Main Adult Fear Discussion

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02:38:11 AM Nov 6th 2016
I want to add an example from a radio drama. Where would that go?
09:44:04 PM Aug 31st 2013
edited by
Should there be a new trope to hold all the "threats concerning loved ones from potentially fantastical sources"? Ultimate Heroic Fear, perhaps, because it is the one fear that every hero has. It might be related to And Your Little Dog, Too!, but with the emphasis on the hero's reaction rather than the villain's evilness.
07:55:02 PM Sep 7th 2013
Really, couldn't there be a trope that is essentially "Adult Fear for Fantasy / Science Fiction / etc? Essentially, as has been pointed out, a lot of the situations may not happen for reasons that could occur in the real world, but they have similar fears behind them. For instance, a hero might fear going mad, but it might happen because of enchantment or Bizarre Alien Biology rather than regular reasons.
06:18:49 AM Sep 8th 2013
Why are you asking this on the Adult Fear board?

Why do you think Adult Fear doesn't incorporate fantasy excuses into the trope? This trope is, "a reasonable adult sees their child about to die, and is terrified.". The child might be killed by an alien symbiont, a magic spell, or a truck. The reason for the threat is irrelevant. "My child will die" is a mundane threat; a threat that happens daily in the real world.

Actually, the trope incorporates more than that, but for a simple example, it should suffice. This trope is not, "my loved ones are in danger", but "this fear is a learned behavior, and follows reasonable justifications that most people would share.".
04:52:10 PM Jul 2nd 2013
edited by
Deleted this badly written example.

  • In the Walking Dead-based survival audio show We're Alive, most characters didn't start dying until the end of Season 1. And the first survivor to become a ZOMBIE is a 16 year old boy named Tommy.
    • And let us not begin to talk about Samantha and Hope. After the sentient douche villain The Pinstriped Zombie led an attack on their stronghold, Samantha was forced to leave without her daughter. And then Hope, in an escape attempt, went blind due to the glass.
    • And the backstory of Scratch. Oh god, the backstory of Scratch.

  • Reasons:

07:08:42 PM Jul 6th 2013

  • In Soul Eater, Medusa's method of resurrection. After Stein kills her, she morphs her soul into the form of a snake, and then proceeds to possess five-year-old Rachel Boyd with it. There's a full chapter about her and her family, and how poor Rachel's parents, who are completely powerless to stop her, react to the way she vanishes. Specially her mother, who's Forced to Watch as Medusa talks to her through Rachel and then disappears.
    • In ch110 Spirit 'sees' Asura's attempt to kill Maka. And, seemingly, can do nothing about it.

These are not realistic fears. Horror Tropes are not always Adult Fear.
08:25:12 PM Jul 6th 2013
edited by
I think the first Soul Eater example is fine, since it's still an Adult Fear (your child being abducted by a stranger with nothing you can do about it), albeit with a supernatural twist. Second one is just as Adult Fear as any time an ally is killed in front of you.
09:28:32 AM Jul 7th 2013
HOWEVER, this is a line from the article: To an adult (especially one with family), kids being preyed upon by pedophiles/sociopaths is scarier than kids being preyed upon by a Xenomorph.

I don't think the Soul Eater example counts, and honestly, all examples from sci-fi or fairy-tales are dubious at best.
09:52:19 AM Jul 7th 2013
There's an adult fear at the foundation of the Soul Eater example, but from what I know of the series, it's heavily frosted over with supernatural elements, to the point that it crosses over into straight Horror. I'd personally say no, it's not an example, at least from what's written here.
10:03:08 AM Jul 7th 2013
edited by
In the Soul Eater anime at least, the girl is playing on her own and when her parents come back, she's gone. From their POV, that's just a straight up child abduction, supernatural elements be damned. Yes, she's taken by a body-snatching snake women but as far as they're concerned, she's just there one minute and gone the next. Even though the series is heavily supernatural, to the parents (the ones feeling the Adult Fear) it really isn't.

