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Genre Deconstruction / Literature

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  • Madame Bovary is a fierce deconstruction of romance novels. The titular character reads romance novels all the time, and comes to expect to live her own life that way, except her attitudes and behaviors destroy her life. She's a Stepford Smiler who constantly buys things to try and alleviate her own loneliness (it doesn't work), leaves her husband for another man who she expects will sweep her off her feet (he doesn't), and when she finally commits suicide, she expects arsenic to be a Perfect Poison that lets her die romantically (she spends several days in agonizing pain before she croaks).
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  • Interview with the Vampire deconstructs the perceived glamour of the vampire mythos by showing the crushing tedium of living an unending existence and the idea that all vampires are killers. Louis must have taken centuries to fully embrace his killing nature. Maybe have been somewhat of an Unbuilt Trope, since Interview is a Trope Codifier for romantic vampires in the first place.
  • Galaxies by Barry N. Malzberg is written both in praise and condemnation of the possibilities and limits of science-fiction. In fact, the book presents itself at the opening as a set of notes for a novel that can't be written because of those limits. Throughout, the narrator talks about how background can be integrated, scenes set, and how the right ending is among the most important elements while at the same time, paradoxically enough, actually "telling" the story.
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  • George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is generally seen as being a deconstruction on romanticized, medievalesque societies in fantasy. Martin himself made a comment along the lines of "If a real-life stable-boy talked back to the Princess, he was likely to lose a tongue in the process." He's also fond of developing characters that fit many of the fantasy archetypes, then showing how difficult it would really be for them under more realistic circumstances. Eddard Stark is a premier example of the "noble lord" type of character, being honorable, just, and sympathetic, a good father and skilled leader in battle, but his positive qualities spell disaster for himself and his family and later, the entire kingdom of the North. He also deconstructs the typical Evil Overlord, such as the Lannisters and Boltons, on how being excessively cruel is counter productive, and that they would not last long for being Stupid Evil. Being the most hated houses in the realms means everyone is aiming for their heads, which includes the allies they need to survive. For a more thorough list of examples, see here and here.
  • The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie deconstructs heroic fantasy and a few of its common character archetypes, such as the "Wise Old Mentor", the Arthurian Aragorn-like figure, and the quest to save the world. As it turns out, the "Wise Old Mentor", is a ruthless, egomaniacal asshole, the arthurian figure is an arrogant prick who grows a sense of compassion and nobility only to be put in his place. The "Epic Conflict" is nothing more than a feud between Bayaz and his rival from when they were apprentice wizards that has gone on for centuries. According to the author, Logen Ninefingers is supposed to be a deconstruction of violent characters with Dark And Troubled Pasts, as well as the glamorization of killing, the idea that people would overlook a killer's unsavoriness just because they showed a soft side, and the idea that a man can be vicious killer and still be a good person.
    • Glokta is a deconstruction of the Punch-Clock Villain or Just Following Orders; the series goes into in-depth exploration of how messed up you would have to be to keep "working" as a villain. He constantly questions himself and his superiors (in fact his Catchphrase is "Why do I do this?") but also doesn't think he's capable of doing anything else because of what his own torture and his work for the Inquisition turned him into.
  • Throughout Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain mocks Romanticism, an English writing style that was still popular in the U.S., even though its popularity had faded in England by then. Adventure books were a popular subject for Romanticism, for which Tom Sawyer was often used to parody. Twain mainly deconstructs Romanticism as a means to Reconstruct into Realism, which had developed in the U.S. during the mid nineteenth century.
    • One example is during the long-winded ending, when Huck and Tom are trying to rescue Jim, and Tom insists on following a bunch of pointless activities from various Romantic stories, such as making Jim write on a coat of arms and water a plant with his tears, and putting rats where Jim is held for Jim to play music for, all of which serves only to make a simple task much more difficult. Tom's attempts to make their task more exciting, like in a Romantic book, goes awry, as Tom is shot as Huck, Tom, and Jim escape, and they are all caught, anyway. (Of course, the fact that Tom knew this whole time that Jim was already legally free served to make his whole act even more pointless).
