Main Spirited Young Lady Discussion

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02:36:52 PM Nov 19th 2017
I removed this example from the page.

  • Candy White Andree from Candy Candy is a Heartwarming Orphan, who is taken in by a rich family. But she also is plucky enough to do things like dressing up as a boy, so she won't have to miss a party just because she's grounded. And she also strives to become an independent woman and a competent nurse when she grows up.

None of these sentences relate to defining features of Spirited Young Lady. She seems to be a child and therefore too young to qualify. She also sounds too rebellious to count. Also, being a working woman was once used as a disqualifying feature — ladies do not work, or at least do not have to.
05:47:31 PM Nov 19th 2017
You are right. It isn't an example. She isn't lady like as it describes her. Being taken in by a rich family doesn't mean anything.
08:30:40 AM Nov 21st 2017
Well... It seems to me that Candy is an example of a tomboy, who grows up to be a Spirited Young Lady. And I had no idea that wanting or having a career would be a disqualifier. Actually, I would have thought quite the opposite. But I leave it to someone else to bring more context to this.
09:09:10 AM Nov 21st 2017
Kickisund, maybe if the context mentioned what she is like when she is an older teen or a young adult, it could be a different thing. Now the context tells readers only about a spirited, rebellious child.

I assume having a career is not an absolute disqualifier (there is, after all, Lady Sybille Crawley who is an earl's daughter and who becomes a nurse aftr WWI), but she has to be from at least the upper-middle class and disolay other defining traits of the trope.

You may want to look up a discussion on Henrietta Stackpole in Is this an example? thread in the Trope Talk forum.
06:20:50 PM Nov 21st 2017
Ladies are not expected to work. Having a career makes her sound like she's probably not lady-like enough. Spirit is more subtle than that.
11:19:31 PM Jan 10th 2017
Someone recently took the Titanic example and completely rewrote it to say that it's a subversion instead of a straight example. A subversion is playing bait and switch with a trope but there is no switch here. Rose is polite but she does have unlady-like interests and wit.
01:56:31 AM Jul 18th 2015
edited by XFllo
I have an issue with this example.

First, it violates our rule of listing "general" example by mentioning several roles of one actress as if they were interchangeable.

Second, my gut feeling doesn't like this write-up. I think this might be a different trope entirely, perhaps decending from Spirited Young Lady, but a witty, badass woman who kicks ass and cares about her appearance might be too far from this trope that is mainly connected to past eras.

What do you say?
12:22:11 AM Jul 19th 2015
I wouldn't say it counts.
03:13:30 PM Jul 19th 2015
It doesn't seem to count, and listing multiple works is a violation. She may be spirited, young, and a lady, but she's not this trope.
07:26:02 AM Jul 21st 2015
OK, thank you for your input. I'm gonna remove it.
08:12:20 AM Jul 21st 2015
edited by GnomeTitan
I agree - the characters referred to above are very far from the trope, too far to count as a reconstruction. Coffy and Foxy Brown, for example, start out as victims and go on sprees of revenge - that's quite far from a Spirited Young Lady.
09:02:24 PM Feb 4th 2015
You know what? A laconic of exactly what this is, is needed. Please help!
01:12:59 AM Feb 5th 2015
Why? Laconics usually suck, are inaccurate and lead to misuse — because some editors don't bother to read the trope description.
10:36:19 PM Dec 28th 2014
Does being rich necessarily make her a lady? This was recently re-added to the page.

  • Margaret Brent, who in early 17th C. Maryland was—between what her father left her and what she controlled as guardian for her nephew after the death of her sister and brother-in-law—the richest woman in the colony, and the second richest person after Lord Baltimore himself. She practiced law, served as a judge, and when Lord Baltimore had to go back to England on business he made her his deputy, which meant essentially she was Acting Governor of Maryland.
01:34:17 PM Jan 3rd 2015
Being rich — no, but practicing law at that time — I'd say it makes her determined and very spirited.

Though personally, I'm not that invested in RL examples. My vote is a weak yes that she can be included. If I'm not mistaken, she was once on the page, but was deleted because somebody thought she's not lady-like or feminine enough.
03:07:46 AM Oct 21st 2014
  • Joey Bettany of the Chalet School certainly fits all the criteria, at least until she settles down with Jack Maynard. Her spiritual successor, Mary-Lou Trelawney, also has some Spirited Young Lady tendencies - she's notorious for saying whatever pops into her head and getting away with it, and unlike many other girls, she's more interested in a career than marriage. She's mischievous, has her own clique and sometimes breaks the rules, but isn't malicious with it.

What do you say about this edit? It looks bad to me. The first is classic ZCE and the second looks a bit better. The second could perhaps fit, but the page says it's set in a boarding school — I would say that is a genre that doesn§t use this trope. Spoiled Sweet sounds more likely. Also, I don't understand how two girls in one book/series can be called one another's Spiritual Successor — on this wiki the meaning is something entirely different.