I suppose the question Xfllo raises is this: Is the trope aimed at the viewer's POV or the characters? Because yes, to the viewer it's not an adult fear. But to the in-universe characters, it would be.
10:11:02 AM Jul 7th 2013
You could say that, yes. But then again, if we take characters' perspective, it would include so many more instances. All the Primal Fear or Body Horror tropes. Once you take the character's perspective, the fear is very real. Imagine you yourself are mutated. Imagine your family is harmed and killed by animals. Every scary situation could fall here.
10:24:44 AM Jul 7th 2013
But if we make it from the audience POV, wouldn't that technically turn this into an audience reaction trope?

I don't much care either way, I might add. Just sayin'.
11:36:52 AM Jul 7th 2013
edited by
I can see it as Audience Reaction.

Uncanny Valley is a similar trope: something uunsettling thrown into the mundane, which makes it scary. It's YMMV already, even though lots of the examples are described as such in-universe (it seemed to me especially while I was reading UncannyValley.Literature).
03:52:52 PM May 23rd 2013
"...past the age where you're capable of believing there's something carnivorous and hairy under the bed."

I'll have you know that under beds is amongst my cat's favourite places.
04:47:43 AM May 24th 2013
10:29:11 AM Apr 16th 2013
This trope has suffered decay. This is supposed to be about REALISTIC fears. Things that could happen to a kid in real life, but we have examples of kids being brainwashed by magic (From Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children), people being trapped in a desert with no memories of what happened to them (From Bleach Ulquiorra), kids being possessed by a snake... thing (Soul Eater), being mindcontrolled to think everyone you know and love is being killed (Bleach again), being so powerful that being near people KILLS them (Bleach AGAIN Coyote Starrk), you are turned into pigs and you daughter is put into slavery where she starts to lose her memory (Spirited Away).

Yeah, I doubt that's even half of the decay.
04:47:26 AM May 24th 2013
If you think the misuse is that bad, you can take it to TRS.
01:29:44 PM Mar 31st 2013
Harry Potter. Here and everywhere. I don't know WHO is responsible for the childish, slavishly admiring contributions (although my suspicion falls on the goddess herself), in any case they scream to be edited. Please do. The books are utter trite, and if Twilight is treated here with just contempt, so should be HP.

Seriously, when I read "this was entirely intentional on Rowling's part", I nearly wet my pants laughing. It's been several years since the last book, and I think some serious de-programing is in order.
03:33:53 AM Jan 30th 2013
The news plays off of this, but it's not fictional, so I didn't add it.
10:35:03 AM Jun 17th 2011
Should there be a Troper Tales for it?
10:54:41 PM Apr 27th 2011
Someone please explain the page quote to an idiot like me? It's driving me mad.
11:42:08 AM Apr 29th 2011
Thank you! I came in here to post the same thing.

Maybe it means the little girl's never been to a supermarket before? Ever?
12:11:37 AM May 1st 2011
But there's lots of stuff in a supermarket. Never having noticed a grapefruit before (far from a popular food in Australia, where this troper lives, although it could be different in other places) is not that surprising. I don't know what a grapefruit looks like either, and I certainly haven't been abused.
10:26:59 AM May 1st 2011
But grapefruit are the only thing protecting us from the Devouring Eye! If you've never seen grapefruit that means IT'S ALREADY TAKEN YOUR SOUL!
05:32:08 PM May 24th 2011
I, uh ... is that the answer to the question or just some joke for the heck of it?
07:33:35 PM Mar 16th 2011
That episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark where the little mute girl is sent to grandmothers while her mother goes to take care of her father; the girl gets chased home and locked in her room by bullies. Her mother doesn't return for weeks.
10:49:14 PM Feb 12th 2011
edited by Deboss
I'm about to do a mass cleansing of this page. It's far below the standard and is half Thread Mode or Word Cruft.

I'm going to go ahead and dump any bad examples here for clean up.

One Piece:Every single flashback of the Straw Hats Pirates from when they were children can be horrifying on certain levels when you read them from an adult's standpoint.
lacks any sort of detail, classifying as X, Just...X. Brook example moved up since it managed to elaborate. Series name displayed instead of potholed.

  • D.Gray-Man: What the Black Order officials did to Lenalee and Kanda in their backstories.
Lack of elaboration beyond naming characters.

Doesn't appear to be an example as it's a deconstruction of "fifteen year old kid hops in a mecha" rather than something done just to scare people. The second paragraph is mostly bitching.