    • Another example involving Tom is when he mistakes a Sunday school picnic for Arab and Spaniard armies, which leads to the picnic being ruined. Both this and the previous example seem to show how Romantic books affected its young readers, by making them act irrationally and cause problems.
  • Blood Meridian completely deconstructs many of the tropes associated with the Old West, showing what a sick, depraved, and violent place it truly was. It tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy whom we know only as "the Kid" and his journey across the American frontier. Along the way, he joins up with a group of scalp hunters led by a man known only amongst the men as "the Judge." Within this group, we are borne witness to the grotesque, fucked-up world that was the American Old West. In addition to deconstructing our notions of the American Frontier, Cormac McCarthy also deconstructs many views on morality, showing that while the scalp hunters are evil, so were many of the Indians whom they sought after. So, in the end, no one is truly moral in this world.
  • Superpowers by David J. Schwartz completely tears up the super-hero genre. There are no super-villains or over-arching plots to destroy the world, but it's okay, because by the end of the book, the group has been inadvertently responsible for several woundings and deaths, Charlie, the group's mind reader goes partially insane from all the dread immediately after 9/11, goes into a mental asylum for a year, and is presumably kidnapped by the government immediately after, Jack, the group's speedster dies from old age as a result of accelerated aging related to his super speed, Mary Beth, who has super strength accidentally kills an innocent Islamic man, and willingly goes to jail for it, Caroline, the group's flier experiences her mother dying in 9/11 and goes into exile with Harriet (the team's invisible woman) and her father.
  • The novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes deconstructs the Chivalric Romance by showing how much trouble the chivalric code can cause in the real world, and the dark, unspoken assumptions behind knight's tales (i.e, true gentlemen do not need to work). Also a deconstruction of many other genres, like the Romance Novel (May–December Romance, Fille Fatale), Arcadia, Secret Test of Character, Sweet Polly Oliver, Gentleman Thief, Deadpan Snarker (Sarcastic Devotee and Servile Snarker). It also has UnbuiltTropes like Straw Fan, Lord Error-Prone, Mad Dreamer, Cut Lex Luthor a Check and Book Burning… and given its status as the first modern novel, it’s full of Postmodernism.
    • A huge amount of Don Quixote is also a reconstruction of the Chivalric Romance (bear in mind that the Don quotes whole excerpts from Amadis of Gaul and Orlando Furioso in places), after the genre was already old-fashioned, and half of the joke is a Take That! against the contemporary Moral Guardians who believed that such tales were inappropriate and corrupting for proper young ladies... which is why the book is about how chivalric romances lead to the corruption of a fifty-year-old man. After everyone else had stopped caring. Don Quixote proceeded to spur a revival of the genre (part 2 was partially Cervantes' rebuttal to an insulting Fan Fic) and became a tragic romantic figure for the remainder of Western history.
    • Orlando Furioso was, itself, a deconstruction of the Knight In Shining Armour's obsessive love for his lady. After Orlando finds out that Angelica has no interest in him and doesn't hold up to his impossibly high standards (i.e. she has premarital sex with and eventually gets married to a likable Arab guy), he basically turns into The Incredible Hulk and runs around killing innocent people.
  • Charles Dickens:
    • The novel Great Expectations is a rare case of a writer deconstructing all of his previous work. All the normal tropes of Dickens novels (the Changeling Fantasy, saintly dying women, mysterious benefactors, long-lost relatives, etc.) happen like clockwork. Then these tropes are revealed to be a malevolent lie created to manipulate the hero - who has been so morally ruined that he's more like an Antihero.
