Playing With: Death by Newbery Medal
: True Art Is Angsty
also applies to works aimed at children.
- Straight: The children's book Alice and Spot is a cute book about a girl and her dog. In the last chapter, Spot suddenly and unexpectedly falls off a cliff and dies.
- Spot dies halfway through the book. His death is drawn out and painful (but not described to the readers). Alice is forced to watch and spends the rest of the book angsting about it.
- The children's book Alice and Her Friends is mostly overly sweet stories about Alice and her friends. In the end, all of her friends go on a trip, a trip which Alice doesn't join because she can't afford it. The train they take crashes and nobody survives.
- Little Alice Dies of Cancer is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- The book starts with Alice living happily and ends with a Trauma Conga Line.
- The book ends with Alice's father becoming allergic to dogs. Spot is adopted by Alice's grandmother, and Alice gets to see him once in a while.
- Spot falls off a cliff at the end and survives, but becomes unable to walk. He is never the same again.
- Justified: Spot dies of old age, but it was revealed early that Spot was old and didn't have much time left. Alice's actions in the book were clearly motivated by making his last days as good as possible, but she's still sad when he dies.
- Alice and Spot starts out with Alice's parents disappearing. Then she meets Spot, who becomes a great friend to her. Together, they find Alice's lost parents. In the epilogue, it's revealed that Spot is still alive, and so are Alice and her parents.
- Alice and Spot is made as cute and happy as possible because the author thought it would increase the chance of a Newbery Medal or something similar.
- Subverted: Spot falls off a cliff and Alice thinks he's dead. Her father tells her that Spot is alive, but injured. Spot is taken to a vet, who tells them that Spot will most likely make it.
- Double Subverted: But then the vet discovers that Spot's injuries are more severe than he thought and that Spot's death is inevitable.
- Zig Zagged: Spot falls off the cliff and is about to die of his injuries, but narrowly survives it. Later, he chokes on something and edges near death again before apparently being OK... but why has he lost his appetite and energy?
- Averted: Alice and Spot is sweet from start to finish. Everyone survives it.
- Enforced: The author wants to win a Newbery Medal (or a similar award) and knows that an angsty work is more likely to win one.
- Lampshaded: "Apparently someone has to die in a dramatic work... *sniff*"
- Meddling Executives demand that this trope be played because they think most people agree that True Art Is Angsty.
- A Jerk Ass pushes Spot off the cliff, knowing that it'll kill him and make Alice sorrowful. It'll also look like an accident.
- This trope becomes so common that people get sick of it. An author then decides not to use it.
- Alice's parents get Spot insured, so they'll get something if something bad happens to Spot.
- Alice watches Spot carefully to make sure that he doesn't go near the cliff.
- The author decided that using a Diabolus Ex Machina to achieve a Sudden Downer Ending would detract more from the work than it would add.
- Discussed: "Mum, do you think Spot will die because the author thinks making my story angsty is more important than Spot's life?"
- Conversed: "An award-winning book about a girl and her dog? I'll bet the dog won't make it to the end of it."
- In-universe: Spot was Alice's only friend and consolation when Alice was bullied. His death truly devastates her. She gets another dog, Max, which she hates and mistreats because she feels that he can never replace Spot and as "revenge" for her own bullying. This marks the beginning of Alice's psychological problems.
- Despair Event Horizon
- Meta: Children hate the book because the ending makes them sad.
- Played For Laughs: Spot dies, then everybody admits that they never even liked him, And There Was Much Rejoicing.
- Played For Drama: "Why, Mom, why did Spot have to die in the last chapter? Why?"
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