{badass|Adorable}} to begin with. If they break but refuse to show it, they could be a StepfordSmiler.

Sometimes it can be CorruptTheCutie, where the character in question breaks it by herself. Frequently a part of a character crossing the DespairEventHorizon or the cause of a HeroicBSOD. Also frequently part of the backstory of the BrokenBird, and instrumental in the FreudianExcuse of a villain who UsedToBeASweetKid. Compare FragileFlower and WideEyedIdealist.

On a more constructive note, sometimes breaking the cutie can result in a cute but weak character [[TookALevelInBadass Taking a Level in Badass]] as they [[DidYouThinkICantFeel confront their tormentors]] and [[GrewASpine become more assertive]]. When the cutie refuses to break, they might become an {{iron|Woobie}} or StoicWoobie, a {{Determinator}}, or a PluckyGirl. If they are simply unbreakable to begin with, they are probably a [[ThePollyanna Pollyanna]].

Contrast BreakTheHaughty, where bad things happen to an arrogant person (who had it coming), BreakTheBadass (when a super-strong person is put through the gutter), or the even worse variation KillTheCutie.


* BreakTheCutie/AnimatedFilms
* BreakTheCutie/{{Anime}}
* [[BreakTheCutie/{{Audio}} Audio & Radio]]
* BreakTheCutie/ComicBooks
* BreakTheCutie/FanWorks
* BreakTheCutie/{{Literature}}
** BreakTheCutie/WarriorCats
* BreakTheCutie/LiveActionFilms
* BreakTheCutie/LiveActionTV
* BreakTheCutie/{{Music}}
* BreakTheCutie/{{Opera}}
* BreakTheCutie/ProfessionalWrestling
* BreakTheCutie/ReligionAndMythology
* BreakTheCutie/{{Theater}}
* BreakTheCutie/VideoGames
* BreakTheCutie/VisualNovels
* BreakTheCutie/WebComics
* BreakTheCutie/WebOriginal
* BreakTheCutie/WesternAnimation