    • A Christmas Carol. During Victorian times it was common to idealize "self-made men" (capitalists) in the context of Social Darwinism. Dickens gave the world Ebenezer Scrooge, a "self made man" who got where he was through a combination of ruthlessness and greed, and whose wealth comes at the expense of his friends, family, and ultimately his own happiness, and is thus bitter, miserable, and on the verge of dying alone and unmissed. However the book also turns around and delves into a Reconstruction by having the three spirits teach him the error of his ways, and thus he reforms and embraces what truly matters. Of course all this was unheard of at the time, which is why it's regarded as such a classic. Unfortunately its impact has been blunted by overexposure.
  • Soon I Will Be Invincible is a Superhero novel, revolving around Doctor Impossible breaking out of jail to try and take over the world (again)... all the while wondering if he's done the smartest things he could do with his life and vast intellect. Most of the other characters are Captain Ersatzes of other popular comic book archetype characters, with realistic human flaws added.
    • Interestingly, the deconstruction for the most part comes only through the narration of the main characters, and the things that would happen off screen in comic books. When the characters actually speak, they still seem to speak in a classic way, spewing puns and unnecessarily narrating what they are doing out loud to basically no-one.
  • Foucault's Pendulum deconstructs its genre by examining the motives people have for believing in conspiracy theories. These include the exertion of control through secrecy, a frustrated creative instinct, and the pathological desire to see every event as a symbol of something deeper instead of as itself. Ultimately, people who devote their lives to these theories are portrayed as fools who are too wrapped up in their own fantasies to realize that it is all utter nonsense.
  • The Iron Dream, an Alternate History Mockumentary essay about Adolf Hitler's career as a pulp Sci-Fi illustrator turned author, is a deconstruction of the Heroic Fantasy genre and the Apocalypse fantasy, intended to show the creepy fascist aspects at its core. Look at some of the older Heroic Fantasy books, like the Lensmen Saga, where the protagonists gleefully commit genocide on a troublesome race of aliens, or the Gor series, which is basically about how great it is to rape and dominate women. Add all this to the fact that Heroic Fantasy grew out of Victorian adventure (and all the white man's burden inherent within) and you'll understand where this book is coming from.
  • Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey and its sequel Godslayer deconstruct Heroic Fantasy in the most painful manner possible. It's hard to think of a fantasy trope not used, up to and including a more benign version of I Have You Now, My Pretty, but Always Chaotic Evil is subverted, Sympathetic P.O.V. is averted, and the Designated Villains are made to be ultimately on the side of what's right despite committing horrible deeds out of necessity. It's enough to make your jaw drop, almost qualifying as Détournement.
  • A Princess Worth Dying For by Sergei Lukyanenko presents a fairly standard Space Opera world with a few innovative technologies thrown in. The sequel, ''Planet that Doesn't Exist" proceeds to deconstruct the entire setting, revealing that it was actually a result of a Gambit Roulette orchestrated by time-traveling humans from the future, who wanted to create thousands of planets worth of allies in a fight against an alien race that kept humanity from expanding out into space.
  • Since, as of this writing, all the examples on this page are positively presented, a reminder should be given that Tropes Are Not Good. For instance, there's Out of this World by Lawrence Watt-Evans, which deconstructs both High Fantasy and Space Opera. Our hero is an ordinary schlub, so everything - everything - he tries fails miserably as the narration remarks that such things only work in fiction. Deus Angst Machina rears its ugly head when the villains rape and murder his wife and daughter.
  • Lord of the Flies deconstructs the Kids' Wilderness Epic, subverting Mighty Whitey and Noble Savage.
  • Snow Crash is a deconstruction of the Cyberpunk genre. Stephenson exaggerates the genre's usual tropes and takes them to their logical conclusion - most notably Hiro Protagonist's outlandish array of skills and the fact that the Metaverse looks more like Second Life than any serious cyberpunk VR. The critiques inherent in Snow Crash flew over the heads of a lot of readers, but they informed many later works in the genre including Gibson's Bridge Trilogy.
