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Thinks Like A Romance Novel / Literature

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Characters who expect reality to work like it does in romance novels in Literature.


  • Anne of Green Gables: Anne, especially as a teenager. She has an overactive imagination as it is, but add in a hopeless romantic streak and one too many romance novels, and you get some of the funniest moments in the series. As she gets older, however, her idealized notions of who she wants as a partner and what being in love is supposed to feel like start working against her. She is oblivious not only to Gilbert's feelings for her but of her own growing feelings for him. She suffers a painful reality check near the end of Anne of the Island when she realizes she isn't in love with the man who fits her ideals and is in love with the man she rejected for not fitting her ideals—the same man she might lose forever.
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  • Artemis Fowl: Artemis's alter ego, Orion seems to believe he's the hero of a Romance Novel.
  • Caroline B Cooney has a books series that begins with Both Sides Of Time. It is about a girl from our century named Annie Lockwood who dreams of finding romance in a past century when women wore gowns and danced with handsome gentlemen at balls. She gets her wish and transports back to the Victorian era, though there is drama to be had.
  • Discworld:
    • In the novel Mort by Terry Pratchett, there is Ysabel, who goes into the room with the books of life writing themselves to read all the real-life stories of tragic love that there are, and these stories form the basis of her understanding of romance.
    • While a lot of Pratchett's younger female characters have this problem, it's subverted in Unseen Academicals: Glenda secretly reads pulp romance novels as her only known form of recreation, but she's not convinced and ultimately doesn't let them mislead her in her own life or her advice to others. In fact, it's the opposite; she eventually decides she's being too practical and hard-headed, especially in her advice to Juliet. She's still not convinced, but she's willing to meet romance tropes halfway.
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    • Subverted in Wintersmith: The Nac Mac Feegle provide Tiffany with a romance novel to help her with the wintersmith... and she thinks all the characters should just be more sensible.
    • The Gordon family in Snuff who are a parody of the Bennetts, except Jane, who is an homage to Austen herself. Their understanding of how the world works is upended by Sam Vimes, leading to the other daughters getting jobs instead of hanging around waiting for a man who'll accept their meagre dowries, and Jane deciding to write crime thrillers instead.
  • Jane Austen's Emma is perhaps literature's best example, though her Romance Novel thoughts typically center around the people she's playing matchmaker for. Considering that the novel was a satire of thinking like a Romance Novel, it only makes sense.
  • Tomoya of How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend is easily moved to tears by romance stories, but Oblivious to Love in real life. After a "fateful encounter" with a girl in his class, he is convinced that she would make an ideal love interest and ropes her into joining a team to create a Visual Novel with her as the heroine. He soon becomes frustrated that Megumi is a subdued and boring girl compared to the fictional characters he's used to, or even to the other girls on the development team, and the story goes through multiple revisions as he struggles to express why despite being boring, he still considers her his "ideal heroine". Naturally, Tomoya is the last person to figure out that it's because he's genuinely in love with her.
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  • From Inkheart, Farrid, who's literally a fictional character brought to life in-universe, thinks this way about Meggie, even to the point of after their first kiss proclaiming they will get married. It doesn't work out. Really, Meggie?
  • One father in Judge Dee blames his daughter's reading of great love stories for her behavior, refusing to take a husband who isn't "just right."
  • Michael from the Knight and Rogue Series manages to do this while also being able to use normal logic (or as much of that as he usually could.) He thinks that his love for Rosamund will overcome the barriers between them, but when she falls for another traveler he decides to help her, figuring that when she sees what it's like outside her pampered home life she'll give up on him.
  • Madame Bovary's title character is another classic example. She loved a sentimental novel even before going to a convent in her early teens, and while at the convent, romance novels were passed around by the girls, and she believes love can only exist in the grandiose, sentimental way. She ruins her marriage (and life) for this.
  • In My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, Sophia's fondest desire is to live out a romance like the ones she reads about in books. This is especially the case with Catarina; in a false world created to grant her heart's desire, she pins Catarina to the wall and confesses her love. At a slumber party, when asked what she would want to do with a potential lover, she lists everything she's ever read in books (including things that are clearly impossible, such as saving the world from an evil mage).
  • The Count in Pan Tadeusz wishes his "enemy" (it's largely in his head) had a beautiful daughter or wife for the Count to be Star-Crossed Lovers with. He's an artist. It's a thing.
  • In the book version of The Princess Diaries, Mia has tendencies toward this (and later writes romance novels herself) but a lot of it comes from being friends with Tina Hakim Baba, who is explicitly stated to think this way throughout the series.
    Tina: I don’t know. But I do know that Michael loves you, and that’s all that matters!!!!!!!
    Mia: (narrating) Everything is so simple in Tinaland. I so wish I lived there instead of here.
  • Deconstructed in A Song of Ice and Fire when Sheltered Aristocrat Sansa Stark is betrothed to Prince Joffrey. She expects everything to play out like a courtly romance but then suffers a horrible Trauma Conga Line partly because of her idealism. She grows out of it.
    Petyr Baelish: Life is not a song, sweetling. Someday you may learn that, to your sorrow.
  • One R.L. Stine novel involves a heroine with perhaps a tenuous grasp on reality, as she typically has fantasies about being more assertive and attractive than she is, and stealing her love interest away from his Rich Bitch girlfriend.
  • In Twilight, Bella always compares her situation to romance novels or theater, varying from book to book (Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights).
  • Ulysses does this in the infamous "Nausicaa" chapter. The first half is narrated by a simple young woman named Gertie MacDowell as she spends a carefree day at the beach with her girlfriends and contemplates a mysterious stranger gazing at her from the far end of the beach; her narration is written in a sappy, florid style that parodies romance novels of the 1920s. Then in the second half, it's revealed that the mysterious stranger is actually the protagonist Leopold Bloom, and the writing style completely changes as it switches back to the perspective of a world-weary adult man. Subverted, though, in that it's left ambiguous whether the first part was actually from her perspective, or just Leopold trying to imagine the thoughts of a young woman.note 


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