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Playing With / Happiness in Slavery

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Basic Trope: A slave character content with that status.

  • Straight: Bob is a dutiful slave to Carl the Planter and seems okay with it.
  • Exaggerated: Bob thanks Heavens for being Made a Slave. He feels so good, he can't possibly think of a life as a free man.
  • Downplayed:
    • Bob is very old, and has no hopes of escaping successfully or having the skills to live as a fugitive. However, he helps fellow slave Alice when he finds about her plan to stage a slave uprising in Carl's plantation.
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    • Bob is not miserable being a slave. But he certainly yearns for his freedom.
    • Carl doens't own Bob, but is a Bad Boss and gives Bob little freedom. Bob is okay with this.
  • Justified:
    • Bob is under Mind Control by Carl.
    • Bob is a robot programmed to be happy.
    • Bob is part of a Hive Mind. Being a slave is the only possible status in his species.
    • Bob would be murdered or worse if he fought his slave status. Carl, while technically his owner, is actually an abolitionist and they are allies, waiting for the opportunity to free Bob.
    • Bob owes his life to Carl. Bob's culture dictates that he must repay it by being Carl's slave, and Bob is happy to go with it.
    • Bob is Carl's willing BDSM slave.
    • Bob is a high status slave, akin to the secretaries and tutors of Ancient Grome, and actually lives better than most people. He might even have sold himself into slavery.
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    • Bob has developed Stockholm Syndrome.
    • Bob almost ended up worked to death on another plantation. His new owner Carl made him a butler.
    • Bob follows a religion that emphasizes contentment. He would be happy as a slave or as an emperor.
    • Bob is technically Carl's slave, but Carl is a doofus and Bob manipulates him at will. Bob is the ruler of the plantation in practice.
    • Carl is a childhood playmate of Bob, treats him well, and intends to manumit him when he inherits him. Bob's official owner on the other hand, is always far away and never bothers Bob.
    • In Bob and Alice's culture, spouses are by law, mutually each other's slaves.
    • Bob's culture is an Empire ruled by a God-Emperor. What's the big deal about being a slave when everyone is?
    • Unlike typical slave masters, Carl treats Bob nicely, therefore Bob develops a positive feeling and devotion to Carl.
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    • Bob was Conditioned to Accept Horror.
    • Bob was born into slavery and can't imagine any other life.
  • Inverted: Carl is happy to be a slaver.
  • Subverted:
    • Bob pretends to be happy being a slave, but he isn't.
    • Bob will be flogged if he shows unhappiness.
    • "Slave" is a meaningless status in Bob's world. He is not forced to serve anyone.
    • Bob is actually a free man, posing as a slave.
    • Bob is being brainwashed by Carl to be happy.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Bob actually pretended to be secretly unhappy in order to fish Alice as the mastermind of the slave rebellion and out her to Carl.
    • Bob feigns unhappiness because he likes to be flogged.
    • ...until he is captured by an alien race where slavery is very much real, and Bob is happy to serve them.
    • After being discovered, Bob's punishment is to be enslaved for real, and he is happy because he has come to enjoy being a slave.
  • Parodied:
    • Always cheerful Bob introduces himself as "Bob, the Happy Slave". Other characters wonder if he is insane.
    • Bob wears a broad grin as he is beat to within an inch of his life, and enthusiastically thanks Carl afterwards.
  • Zig Zagged: Outing Alice to Carl was all part of the plan. When Carl and his men come to take her, the other slaves ambush them.
  • Averted:
    • Every slave in Carl's plantation is unhappy.
    • None of the workers on Carl's plantation are slaves.
  • Enforced:
    • The show was produced in the pre-civil rights South and Executive Meddling demanded the inclusion of a happy slave character. The result was Bob.
    • The show is based on Alice's true story. Bob the Happy Slave is one of the enemies she had to overcome.
    • Bob is the protagonist of the novel Bob, the Happy Slave, an early 19th-century pro-slavery propaganda piece.
  • Lampshaded: "Bob is a surprisingly happy slave man, if you catch my drift."
  • Invoked:
    • Carl sets up a situation where he gets to save Bob's life, thus making Bob more willing to repay him by serving him.
    • Bob has himself sold into slavery to Carl, because that's what he wants out of life.
    • Bob formerly belonged to a cruel master and was treated horribly. Carl bought Bob and treated him decently, knowing that it would make him less likely to rebel or escape.
  • Exploited:
    • Alice knows that Bob is happy to serve Carl the Planter and deliberately keeps him in the dark while she plots a slave rebellion. Bob acting as usual helps make Carl dismish the clues that something is brewing in the plantation.
    • Whenever abolitionists show up to protest against Carl, he trots out Bob to show how happy his slaves (supposedly) are.
  • Defied:
    • Alice discusses their status with Bob and tries to convince him that he can't be really happy as a slave.
    • Bob wonders why he feels happy when he shouldn't.
    • Bob refuses to be happy until he has his freedom, because he doesn't want Stockholm Syndrome setting in.
  • Discussed: "What makes him so happy? Is it the lashes, or the whole thing about being treated like property?"
  • Conversed: "There is the character in that book, Bob, the Happy Slave."
  • Plotted A Good Waste:
    • The writers dropped subtle hints that Bob was secretly unhappy or had been brainwashed into his present situation, but didn't state it outright. The audience catches on this and feels sorry for Bob and even more horrified by slavery.
    • Bob, the Happy Slave deliberately pandered to a pro-slavery crowd, and Bob got the expected acclaim from this.
  • Deconstructed: Carl takes Bob's willing service for granted and starts bossing him around, thus ruining their relationship and making the service less willing.
  • Reconstructed: Carl takes care to appreciate Bob's willing service.
  • Played For Laughs: Bob is disaster prone and so willing to serve Carl that he won't listen even when he yells Stop Helping Me!. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Played For Drama: Bob was brutally broken until he accepted his status as a slave and considered himself unable to be anything else.

Now go back to Happiness in Slavery, you know you like it!

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