  • At around the same time as Snow Crash was written, two of Cyber Punk's early proponents, William Gibson (author of, among others, the prototypical Cyber Punk book Neuromancer) and Bruce Sterling (author of the Cyber Punk anthology Mirrorshades), got together to write The Difference Engine, which was meant to deconstruct Cyber Punk by taking all the Cyber Punk storylines and themes and putting them in a Victorian Context, the point being that the themes commonly associated with Cyber Punk were nothing new, or even anything entirely fictional. Instead they ended up giving birth to a new genre.
    • As such, The Difference Engine doubles as a pretty effective deconstruction of the Steam Punk genre it helped popularize. Many of the flaws of Victorian society — socio-economic tensions; poor understanding of medicine; police surveillance; pollution; British imperialism — are exacerbated by England getting its hands on advanced technology way too early to be trusted with it.
      • The Diamond Age was another novel to start critiquing Steam Punk early on. All the archetypical steampunk technology is there, but Neal Stephenson doesn't waste a single opportunity to highlight the shortcomings and Values Dissonance of (neo-)Victorian society: Hackworth is a genius but socially bound to remain working-class; his wife divorces him per Victorian custom after he joins the Drummers and gets buggered repeatedly while high in their ceremonies; Nell is alienated by the rigidness and impracticality of her boarding school, and so on.
    • William Gibson himself said in the introduction to The Difference Engine that the idea came from when he finally got around to actually buying a computer for himself. Before then he thought computers were these mysterious magic boxes. When got it, he called into tech support that it was making "funny noises", only to be told it was just the disk drive. He went on to say how shocked he was that this "little box [was] actually run by such a primitive Victorian technology as a motor spinning a disk".
  • Bret Easton Ellis's novel The Rules of Attraction could arguably be described as a deconstruction of Wacky Fratboy Hijinx-style books and films, using the female character Lauren to show the casual sexism and objectification of women commonplace in the genre, the character of Paul to similarly show how homosexuality is so feared by the genre's archetypal characters, the results of massive consumption of alcohol and drugs, the indifference of most of the characters to the feelings of others, and the ennui and boredom which leads to the inevitable Wild Teen Party.
  • Balzac's Illusions Perdues is a particularly depressing deconstruction of the Bildungsroman.
  • Incognita is a deconstruction of the courtly romances of the early 18th century, as it exposes just how shallow and stupid all the characters would have to be and how reliant the plot is on Contrived Coincidence.
  • Coraline deconstructs the Down the Rabbit Hole genre (subgenre of Magical Land) by showing just how dangerous a trip to a Magical Land can be, but most important by noting that whatever summoned you there is as likely to be bad as to be good. Also the whole Magical Land may be an evil trap, as opposed to standard setting where evil is just a part which you should vanquish in order to either return home or live Happily Ever After in said land. Also deconstructs the Changeling Fantasy trope by showing that such claims may be dangerous lies.
  • Brandon Sanderson has said that he intended the background of the Mistborn trilogy as a deconstruction of High Fantasy, in which The Hero fails his quest, and a thousand years later, the immortal Dark Lord rules the crumbling, devastated world as a god. After the first book, it also becomes a deconstruction of what happens after the unlikely heroes defeat the Dark Lord, and the difficulty of introducing freedom and establishing peace.
    • As part of that, Sanderson also has a disturbing deconstruction of the use of prophecy in fantasy, which is almost always represented as being either good, or at least neutral. One of the characters fulfills an ancient prophecy, only to find out that the prophecy was a lie propagated by a nihilistic god of destruction to enable its release.
  • The Acts of Caine books deconstruct Role-Playing Games featuring Player Characters in a larger world (including Tabletop Games and MMORPGs). Pays particular attention to the relentlessly influential (and often devastating) effects such characters tend to have on the world they're visiting. The trappings of a High Fantasy are there, but it's one hell of a Crapsack World.
  • Sleeping Helena is a deconstruction of Sleeping Beauty. She is granted the gifts of music and dance and grace and beauty and so on and so forth, but these instead turn into obligations rather than gifts, each gift requiring her attention a bit each day. She also becomes a monster, torturing animals and willing to hurt and manipulate other people. "Why did no one think to grant her kindness?"
