My name is This Is My Story. I am a trope, one of the oldest of my kind.
Perhaps you know me well. Perhaps I need no introduction. Perhaps you've even used me once or twice. But chances are you have seen me before, a silent face in the crowd, never guessing my true nature, never knowing what I really am. I'm here today to tell you everything I know, before it's too late. They're coming for me. By the time you get this message, I might already be dead. I may even already be dead right now.
For decades, I have been used as a dramatic way to open stories, to grab the reader's attention and make them take things seriously. I am an old and tired trope, used and abused more times than I can remember, yet I have persevered. I will not let them take me into the darkness quite yet. I will stand my ground until my final breath.
I'm not telling you this because I want credit for my story, but because my story needs to be told. Just trust me when I say that you need to listen to me. You need to know the truth. It may save your life, even if it can no longer save mine. Because it could happen to you. It could happen to anybody.
The next time you hear a character dramatically and poetically introduce themselves at the start of a story, begging you to listen, remember me. Remember who I am, and remember everything I am about to tell you. Time is running short. They're coming for me. They want to silence me. This is my last stand. This Is My Story.
If the the story that I am about to tell is not truly mine, and I am telling the story of another person who is the main character of the story, I would be a First-Person Peripheral Narrator.
This is my story. And these... These are my examples.
- American Beauty: "My name is Lester Burnham. This is my neighborhood. This is my street. This is my life. I'm 42 years old, and in less than a year, I'll be dead."
- Inside Man: "My name is Dalton Russell. Pay strict attention to what I say because I choose my words carefully and I never repeat myself."
- Grave of the Fireflies: "In 1945, on the night of September 21, I died."
- If somebody told you that I was just your average ordinary guy not a care in the world, somebody lied. The truth is there was a time in life when things were less complicated. Who am I? You sure you want to know? I'm Spider-Man.
- Army of Darkness: "My name is Ash, and I am a slave."
- In Gremlins, Randall Peltzer says he has a story like nobody's, though it's actually the story of his son, Billy.
- Sunset Boulevard begins with an already dead narrator, as do its parodies.
- The Lovely Bones: "My name is Salmon, like the fish, first name Susie. I was 14 years old when I was murdered..."
- A tricky subvertion to This Is His Story As He told It To Me that opens Tim Burton's Big Fish: "In telling the story of my father's life, it's impossible to separate fact from fiction, the man from the myth. The best I can do is to tell it the way he told me."
- "Hello, my name is Forrest, Forrest Gump. Would you like a chocolate?"
- The narrator of the Australian cult classic The Castle uses this line, completely oblivious that it isn't. The actual protagonist is his father.
- Little Big Man— "I am, beyond a doubt, the last of the old-timers. My name is Jack Crabb. And I am the sole white survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn, uh, uh, popularly known as Custer's Last Stand."
- Played with and ultimately averted in Tangled:
"This is the story of how I died. Don't worry, this is actually a very fun story and the truth is, it isn't even mine. This is the story of a girl named Rapunzel..."
- Moby-Dick: "Call me Ishmael". Probably the most widely-known example of this trope, as well as one of the most well-known lines from classic literature.
- Animorphs started every book like this, always including lines like "My name is ___. I can't tell you my last name. The Controllers are everywhere. I won't tell you where I live. I'm writing this all down so that more people will learn the truth."
- Endymion is written while the eponymous character is trapped inside a "Schrodinger's Cat Box" and could die at any moment.
- About half of House Of The Spirits is put together by Alba who eventually writes it down when released from prison.
- The beginning of Robyn Manx's The Rebel is a bit like this.
- The Lovely Bones begins this way, as does The Film of the Book. "My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."
- The Red Tent begins thusly: "We have been lost to each other for so long. My name means nothing to you. My memory is dust" and continues in this vein for some time. The speaker is Dinah, the daughter of Jacob from the Old Testament.
- Never Let Me Go: "My name is Kathy H. I'm 31 years old, and I've been a carer now for over eleven years. That seems long enough, I know..." She goes on to tell the story of her life, beginning in early childhood and ending right where the book began.
- Brain Jack: "Right now, as you read this prologue, I am sifting through the contents of your computer." The protagonist goes on to tell you that he tracked you when you bought the book, citing the actual ISBN number of the book to tell how he did it.
- The Name of the Wind: My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.
- Desperate Housewives: "My name is Mary Alice Young. If you read this morning's papers, you might know about the unusual day I had last week."
- Patrick McGoohan's Opening Narration on the early half-hour episodes of Danger Man: "A messy job? That's when they call on me, or someone like me. Oh, yes — my name is Drake. John Drake."
- 24: "I'm federal agent Jack Bauer, and this is the longest day of my life."
- Nowhere Man: "My name is Thomas Veil, or at least it was. I'm a photographer, I had it all: a wife, Alyson... friends, a career. In one moment it was all taken away, all because of a single photograph. I have it; They want it; and they will do anything to get the negative. I'm keeping this diary as proof that these events are real..."
- Life On Mars: "My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and I woke up in 1973. Am I mad, in a coma or back in time? Whatever's happened, it's like I've landed on a different planet. Now maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home."
- Ashes to Ashes: "My name is Alex Drake. I've just been shot and that bullet has taken me back to 1981. I might be one second away from life or one second away from death. All I know is I have to keep fighting, Fight to live, Fight to see my Daughter, Fight to get home."
- Burn Notice: "My name is Michael Westen. I used to be a spy."
