Follow TV Tropes

Following

Stoic Woobie / Literature

Go To

  • Huckleberry Finn in both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The kid acts pretty chill about the fact that his mother is dead, his father is an abusive drunkard, and he constantly sleeps out on the streets, even when there are deranged criminals on the loose. That's because he's never known anything else.
  • An emotionless Nezumi in Broken Gate. It's clear her life has never really been happy and she only wanted to be free but that all changed when she and her older brother Ryuuji had a fight, over the latter's mistreatment. Besides roughly 100 years pragmatics and guarding the gate (reopening the which will kill her), it's no surprise she's emotionless, as, odds are, her having emotions would probably make her situation worse.
  • Advertisement:
  • Araris Valerian in Codex Alera. For someone made of solid badass and Implausible Fencing Powers, he takes a ton of abuse, and he has very sympathetic motivations. Yet he's so stoic even Isana, one of the most powerful empaths in the setting, usually can't tell what he's feeling.
  • In Dragon Bones, Oreg shows signs of PTSD; but never complains about his fate. After hundreds of years of being enslaved to the head of the Hurog family, passed on from father to son, he knows that complaining won't help. There is only a hint of bitterness in his voice when he explains to Ward what, exactly, he is. He is Castle Hurog, a wizard did it. There's also Garranon, who cannot let anyone know that he's suffering, so he's even more stoic than Oreg.
  • In The Dresden Files book Cold Days reveals Queen Mab is one. Unlike Titania, she is governed by logic and reason. She will take the most calculated and simple path to get to her goal. That includes having to order Harry Dresden to kill her traitorous daughter. The reason she couldn't do it herself is that underneath it all, she still loves her daughter.
  • Advertisement:
  • Harry Potter: Severus Snape. It's implied that his parents weren't exactly the best, and he lived a lonely childhood where he was in love with Lily Potter, had to see her eyes on the face of the man she chose over him, note  and died thinking well in advance that the only thing he'd been living for was going to be ultimately worthless.. Although he is stoic enough to defeat the Dark Lord's mind-reading, he is also guilty frequent emotional outbursts whenever James Potter's name comes up, also subverting this trope slightly.
  • Dee from The Hearts We Sold suffers emotional and financial abuse at the hands of her father, and has absolutely no self-esteem, but she doesn't complain. In fact, she doesn't show much emotion at all or discuss her home life or family with anyone. It's to the point where Gremma, her closest friend in the world, has no idea Dee's life is anything but happy and safe. Dee's stoicism comes from the fact that she had to learn how to hold back her emotions around her father, to avoid provoking him and making matters worse. Over the course of the story, Dee defrosts a bit, and begins expressing her feelings a lot more.
  • Jane Austen loves this trope:
      Advertisement:
    • Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility. She would like to complain, but she can't, as she has promised to her rival in love that she will tell no one of the engagement to Edward (whom Elinor herself loves). She takes this very seriously.
    • Fanny Price of Mansfield Park, probably the most extreme of the 3. Comes from a poor family, was adopted by her aunt and uncle, is treated like a lady's maid by her aunt, and fell in love with her cousin, who plans to marry the neighbour girl. Only when he tries to get her to marry the neighbour boy, who is a rake and plays with women's feelings, does she object.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • It isn't ever outright stated, but Elrond's life severely sucked. His parents and his wife leave for Valinor long before he does. His twin brother, his daughter, and possibly his twin sons choose to be counted among the Men rather than the Elves; when he sails West to reunite with his wife, he knows that Arwen at least is lost to him even beyond the end of the world.
    • Galadriel didn't have it easy either. She has been fighting the Long Defeat since before the first rising of the Sun, all of her family that came with her in Middle-Earth from Valinor is dead, she has been here to see all the failures of her people, and her daughter was tortured by orcs until she was so damaged she had to leave this earth to find peace. Despite all this, she is still very supportive of Aragorn in his quest to win Arwen's hand, even if her grand-daughter choosing a mortal life means she will lose her forever.
    • Faramir also qualifies. In the Houses of Healing, his mother is long dead, his brother is recently dead, his father is very recently dead (and they had a bitter parting, what with him admitting he'd rather his brother survived in his stead and all), his culture is slowly declining, they have almost no hope of success (unless a small hobbit in Mordor can throw the One Ring into Mount Doom - unlikely), he is wounded and reduced to inaction while all his remaining friends and family are away on a desperate suicide mission to try and hold Sauron's attention for a while, and he will be expected to lead the last futile defense of his people should this plan fail. He doesn't complain, and can still find it in himself to sympathize with Éowyn's predicament and smile at her.
  • Matt from The Power of Five, by the last book. Also Pedro, who never really complains despite being a starving street urchin who spends most of his pagetime being hunted, abused, betrayed, nearly killed on several occasions and repeatedly exhausting himself trying to use his power on grievously-injured people who often don't make it anyway.
  • Precious in Push. Even though she has two children by her father, one of which has Down's Syndrome, and she is repeatedly raped by her mother as well, she rarely shows much emotion. In fact, there is only one scene in the book when she truly breaks down and can't take it anymore.
  • Catelyn Stark of A Song of Ice and Fire. Readers see her inner turmoil, but her own son wonders if she even remembers her losses. Won't show her pain to Jaime Lannister or Jon Snow. Arguably puts on a mask as a response to expectations of stoicism from her environment, so she actually can admit when she needs a hug.
  • In the sixth Spell Singer novel, Cautious the Raccoon is this. Some time ago, his wife and infant children were killed in a freak storm, as such he never shows any emotion, completely calm in every situation, never seeming to care whatsoever about anything, though cares enough to help others and admitted he was excited to travel the world (even if he didn't show it). Though one scene in which Mudge the Otter told the "Funniest Joke Ever" caused even him to roll on the ground laughing He is so devoid of emotion that when the party found a magic mirror which shows what you look like if your image reflected your personality, while the other characters looked either beautiful or hideous. His reflection was unchanged, his response was pretty much "meh".
  • Fiona Patton's The Stone Prince has that title for precisely this reason. It's about a Crown Prince who has been raised by his mother to be utterly stoic, and his life has been framed by assassination attempts, a lot of scheming, and a literal rebellion. It is not until he inherits the throne that he starts to shake off the hard, unyielding mask forced on him by duty.
  • Roofshadow from Tailchaser's Song had a Friendless Background except for her brother Snufflenose. One day she came home to find her entire clan either dead or mysteriously disappeared, with the dead ones (including Snufflenose) torn to pieces. When Roofshadow went to the king and queen for help, they dismissed the incident as being caused by bears, leaving Roofshadow to sit around aimlessly until she meets Tailchaser. Later in the book, Roofshadow ends up captured alongside everyone else and almost ends up killed.
  • Wings of Fire: Glory grew up in confinement, knowing only seven other dragons for most of her life. She became the Un Favorite in the eyes of her guardians due to her race, and she was physically abused as a result. As a result, Glory developed serious boomerang bigotry. At one point, Kestrel even attempts to assassinate her over it. There's also the question of her (lack of) position in the prophecy. This is made even worse by the revelation that the prophecy was made up, and all her suffering was needless. Glory hates to show emotion, mostly because her emotions tend to literally spill all over her scales, and she usually claims that she couldn't care less.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report