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Thread: "Unworthy" Trope

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  1. #1
    Writer, Wife, Cartoon eablevins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Frozen North of Minnesota

    "Unworthy" Trope

    Okay, requesting advice time. I'm writing a story and sharing it as I go. Two of my readers pointed out that the trope of “I’m not worthy of you” was triggered in the last chapter, and they’re not fans of that trope and neither am I. Like, I've read books that ended on that trope and I felt that it kind of emasculated the man and was a cheap way to get the man and woman on the same page. One reader said it "rings hollow," and the other made an eloquent argument for why:

    ...his internal monologue on not being good enough / not being what she deserved struck me as, well, wrong, because I’ve never viewed love as a matter of deserve/worth. Trying out of a desire to reach an unattainable standard of “good enough” always struck me as a dead end, as opposed to trying out of a belief one is worthy and loved, even if they are imperfect. This is probably me rambling against the Romantic Trope grain, because I know I’m Not Worthy of Her is a very popular trope for a very good reason.
    I wasn't thinking too much about that trope other than that's how my male protagonist felt in the moment, and I don't want to go into a deep philosophical dive to work through it (the whole story is a deep philosophical dive and I have 2 chapters left).

    I'm considering whether I need any philosophical dive at all or if it will work if I show him in a different place in the epilogue (which will be set a few years later). And I'm considering how detailed I need to be to do that, or if simply showing him as having higher self-esteem and being in a happier mindset will translate to a healthier mindset.

    So I guess the question is -- have you seen this trope resolved in other stories? How did they do it? What do you feel is the most effective component?
    Last edited by eablevins; 11-13-2018 at 06:35 PM. Reason: blockquote

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