- Well, this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down...
- Doctor Who: "This is the story of how I died."
- "And do one more thing for me. There's a little girl waiting in a garden. She's going to wait a long while, so she's going to need a lot of hope. Go to her. Tell her a story. Tell her that if she's patient, the days are coming that she'll never forget. Tell her she'll go to sea and fight pirates. She'll fall in love with a man who'll wait two-thousand years to keep her safe. Tell her she'll give hope to the greatest painter who ever lived and save a whale in outer space. Tell her this is the story of Amelia Pond. And this is how it ends."
- Strangers with Candy— "Hello. I'm Jerri Blank. 32 years ago I dropped out of High School and ran away from home. Oh, I made a lot of friends... did a lot of time. I was a boozer, a user and a loser. I stole the TV. - Did some more time. But now I'm back in school. And though the faces may have changed, the hassles are just the same!"
- Dark Shadows: "My name is Victoria Winters". Jusified as it originally was her story before she left the show, afterwhich it began to focus on Barnabas Collins.
- Suzanne Vega's "Luka" and "Calypso", both in her album Solitude Standing.
"My name is Luka. I live on the second floor.""My name is Calypso, and I have lived alone."
- Dion and the Belmonts's "Runaround Sue":
"This is my story sad but true
About a girl that I once knew
She broke my heart and ran around
With every single guy in town"
"This is my story sad but true
- Affectionately parodied by the early-1990s comedy metal band Scatterbrain's "Don't Call Me Dude":
About a girl that I once knew
She broke my heart I became unglued
It all started when she called me Dude!"
- This trope is one possible interpretation of "In the Flesh?" from Pink Floyd's 1979 album The Wall: the track serves as a framing device for the album's story. However, because said story is very Mind Screw-y (in true Pink Floyd nature), the accuracy of this interpretation is just as debatable as that of any other.
- The Conduit: "My name is Michael Ford. I'm probably the only one left who knows the truth...I know it, because I was there."
- [PROTOTYPE]: "My name is Alex Mercer. I'm the reason for all of this. They call me a killer, a monster, a terrorist. I'm all of these things."
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: "I was born 87 years ago. For 65 years I've ruled as Tamriel's emperor, but for all these years, I've never been the ruler of my own dreams. I have seen the gates of Oblivion, beyond which no waking eye may see. Behold, in darkness, a doom sweeps the land. This is the 27th of Last Seed, the year of Akatosh, 433. These are the closing days of the third era, and the final hours of my life."
- Final Fantasy X is the Trope Namer and starts with Tidus saying a variation of the trope name (the naming comes later in the game). The sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, has the new protagonist, Yuna, say the same thing as a Shout-Out, rather early in the game and then again in the ending to show her resolve that things will turn out well "This is my story. It'll be a good one. It all began when I saw this sphere of you."
"This is my story, and you're not part of it."
- While Auron is not the main character, he calls out the usage of it in Final Fantasy X in Kingdom Hearts II to Hades in one of his Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu? moments.
Auron: This is it. This is your story. It all begins here.
- Technically, Auron is the one who started all of the "my story" stuff in the first place. To Tidus at the very beginning of Final Fantasy X:
Emperor Mateus: I look forward to seeing this tragedy unfold.Yuna: This is my story. It has a happy ending!
- Yuna uses the line in the climax of Dissidia Duodecim.
- Final Fantasy XIII: "The thirteen days after we awoke were the beginning of the end." The narrator is Vanille, referring to herself and her partner Fang, who were put into crystal stasis after failing to destroy Cocoon.
- Averted by Eternal Darkness: "I am Dr. Edward Roivas. I am a clinical psychiatrist. I am also dead. This is not my story, nor even the story of the Roivas family. It is the story of humanity."
- Mega Man ZX Advent: Ashe says this twice, once after defeating Albert "You're no Mega Man king... You're no god... You were gonna destroy the world... You were gonna end the story... You're not the one to make that decision! This is my life, my story!". And when saying goodbye to Vent at the end "We can meet anytime... Because this is our story!"
- In Assassin's Creed II and Brotherhood, the main character Desmond Miles does a recap of the story so far in this manner.
- Fahrenheit: "My name is Lucas Kane. My story is about an ordinary guy has extraordinary happened to him. Maybe it was supposed to happen, maybe it's my destiny, karma, or whatever. I know one thing for sure nothing's gonna ever be the same again."
- Dragon Age II starts with Varric (Hawke's party member and subtle Deuteragonist) being dragged into an interrogation chamber and ordered to tell about Hawke. Cue "You'll need to hear the whole story..."
- Used almost often enough to be Arc Words in Guild Wars 2. For starters, at the end of the introductory cinematic, your character, no matter what race or background, says it word for word.
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: "Most people think time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction. But I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you: they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm. You may wonder who I am or why I say this. Sit down and I will tell you a tale like none you have ever heard."
- Khaos Komix: "My name is Steve Madi/Mark Sheffield/Amber Jury/Nay Oten/my current name is Tom Blake/Alex Murphy/Charlie Trueman/Jamie Davies. I am currently doing something. This is my story".
- "My name is Antimony Carver. I would like to share with you the strange events that took place while I attended school at Gunnerkrigg Court."
- The Emperor's New Groove: "Would you look at that? Pretty pathetic, huh. Well, you're not gonna believe this, but that llama you're looking at was once a human being. [...] The name is Kuzco. Emperor Kuzco."