  • Weirdly, Death Note. So most of us will never have to worry about evil supergeniuses or notebooks that kill people — but look at the way Light exploits the public mood. All along, he plays on a reactionary tendency in public opinion — people don't like crime, people don't like criminals, and so if someone's killing off the worst ones, who's really going to disapprove? And then he pushes the envelope, making his brand of vigilante justice more and more mainstream. Five years on, the whole world is rapidly moving towards a police state under one man's control, and it's driven from the beginning by corrupting people's need for safety and justice. That's scary, because that mechanism plays out in less extreme form in the news every day.
    • There's also Sayu being kidnapped right off the street on her way home, missing for several days, and when she's finally returned home safe, she's in a catatonic state—reminding us that even if a kidnapped child is found and retrieved, they aren't necessarily unscathed from the experience. The contrast between her original, bubbly personality to a staring, silent, doll-like state is jarring, to say the very least.
    • Much of the Adult Fear in the series is expressed through Soichiro Yagami, who's not funny or conflicted enough to take the audience out of how horrible the world of Death Note really is. The latter half of the series as plenty of scenes with him being disturbed and angry at the way Kira is taking over, but powerless to stop it, even as his own family inevitably winds up in the crossfire. The scene of him looking at the mentally-scarred Sayu in her wheelchair, while thinking to himself "What am I going to do?" drips of this. It's even worse for him in the live-action films where he has to live with the knowledge that the son he held in his arms as he died was the mass murderer blamed for his death, was unrepentant until the last (and earlier on had tried to kill him), keeping it all a secret from his family.
    • The revelation that People who die go to Mu (nothingness) and that after death, nothing can be done to bring someone back to life. Arguably, this fear is why religion is so important to some, who want to believe that cessation of life isn't the end.
    • There's also Sachiko, who loses her husband and son in the space of three months, and is left to care for the empty shell that's all that's left of her daughter alone.
Huge natter pile.

Doesn't appear to be an example.

  • The kids from Runaways fight vampires, aliens, and evil robots, but the only reason they have to deal with these things in the first place is that their own parents turn out to be evil. For most of them, this comes as a shock; for Chase, not so much.
    • Even worse is watching what happens after. Social services aren't able to provide the support they need, so they turn to each other and start living in underground hideaways and have to put themselves in danger to keep LA safe from the power vacuum created by their parents. This causes them to be hurt and, in several cases, killed. When Gert's parents find out that their daughter dies in the future, they are horrified and their first thought (besides killing off the other kids for failing to protect her) is to return and make sure that she's alright.
Basic premise of the series, doesn't seem to be there to invoke fear. This is an objective trope, not something that scared the reader.

  • 52: which revolves around several climactic battles of good versus evil to determine the fate of Earth and the universe as a whole, Alan Scott has to deal with the fact that his daughter died during the just-passed Infinite Crisis, and no parent should ever have to outlive his child.
Seems like standard comic book drama from Stuffed in the Fridge, rather than something meant to horrify/frighten.

  • One Lord of the Rings fanfic dealt with a young Aragorn (who was adopted and raised by Elrond) being kidnapped from Elrond's very bedroom. It didn't help when we see from the perspective of the kidnapper, how he actually lived and worked in Rivendell for some time, standing over Aragorn as he slept, thinking about killing the boy right then and there. It really didn't help when we find out that he buried Aragorn alive. Thank goodness Legolas saved him in time.
No work name, no entry.

  • Supernatural: Sam Winchester was taken by a man who preys upon children in the school's playground when John happened to be preoccupied, despite attentively watching Sam. The detail that the assailant had already kidnapped several other children by luring them away from their watchful parents was disturbing.
again, no name, no entry. As this was the only other entry for Fan Fic, the entire section was cut.

  • Wouldn't you do anything so that your little boy has a chance to be born into this world so you can love him, take care of him and watch him grow up? Let that sink in before the next time you laugh at Anakin Skywalker.
This is not Alternative Character Interpretations. This is about things put into a movie to scare the viewer.

  • Coraline - see its entry in the literature section.
"Go look at this other section" without a link is not an example entry.

  • In Lilo & Stitch, the fact that the orphaned Nani and Lilo have to depend entirely on each other is tough enough... but when Lilo gets taken away by Cobra Bubbles because Nani has been deemed an insufficient guardian is just heartwrenching.
This isn't "fear" this is Tear Jerker.

