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Meaningful Echo / Literature

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Meaningful Echoes in literature.

  • All American Pups series: In Camp Barkalot. After Fritz's Freak Out! at the costume party is mocked, Rosie tells him, "Fritz, you're famous." At the end of the book, when the other dogs are crowding around to see "the hero", she repeats the words, this time without sarcasm.
  • The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Tales: At the beginning of "Gustav the Goldfish", the boy says that the salesman, Mr. VanBuss, told him not to feed Gustav too much or something unspecified might happen. At the end of the story, the boy repeats the line and says that now he knows what would happen.
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  • In Bridge of Birds, Ten Ox and Fainting Maid's first stroll through the gardens leads to them arguing about whether a bird is a cuckoo or a magpie imitating the sound of a cuckoo. Later on, Master Li induces Fainting Maid to faint right into a deep well after exposing her as the murderess of her father's concubine and lover and then tells her father that as far as he's concerned, all he hears is the sound of a magpie imitating the sounds of a scream and a splash.
  • In Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel, "Go now, and Sin no more." First from Elijah Bailey to R. Daneel Olivaw, trying to make the robot understand the difference between enforcing the law and true justice: the second time, from Olivaw to the killer, showing that he has understood the lesson.
  • In Coraline, Ms Spink remarks that Coraline, who appeared to be talking nonsense (when she was trying to lure out the hand of the Other Mother), was an extraordinary girl. Then, later, when Coraline thanks Ms Spink and hugs her, she says the same line, only this time in amazement and gratitude, as no one had hugged her like that for a very long time.
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  • In John C. Wright's Count To A Trillion, the princess tells Menelaus that they should not quibble about the new century beginning with 2401, as it's too widely accepted by the commoners; later she observes that she's not a queen, and he tells that given that it's so widely accepted, she should not quibble.
  • Divergent:
    • In Divergent, Tobias is mindcontrolled into attacking Tris. She thinks that her "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight is failing, and prepares herself to die.
      Can I be forgiven for all I've done to get here?
      I don't know. I don't know.
    • Then in Allegiant, Tris prepares for her real Heroic Sacrifice.
      Can I be forgiven for all I've done to get here?
      I want to be.
      I can.
      I believe it.
  • In the beginning of The Divine Comedy, Dante's mentor, Virgil, asks our hero "What are you thinking?" when Dante starts to listen to an adulterer damned to the Circle of Lust. Two-thirds of the poem passes by and with Virgil having left the journey, the newly-introduced Beatrice demands Dante repent of his sins until our hero is reduced to tears, prompting her to ask "What are you thinking," making it clear she is his new, and much more direct, mentor.
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  • Dragons/The Last Dragon Chronicles: In actions, the ending of Snigger and the Nutbeast mimics those of the ending of the third book. The hero (Conker/David) is dead, but there's Someone to Remember Him By.
  • Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files: Death Masks:
    • Harry Dresden is trying to negotiate with Don Paolo Ortega, a duke from the Red Court. During the negotiations, Ortega has a drink of beer, prompting Harry to ask why he drinks beer when all he needs is blood. Ortega responds with a profound "Life is more than mere survival." Minutes later, Ortega offers to turn Harry into a Red Court vampire, citing the upside as Harry continuing to survive. Ortega starts ranting at Harry, screaming at Harry that he will die. "I thought that life is more than mere survival."
    • Later, Harry echoes himself for the Tear Jerker. This:
      Harry: Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face.
      [becomes this]
      Harry: Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't a wizard's ghost standing beside you with tears in his eyes.
  • In the Gentleman Bastard Sequence book The Lies of Locke Lamora, Locke defeats a rival gang as a child by trapping their leader in one place so that Jean, a significantly better fighter, can fight him without him running off, allowing himself to get beat up in the process. At the end, when he fights the Grey King, he repeats the same lines to him, this time using it to distract his opponent and winning the fight himself, though sustaining serious injuries as a result.
    "I don't have to beat you! I just have to keep you here... until Jean shows up."
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the former Trope Namer. The first time out, Dumbledore is escorting Harry somewhere, and expresses his confidence that Voldemort and his Mooks will not accost them because "You are with me." The second time, the same two have just gone out on a quest to weaken You-Know-Who, successfully, though at great cost to Dumbledore's health. Dumbledore expresses his confidence in Harry by turning the phrase around: "I am not worried, Harry. I am with you."
  • From Holes: Ms Katherine often asked Sam the onion man (who she liked, but couldn't act on her feelings due to Sam being black) to help her fix things in her schoolhouse, to which he would always cheerfully reply "I can fix that". Finally, when she couldn't think of any more excuses to continue seeing Sam, she told him that her heart is breaking. To which he says "I can fix that". And then, he kissed her.