02:23:18 PM Oct 30th 2014
I agree about the zero context example. I'm not sure about why a boarding school couldn't use this trope. It's true that you most often see the spirited young lady in books that have a courtship plot, but I would think you could find her in a boarding school if she fell into the right age range.
07:27:29 PM Oct 20th 2014
Note the recent edit to the description that changed "Witty and confident" in her conversation to "spunky and confident in her conversation." I'm inclined to change this back. A Spirited Young Lady is certainly spunky, but that's not the same is as having wit, and I think wit is a common element of this trope. (At one point in the YKTTW process, someone had proposed "Young Lady of Wit and Spirit" as an alternative title, if that tells you anything.)

Anyway, just wanted to make sure there were no objections to restoring the description.
08:21:43 PM Oct 20th 2014
I agree with you there. No reason was left for the change and calling someone spunky in conversation doesn't really make sense.
02:58:43 AM Oct 21st 2014
I think "witty" is better, too. The word "spunky" could be added anywhere else into the description.
11:02:35 AM Oct 30th 2014
The same person changed the Proper Lady description from * Spirited Young Lady - a little more witty; a little less prim to * Spirited Young Lady - a little more spunky; a little less prim.
02:26:31 PM Oct 30th 2014
Spunky makes some sense in the change to the Proper Lady description. The SYL IS generally more spunky than the Proper Lady. But I don't like the removal of wittiness. What if we edited it to have both spunky and witty? "a little more spunky and witty; a little less prim." Or even "a little more spunk and wit; a little less primness." Is that overkill? The original phrase had brevity working for it.
05:29:47 PM Aug 8th 2013
edited by
Concrete examples of films and characters should be listed.

Edit to add: This is still a general example which are not allowed.

  • Though Grace Kelly often plays a Proper Lady, she often goes into "spirited" territory, particularly in To Catch A Thief and Rear Window.

Please describe her characters from those films in sufficient detail.

07:53:49 PM Apr 29th 2014
These two examples were deleted (not by me) with this edit reason: "Tomboy in olden times, not a lady. The description says, 'she is, after all, a lady.'"

  • Among the March sisters in Little Women, Jo is one who best fits this trope, given her outspoken, tomboy nature and her intellectual gifts. (Meg plays the Proper Lady in contrast and younger Beth is another little "angel of the house".)
  • Montgomery used the trope in her most famous work Anne of Green Gables, with Fiery Redhead Anne being the Spirited Young Lady in contrast to her best friend Proper Lady Diana. They also fit Tomboy and Girly Girl, by turn-of-the-century standards.

I'm not familiar with Anne, and I only read part of Little Women and saw some adaptations. I think Jo March is sufficiently lady-like to fit Spirited Young Lady. What do others think?
09:48:31 PM Apr 29th 2014
I deleted them because as far as I see there's nothing lady-like about them. Meg keeps trying to get Jo to act like a lady because Jo does not abide by the rules of her society. What would you say she does that's lady-like?

Anne doesn't bend the rules just a little. She breaks them when she yells at the neighbor and breaks her slate over Gilbert's head.
03:15:13 AM Apr 30th 2014
I'd say Anne does grow into one, though.
04:37:10 AM May 1st 2014
Just to note, Spirited Young Lady is listed on the Tomboy index.

Spirited Young Lady: A complex variant of this. Confident high class woman who can bend the rules without quite breaking them. Maintains a feminine mystique while often having some tomboyish characteristics and tastes.
10:39:46 AM May 1st 2014
I have no problem with a tomboy being on the page as long as the example says how she's a feminine lady as well.
07:13:17 AM May 3rd 2014
edited by Furienna
You should remember that a tomboy is more likely to become a Spirited Young Lady than a Proper Lady when she grows up. So I say Jo March and Anne Shirley should be put back.
01:06:39 PM May 6th 2014
edited by
Furienna just said the very thing I wanted to say. In period literature, whether we like it or not, a Tom Boy frequently matures into a Spirited Young Lady as she gradually conforms to society a bit more. (Actually, I was just wondering if I should edit the trope description to make that clear, because it's pretty important. Admittedly, this is already a long trope description, but there are reasons for that.)

I do think that adult Jo and adult Anne fit this trope. Hell, Jo was one of the original defining examples of the trope, first mentioned back when it was in YTTW. It kind of floors me that someone would think that she didn't fit!
04:53:15 PM May 6th 2014
It kind of floors me that people think they don't have to explain how it fits. The context in each example must include two things, not just how she's spirited but how she's lady like. In what way is she acting like a lady?
07:39:24 PM May 6th 2014
Didn't they become more lady-like as they matured though, just like both I and Tturtle have said? That would make them qualify, wouldn't it?
06:49:52 PM May 14th 2014
lexicon does have a point: the descriptions should try to indicate something about what makes the character a young lady as well as spirited. Many of the current descriptions focus on the "spirited" part and seem to take the "lady" for granted.