  • Just about any movie featuring the Holocaust does this, but a particularly chilling example comes from The Pianist: there's a scene where a Nazi soldier orders a group of men to lie face down on the ground. He then goes down the line and shoots them all, one by one. The idea of being one of the men near the far end of the line, knowing what's happening and waiting to die is nail-biting for anybody...but the fact that this actually happened, to real people, is even more terrifying.
    • What makes this scene absolutely grating is when the soldier runs out of bullets when he reaches the last guy. Cue the guy on the ground looking around with a mixture of confusion and hope while the soldier takes a moment to casually reload his pistol before shooting him in the head as well.
This isn't an example, this is a statement about a setting.

  • Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea: where Sousuke finds his mother's car after the storm and she isn't in it. Any child knows how scary it must be to discover that their parents went missing and any parent knows how scary it must be to not be there for their child.
    • Despite being played for laughs, there's also Fujimoto's fears for Ponyo and attempts to get her back. His daughter has basically run away from home and her safety and wellbeing is being left in the hands of strangers who he believes are horrible creatures.
This is ADULT Fear, not Childrens Fear.

  • Crazy Heart When Bad loses Buddy in the mall, it's hard to decide what is scarier for him: what might have happened to the boy, or what his mother will do to him when she finds out.
Lack of elaboration.

Lack of elaboration.

  • An American Crime is basically the worst fear of every parent who left their child in the care of a friend's family.
Lack of elaboration.
08:49:10 PM Mar 30th 2011
In response to the Evangelion entry: I wrote the first paragraph, had nothing to do with the second. I think it explores themes that are very disturbing to any adult viewer; as listed above, alienation, severe depression, the inability to communicate with others, hurting, being hurt by, losing or being unable to help the people we care about - these are all very much Adult Fears. I would like to put the first paragraph back into the article.
09:05:12 AM Oct 13th 2012
Why take out the Lilo and Stitch example? It is a pretty good example of an Adult Fear and gives details.
08:21:15 AM Jan 29th 2011
I'm not sure A Clockwork Orange belongs here - the main character in A Clockwork Orange isn't a political dissident, he's a murdering sociopathic rapist who happens to like classical music. The real adult fear in that people like him exist, not that the government is trying to silence people like him.
12:25:06 PM Mar 10th 2010
Nearly all of these adult fears involve things happening to kids. Should this be renamed Parental Fear? Not all adults are parents, but almost all have concerns for kids, so perhaps not.

However, there are other forms of adult fears, as the article itself said. I think the article either needs to show a more diverse collection of adult fears, or be renamed.
03:06:59 PM Aug 17th 2010
Well, what else do youhave in mind?
06:46:07 PM Oct 19th 2012
Other adult fears include losing your job, having bills pile up while you attempt (but fail) to secure new employment, and becoming homeless in the process; seeing your whole life waste away as you're tasked to take care of an ageing parent because either your siblings are unwilling to help you, or you're the only child and you don't know anyone who'd be willing to help; being caught up in a terrible criminal or terrorist situation with no way of being able to elicit help; being diagnosed with a terminal illness and dying when you're still supposed to be in the prime of your life; dying alone in a nursing home facility with no one there to surround you as you breathe your last dying breaths; being DUMPED in a nursing home facility when you've still got a working brain and having no one come by to visit; working hard for everything you have and seeing it all go up in flames as your home catches fire and you're unable even to retrieve old family photographs; or looking all your life for that special someone who you can share your life with but never finding that person, eventually dying alone, unloved, and with no family to call your own. If there are works of fiction that match up to any of the above, that would be wonderful.

BTW, I didn't throw in "being a victim of a vicious crime" because I would think that'd constitute a UNIVERSAL fear, not just one held by adults.
02:36:24 AM Mar 9th 2013
I sort of agree with Bonsai, but not exactly. I think the specifically parent/caretaker-related fears might be better served being spun off into a separate trope. There are lots of perfectly cromulent adult fears besides "my offspring will die/be taken away" but they're kind of lost in the fray here.
07:26:59 PM Oct 25th 2013
I actually held most of these fears since I was 4... Adult Fear how?
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