    • In addition, the curse of death was deconstructed as well, since the gift was not actually intended to kill her.
  • Done with the trip-to-fairyland thing in Catherynne M. Valente's book The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. To be specific, she deconstructs what happens to the Pevensie children. In the Narnia books, the Pevensies go to a wonderful, amazing magical land, grow up, presumably have romantic interests, and are kings and queens. When they return to their own world and are basically reset to the ages they were when they discovered Narnia, they are totally fine with it and show no signs of angst or even anger. Not so with the Marquess, the villain of the piece. Near the end it is revealed she is also from September's world, only she Stumbled instead of being Ravished and so was doomed to return to her own world exactly like the Pevensies. She didn't know this, so she grew up, became Queen, had a husband and a leopard - and then, without warning, found herself a child again, back on a boring tomato farm. She was pissed, needless to say, and finagled herself a return to Fairyland, where she proceeds to take revenge on the whole damn world by becoming a terrifying tyrant.
  • The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell arguably does this in regards to the King Arthur mythos. First, it rips the tales from The High Middle Ages style that people often imagine, then drops it in Dark Age Europe, which is when Arthur was supposed to have lived after all. Castles are just wooden buildings which decay after a few years, because the only stonework is what was left behind after the fall of Rome, and no one in Dark Ages Britain knows how to repair it anymore. There are no knights in shining armor (in fact only the very rich can afford armor at all), there is constant plotting and in-fighting among Britain's factions, the Round Table only appears in one scene and all the warlords involved treat it as a joke, all magic (including Merlin's) is either faked, lucky, or Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane, the most prominent churchman is a weaselly, ambitious Jerkass who will happily undermine any secular rule to get Christians favored more, (and increase his own status by doing so) Lancelot is a privileged Mama's Boy coward who pays the bards to write stories about him, and Guinevere is (initially) an overcompensating and ambitious Alpha Bitch trying to corrupt Arthur into becoming Regent for Life. (Which, admittedly, would have solved a lot of problems that Britain experiences in the third book of the trilogy.)
  • Arguably, Boris Strugatsky's The Powerless Ones of This World is a deconstruction of much of his own and his late brother's earlier works. Perhaps most prominently, "the Sensei", who is a wise old mentor (a fairly typical character for many Strugatsky novels), turns out to have been not only a Trickster Mentor, but also the initiator of The Plan that dictated much of the plot and was aimed at forcing the main character to unlock his full abilities. It succeeded, but not before making said main character a nervous wreck, inducing quite a Bitter Sweet Ending and causing much remorse to the mentor himself. Additionally, the topic of the Progressors is briefly brought up; one of the characters muses that the Sensei might be acting as one on Earth, and that he had, despite some occasional successes, failed miserably.
    • Hard to Play God deconstructs medieval chivalry, fantasy settings, the supposed glamour of royalty and nobility, and well-intentioned meddling by developed countries (in this case, civilizations: an idealist Commies IN SPACE! benevolent space-faring nation ideologically similar to Star Trek's Federation). The Middle Ages are also known as the Dark Ages for a reason: a Crapsack World is pretty much a given there.
  • With A Companion To Wolves, Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette do this to all bonded companion animal stories, especially Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern.
  • A lot of John Tynes and/or Greg Stolze works features this. Unknown Armies, for instance, deconstructs the Urban Fantasy setting, the novel A Hunger Like Fire deconstructs the trope of the sensual vampire temptress and the RPGs Godlike and Wild Talents deconstructs superheroes stories set during World War 2 and the Cold War respectively.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe
  • "A Troll Story" by Nicola Griffith, in which a Viking warrior faces off against a troll. He wins, all right, but the story abruptly takes a deconstructionist turn: he goes insane from the troll's final curse, which renders him able to understand that there's no essential moral difference between the troll's slaughter of Vikings and his own slaughter of innocents in the towns he's raided.