  • In The Host, Ian and Wanderer are talking and Ian says "Strange world, isn't it?" to which Wanderer replies "The strangest." Then at the very end, Wanderer and Burns repeat the conversation, and this time Wanderer says "It's a strange world."
  • Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner: "For you, a thousand times over!" is heart-wrenching enough in its first appearance; its recall at the end demands several boxes of Kleenex.
  • Near the beginning of Knights of the Borrowed Dark, Grey says, "You know what they say: no plan of action survives first contact." He later repeats a variation of that line—"Well, you know what they say about plans."—after he shoots Vivian.
  • There is an example in the The Lord of the Rings books that Lampshades Not So Different and War Is Hell: Even when the heroes have We ARE Struggling Together and the villains have an Enemy Civil War, both sides knew that their enemies will destroy them ruthlessly:
    • In the second book, the ork Gorbag said to Shagrat:
      But don't forget: the enemies don't love us any more than they love Him, and if they get topsides on Him, we're done too.
    • In the third book, after Frodo and Sam saw a little orc kill another of their own:
      For a while the hobbits sat in silence. At length Sam stirred. 'Well I call that neat as neat,' he said. 'If this nice friendliness would spread about in Mordor, half our trouble would be over.'
      'Quietly, Sam,' Frodo whispered. 'There may be others about. We have evidently had a very narrow escape, and the hunt was hotter on our tracks than we guessed. But that is the spirit of Mordor, Sam; and it has spread to every corner of it. Orcs have always behaved like that, or so all tales say, when they are on their own. But you can't get much hope out of it. They hate us far more, altogether and all the time. If those two had seen us, they would have dropped all their quarrel until we were dead.'
  • In Love You Forever, the mother sings a song to her son while she rocks him:
    I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.
    • At the end of the story, when the mother is dying of old age, her son picks her up and sings:
      I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my mommy you'll be.
  • In Malevil, Manchild Momo had a Catchphrase, "Leave me alone for God's sake". At the end of the novel, his mother says the same thing before withdrawing from the group and suddenly dying.
  • In Midnight’s Children, the beginning of the Wham Episode chapter "Drainage and the Desert" echoes the rambling, evasive description of the time and date of Saleem's birth at the start of the story. This is likely because Saleem considers the events to be of equal importance: while his birth gave him his power, the telegram eventually took it away.
  • Mistborn: "I am the thing you cannot kill. I am hope." These are the last words of Kelsier to the Big Bad. At the end of the same book, the Big Bad's killer turns these words into a Pre-Mortem One-Liner.
  • In Pink And Say Say tells Pink that he once shook President Lincoln's hand. Then he shakes Pink's hand and says "Now you can say you touched the hand that shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln." At the end of the story, the author says "When my father finished this story, he put out his hand and said 'This is the hand, that has touched the hand, that has touched the hand, that shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln.'"
  • In Pinocchio’s Sister, Iris' Catchphrase is a flippant "Help, help." Martha copies it toward the end when she is pretending to be Iris.
  • In Elleston Trevor's Squadron Airborne, a book about a Spitfire squadron during the Battle of Britain, there is a particularly tear-jerking one. At the beginning, the commanding officer dresses down a cadet for almost crashing his fighter on his first flight by mistake, pointing out that the RAF cannot afford to lose planes in stupid accidents, as the Luftwaffe so outnumbers them that the Nazis can lose five planes for any English one that they shoot down and still win the day. Later in the book, the Squadron is scrambled just after news have been received that all contacts have been lost with the hometown of another pilot after a vicious German bombing raid. The pilot goes on a Roaring Rampageof Revenge shooting down German after German and he finally crashes his Spitfire into a bomber in a suicide attack. His last thought? The number of enemy planes he has just shot down: "SIX".
  • A Thread of Grace: Whenever Claudia would complain about how a group of people were bad, her mother always told her to "name two." If she couldn't name two, it was just an irrational prejudice. Later on, after Claudia's become orphaned and widowed, she joins the Italian Resistance who managed to capture a group of Nazis. The Nazis had pictures of Jews they hung in the woods for "crimes." Claudia orders the the Nazi Officer to "name two" crimes. The officer couldn't. The Resistance proceeds to beat the Nazis to death. Also doubles as a Hope Spot.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels:
    • In First & Only, Gaunt leads Tanith First — the "First and Only", since their planet was destroyed and no more regiments will be raised. In the Flashback where Gaunt learns how his father died, the woman telling him starts by saying that he is his father's "first and only" son.
    • Only in Death has a much darker version:
      Are we the last ones left alive? Are we? Someone, anyone, please? Are we? Is there anybody out there? Are we the last ones left alive?


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