It's been a while since I've read Little Women or Anne of Green Gables, so I don't know how good a job I'd do of revising the descriptions. I can do it if no one else wants to, but is anyone else up for it?
05:09:10 PM May 29th 2014
edited by
I agree, lots of the examples need context. Anyone willing to comment-out Zero Context Examples? (And probably those half-context examples too?)
10:13:18 AM Jul 8th 2014
Added context to a few of the "half-context examples," but I think there's still more work to do.
01:02:56 PM Jul 8th 2014
I don't think Anne of Green Gables longing to be beautiful makes her ladylike since there's the whole breaking her slate over someone's head thing. Maybe once she does become beautiful when she's older.

The Duchess, Titanic and The Mask of Zorro are written to specifically say how she's spirited and ladylike.
01:53:07 PM Jul 10th 2014
The narrator refers to Anne as "feminine to the core" at one point early in the novel, after Anne tells someone she'd rather be pretty than smart. To me, that suggests that there's a "ladylike" aspect of Anne that is in tension with her temper. I don't think that one act of violence to a boy disqualifies her from being a Spirited Young Lady.
02:03:34 PM Jul 10th 2014
edited by
Anne also Thinks Like a Romance Novel, with a vivid and very romantically-inclined imagination which she indulges in the form of fairy tales, love stories, and overly dramatic and often tragic Mary Sue characters. The slate-breaking is a single incident when she's thirteen years old, and it's immediately followed by Anne taking deep offense at having her name misspelled "Ann" because she considers it plain and boring and not nearly as pretty and graceful as it looks with the "e" added.

While she's prone to "scrapes" when she's young, they mostly come in the form of things like getting stuck in a sinking rowboat while pretending to be Elaine the Lily Maid from Arthurian legend, turning her hair green while trying to dye it black, and hilarious accidents at tea parties - not what I consider tomboyish pastimes. She grows much less accident-prone as she gets older, while still retaining her lively spirit, sense of adventure and whimsy, and colorful, romantic imagination.
12:43:52 AM Jul 16th 2014
Does anyone here think Merida from Brave counts? She's currently listed on the character page.
01:34:00 AM Jul 16th 2014
With absolutely no context, I can't tell.
09:04:44 AM Jul 16th 2014
She sits pretty far on the "rough and rebellious" side of ladylike, but she still qualifies. Note that, while she is willful and headstrong, she also never technically breaks the rules of her kingdom. Also, over the course of the movie she is forced to mature and fix her own mistakes, thereby gaining the wisdom inherent in this trope.
10:34:33 PM Jul 17th 2014
I was about to say that I thought she was more of a Rebellious Princess, but it's true that she changes/matures more over the course of the movie than most Rebellious Princesses do.
11:50:23 AM Jul 18th 2014
I don't know the source material (Brave). It would be nice if the example said more about her feminine side and what makes her ladylike, but I suppose it's ok.

Though when I think about it, I would say that these two tropes (Spirited Young Lady and Rebellious Princess) probably don't overlap that much. I usually don't associate Spirited Young Ladies with royalty.

From the description:
  • Her social standing/family background will be middle class or higher. Most often, her family comes from the landed gentry, though she may be a clergyman's daughter.
  • Compare Rebellious Princess, who's of a higher social standing but may behave similarly.

I suspect the princess from Brave is shoe-horned.
12:04:50 PM Jul 18th 2014
There is nothing more to say about her feminine side. That's as lady-like as she gets, learning from her mistake at the very end. Her mistake was almost plunging the area into war because she was fighting tradition with her physical fighting.
10:09:06 PM Aug 24th 2014
edited by
X Fllo and I disagree about an example I wrote.

  • In Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor of The Royal Diaries series Princess Elizabeth shocked people around her with her swearing. She knew even at that point that she never wanted to get married. After she was caught swatting and swearing a hot and vile oath at her monkey by her father the king she dropped to her knees and requested forgiveness for her vile tongue from His Majesty. The King looked at her as if he thought her half witch.
06:59:41 AM Aug 25th 2014
Wouldn't it be better to start a new thread? This one is quite clustered already.

I think the example, as it's written now, looks more like a Proper Lady who lapsed for a moment and immediately regretted it. Not much spirit in her behaviour, not enough spunk, too subservient to stand up for herself. Just a Proper Lady who was being improper.

That said, I haven't read the source material. Lexicon mentioned the princess refused to get married, which would move her into the Spirited Young Lady territory a bit but I think would need a clear write-up.
01:25:54 AM Aug 26th 2014
I would split it off into its own discussion thread, too.
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