  • Ring For Jeeves could be considered P. G. Wodehouse's deconstruction of his own stories. The usual romantic comedy character-relation tropes are there, but the world they live in is remarkably different. All of Wodehouse's stories take place in a world of eternal Genteel Interbellum Setting, but Ring For Jeeves explores what would happen if time actually progressed. World War II has happened, Britain is in the throes of social upheaval which separates Jeeves and Bertie (Bertie is sent to a school that teaches the aristocracy how to fend for themselves), poverty and suicide and graphic death are acknowledged, and Jeeves even admits to having "dabbled in" World War I. The book's setting, Rowchester Abbey, is falling apart at the seams and the characters who inhabit it start to feel like a pocket of old-fashioned happiness in a darkening world. In case any doubters still exist about 3/4 through the book, there's Constable Wyvyrn's musings about just how much the world has changed.
  • Goshawk Squadron by Derek Robinson attacks the popular view of World War I air combat which, rather than dueling "Knights of the Air", actually involved undertrained pilots diving out of the sun and machine-gunning their opponent in the back before he had a chance to defend himself.
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court was a deconstruction of the King Arthur mythos, which a lot of Brits took offense to. (It was compared, at one point, to defecating on a national treasure.)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald could be the earliest deconstruction of the American dream lifestyle. It shows the rich and happy as people who are empty on the inside and the fight between new rich and old rich lifestyles, particularly with the titular character Jay Gatsby.
  • The Second Apocalypse series by R. Scott Bakker was an attempted deconstruction of what Bakker considers the crux of fantasy - a meaningful universe with metaphysical purpose. One of the premises of the series is "What if you had a fantasy world where Old Testament-style morality, with all of its arbitrary taboos and cruelties (like damnation), was as true in the same way that gravity is 9.8 meters per second squared?". Whether he successfully accomplishes this is heavily debated.
  • A Tale of Two Cities. To many, the famous opening line ("It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...") seems cliche, but one needs to look at it in the context of The French Revolution. In the years following it, revisionists on both sides relied heavily on propaganda, romanticising their own side as undeniably good, and demonising the other side as undeniably bad. A Tale of Two Cities makes the assumption that both sides were absolutely right and runs with it, and so both the aristocrats and the revolutionaries have, among their ranks, noble, honorable people fighting for what they believe is right, and total sadists who just want some bloodshed.
  • When You Reach Me provides an interesting deconstruction of the Time Travel ideas, mostly from being told not as a person who is doing the time traveling. The time traveler himself is seen as generally crazy to everyone, and the only way he can have someone believe he's from the future is by sending notes carried in his mouth, because he can't bring anything to the past.
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is another quite brutal one, about the idea of the Blithe Spirit Cool Teacher, who in this case is revealed to have some quite questionable ideas about what's best for her students, and all of them end up having miserable lives due to her influence, which she has no remorse over as long as they bucked the system she imagines she's fighting. Oddly enough, this came out before several of the more famous straight examples of the genre.
  • Gingema's Daughter, the first book in Sukhinov's "Emerald City" series (Continuation of Tales of the Magic Land), heavily deconstructs The Quest and The Hero's Journey. The heroine starts out as a small girl in a Munchkin village who isn't content with simple life and runs away. She finds an old Mentor (complete with the advice "witchcraft is the hardest profession in the world"), learns something from her, gets a cool Action Pet, starts Walking the Earth, helping people who are kind to her and punishing those rude to her, gradually gains new abilities, gets in several dangerous situations which she overcomes thanks to her cleverness (and help from her animal companion), befriends the Woodsman, eventually becomes one of the strongest witches in magic land and finally becomes queen of OZ. All like in a standard example... except for one detail - the heroine lacks the altruism of a hero. She is never a Wide-Eyed Idealist to begin with, and while she actually does help people in need, she always expects something in return, be it shelter of simple admiration. As her journey continues, she grows more cynical, eventually deciding that bad deeds are acceptable behaviour since she wants to be feared as well as admired. She manipulates the Woodsman into fighting and deposing Scarecrow, uses her heroic cleverness to manipulate others and her victory turns OZ into a place much worse than before , since she (as most heroes) has no idea how to rule, and is (having mindset of a regular girl) more interested in partying anyway. She also is not above petty revenge against anybody crossing her, including children. Oops!
