Playing With: Wicked Stepmother
: A character, usually female, has a stepmother who is cruel to her.
- Straight: Alice's new stepmother, Nastina, is mean to her and treats her like an unpaid servant.
- Exaggerated: Nastina beats Alice nearly to death every morning, then makes her live in the stables and wear leftover napkins for clothing.
- Downplayed: Nastina makes rude remarks about Alice behind her back.
- Her actions are for the ultimate good of the stepchildren.
- Her husband favors her stepdaughter blindly, and the stepmother can't take it out on him.
- Times are hard, money is short, and Nastina wants her own children to survive and prosper, which means nothing for Alice.
- Nastina is kinder to Alice than her original mother had been.
- Alternatively, Alice is needlessly, pointlessly cruel to Nastina, who's done nothing to provoke her.
- Or Nastina is kinder to Alice than to her own children.
- Or Nastina has no children of her own, and regards Alice as her own daughter.
- Subverted: Alice describes her stepmother thus, but she's also an Unreliable Narrator.
- Double Subverted: ....Nastina is actually much worse than described.
- The stepmother is the wickedest person in the neighborhood yet literally no one notices.
- Nastina does nothing more than Poke the Poodle, yet Bob is determined to save Alice from her when Alice neither notices or cares.
- Zig Zagged: Nastina's treatment of Alice varies from reasonable to hostile.
- Averted: Nastina is generally supportive of Alice.
- Enforced: "You can't write a fairy tale where the stepmother is kind and generous! Why would Alice ever leave home?"
- Lampshaded: "She's my stepmother. That's what describes her best."
- Invoked: ???
- Exploited: Alice's father wants her to leave home, so he marries a cruel woman.
- Nastina is careful to treat her stepdaughter fairly so that she doesn't become one of these.
- Alice's father makes sure to marry a woman who would care equally for all their children.
- Alice's father makes sure Nastina treats Alice fairly, and makes an arrangement that if he dies before Nastina, Alice will live with her grandparents.
- Discussed: "And that is my stepmother." "Evil?" "But of course."
- Conversed: "You notice there are never any good stepmothers in these stories?"
- Deconstructed: The stepmother's continued mistreatment of Alice alienates Alice's father, who divorces her.
- Reconstructed: But because he was himself abused, he marries another woman who is equally bad.
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