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Playing With / Cynicism Catalyst

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Basic Trope: A traumatic event that makes a character more cynical than before.

  • Straight: Bob became a cynic after his sister Alice was killed in a car accident.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed: Bob became somewhat less trusting after his entire family was brutally murdered on his birthday.
  • Justified:
    • The event with his sister left Bob traumatized; his new personality is a coping mechanism.
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    • Bob developed PTSD or other emotional problems due to the terrible experience.
    • Bob believes that the accident was his fault, regardless of whether it really was.
  • Inverted: Alice's fate makes Bob realize how precious life is. He becomes much more optimistic as a result.
  • Subverted: Alice is killed and Bob looks like he's about to have a Freak Out...but this turns out to be his Establishing Character Moment as The Pollyanna.
  • Double Subverted: Bob ends up being blamed for everything by his parents and this turns out to be his actual Cynicism Catalyst.
  • Parodied: Alice suffers some minor nuisance (like a graze). Bob is still traumatized.
  • Zig Zagged: How much Alice's fate affected Bob varies Depending on the Writer.
  • Averted: No one's personality changes as a result of physical or emotional trauma.
  • Enforced: ???
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  • Lampshaded: "Bob's harsh, I wonder what made him that way..." "Probably a dead sister; Abusive Parents; stolen lunch money; something like that."
  • Invoked: Bob's Evil Mentor Claire arranges for Alice to have a tragic accident to toughen Bob up.
  • Exploited: Claire guesses that Bob's cynicism is down to some tragic event, looks into his past and finds out about Alice. She uses this knowledge to manipulate him.
  • Defied: Bob vows not to let Alice's accident get to him.
  • Discussed: "How's Bob doing?" "I'm worried about how this might change him..."
  • Conversed: "Oh look, a cynical brooding character. I bet he'll have an episode devoted to whatever upset him so much".
  • Implied: Bob is seen brooding over...something. How much it has to do with his attitude isn't explored.
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob's cynical personality is the result of him selfishly pushing other people away to avoid being hurt in the same way again.
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    • Bob's cynical personality only shows that he is not strong-willed enough to deal with the problems of the world.
  • Reconstructed: Bob has made (or makes) peace with his past, but the event still marks the point where his younger, more naive, self "grew up".
  • Plotted A Good Waste: Bob is given a tragic backstory to avoid letting his cynical behavior make him less sympathetic.
  • Played For Laughs: Bob's guilt over the incident is shown as disproportionate and it being brought up brings up many Not So Stoic moments.
  • Played For Drama: Bob is a tortured, sad, pathetic soul who hides behind bitterness. Said bitterness makes people who're unaware of his backstory distrust him and leads to many tragic misunderstandings.

Back to Cynicism Catalyst...and let's hope you recover from reading this page.

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