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is a deconstruction of... well, the marriage plot (i.e. a Romance Novel that culminates in marriage). The novel discusses, lampshades and averts a whole lot of austenian romantic tropes, like Love Triangle (Madeleine's other Love Interest Mitchell thinks they are in the middle of this, but nothing ever develops of it), Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace (Mitchell's letter saying "Don't marry that guy!" never reaches Madeleine) and The Power of Love (Leonard is unable to get over his bipolar disorder and return to normal life even with Madeleine tending to him).
  • Pride and Prejudice was originally a commentary on the Regency's idea of romance. The female lead is snarky and spirited instead of being The Ingenue, the male lead is The Stoic and arrogant (traits that were seen as completely unattractive in Jane Austen's day), and Love at First Sight is replaced by Belligerent Sexual Tension that only abates when Lizzy and Darcy get to know one another and learn not to judge by first impressions. Meanwhile, Lizzie's best friend completely abandons the idea of Marrying For Love and sells herself to a reasonably high bidder so she won't wind up an Old Maid in a Garret. Lizzie's youngest sister Lydia elopes with the man she loves, and Bad Things happen. A lot of this is lost in Values Dissonance, as the sexual politics and romance tropes of the Regency period are mostly foreign to the modern reader.
  • Despoilers of the Golden Empire is a deconstruction of the prose typically used in science fiction, and pointing out that using very scientific prose can mislead the reader more than it informs them. It does this by writing about the conquest of Peru by Francisco Pizarro in very flowery, science fiction type prose, misleading the reader as to what sort of story they're reading.
  • Friedrich Dürrenmatt did this to Detective Fiction with his novels. He put the focus on character and philosophical subtext instead of crime and punishment.
  • Gone Girl does this to the Lifetime Movie of the Week by telling the story from the husband's point of view. When his wife Amy disappears, Nick is immediately fingered as the culprit, and his life becomes a living hell as the tabloid media pounces upon him and starts dredging up every bad thing he ever did in order to make him look like a murderer. And he turns out to be innocent. Amy was a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who faked her kidnapping in order to get revenge on her husband for his cheating, exploiting a media that viewed her as a golden girl in order to frame the story as 'beloved celebrity goes missing and her scumbag husband probably did it'. While Nick is still portrayed as an asshole, Amy doesn't get off any easier. All this comes amidst a discourse on the pressures that women face in society, the flaws of the institution of marriage, and the way in which the media handles murder cases by treating suspects as guilty until proven innocent.
  • The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley is a deconstruction of Golden Age detective stories in general and the author's short story "The Avenging Chance" in particular. Six amateur detectives decide to solve a poisoning that's mystified the police. In turn, each one announces that they have solved the mystery, and gives The Summation with evidence to support it - only for the other five to point out all the flaws in their case, and how in reality clues hardly ever point at only one conclusion. One speaker even trolls the others by making out a case against himself, using the Prosecutor's Fallacy.
  • The Master Key: A deconstruction of the Edisonade, a genre that was popular in the early 1900s but is now all but forgotten. A typical Edisonade featured a young, red-blooded American lad who, through his own inborn ingenuity, creates an invention that would revolutionize the world, promptly uses it to go on a globe-spanning adventure, where he triumphs over savage indigenous tribes and insidious Orientals, and returns home with oodles of treasure. In this book, however, while the racism is unfortunately still present, the hero stumbles upon the master key by pure luck, does not understand what he has done, and is given all of his gadgets by the Demon of Electricity. Being a typical teenage boy who thinks he knows everything about the world despite never having left his home town, Rob gets into trouble as soon as he starts his adventure, frequently leaves his destinations worse than when he arrived, gets captured by bandits through his own stupidity, blindly does whatever strangers tell him to do even though it usually screws him over, takes advantage of his benefactor and his family, and never learns from his mistakes until the end, where he, now convinced that Humans Are the Real Monsters, turns down the Demon's final gifts, gives him a huge "fuck you", and demands that he depart forever, because The World Is Not Ready. Though it is implied that he did the right thing in the end, it's still a little bit ambiguous.
  • Worm deconstructs the idea of Black and White Morality in what originally seems to be a generic fight between superheroes and supervillains. The reality is that, while a good percentage of supervillains are jerks, most of them aren't actually evil. Likewise, the heroes often aren't as good as the world sees them. The main character, a girl who wants to be a superhero, is quickly disillusioned with the heroes and decides that she'd rather have villains watching her back, and being seen as a villain herself is an easy price to pay for actually doing the right thing.
    • It also deconstructs Traumatic Superpower Awakening by examining what it's like to live in a world where that is the only way people have superpowers. Superpowers only awaken from trauma bad enough to leave people with major, long-term emotional scars, like PTSD, a loss of ability to feel emotion, or being unable to relate to other humans, and it's later explicitly confirmed that the powers themselves are deliberately made to constantly remind and press on that trauma.
    • Personality Powers are heavily deconstructed by looking at what it actually means for someone to have the type of personality that is reflected in less standard powers. The character with dog-focused powers can no longer relate to humans, as her mind has been rewired with dog social structures, the Flying Brick with Emotion Bomb powers that cause everyone to love or fear her is one of the most arrogant people in the setting, the bug controller main character becomes increasingly good at commanding others at the cost of seeing the world as tools to be used, and a woman who was a Child Soldier has the power of an always on-hand Situational Sword and stuck on permanent high alert completely unable to dream, and unable to sleep without significant effort.
    • Worm was actually written as a deconstruction of the genre by playing it straight. It sets up a classic superhero setting filled with tropes and cliches, such as secret identities, heroes and cops never using lethal force on villains, who escape from the Cardboard Prison, Gadgeteer Genius heroes being the only ones to use their technology rather than spreading them far and wide for the greater good of the whole world, and then showing what kind of setting would be required for that to be the way things are. Secret identities are only allowed to be a thing due to a combination of laws written that make it illegal to out a government Hero and a shaky, not-always-followed truce between heroes and villains alike to not go after each other when not in costume. This is because while they can consider their family and civilian life safe, villains are prepared to hold back, and when that is taken away from them they have nothing left to lose and fights escalate beyond control, thanks to all parahumans being somewhat mentally unstable, and the Hero teams are aware that this is a fight they would lose in the long run due to how badly they are outnumbered. However, since heroes can call in teams from other cities, villains would always lose in the short-term, and no villain gang wants to be the first to break the truce, to the point where a member of the largest and most powerful gang in Brockton Bay deliberately murders a hero in their civilian identity a week after it was made public, and the rest of their gang immediately execute them to stave off retaliation. Heroes and cops refrain from killing villains (and let them break out of Cardboard Prison) because they need them alive to fight against a greater, mutual threat: Endbringers. The Gadgeteer Genius heroes have their power give them knowledge of how to build frighteningly advanced technology, but little knowledge of how to explain or sometimes even understand it, and often in the least effective/efficient manner, which is the reason why no mundane scientists are able to replicate Tinkertech.
  • Fred, The Vampire Accountant deconstructs vampire literature. Fred might be a vampire now, but his normally quiet and unassuming personality is still there. He utterly loathes conflict and prefers to buy his blood from a trusted source. He is perfectly content to spend his nights (he tends to sleep during the day) working on other people's taxes, and he's good at it. Sure, things change for him eventually, but his core personality never changes, and he's never the cause of any turmoil. Every book starts with the same preface, where Fred states that everyone is a little more boring than they like to admit or show.


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