Visual Identity Politics and Remix Society



The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, defines ‘trope’ (noun) as a) a word or expression used in a figurative sense: FIGURE OF SPEECH; and b) a common or overused theme or device : CLICHÉ

On YourDictionary, staff writer Jennifer Betts describes the trope in the arts as: “a trope is simply a common convention in a particular medium. It refers to anything that gets used often enough to be recognized.” […] “That’s all a trope is: a commonplace, recognizable plot element, theme, or visual cue that conveys something in the arts. Every genre has distinct tropes of its own[.]” […] “Tropes are a vital part of the artistic and narrative process. They define how we communicate. That said, sometimes tropes outlive their usefulness.” (Betts)

Within tropes there are different definitions. For a list of Most Important Tropes and Their Definitions, go to:

Even though it is a vital part of the artistic proces, a trope is used often to stay the overuse and unoriginal character of the figure. Urban Dictionary writes that “[…] on the interwebs, [trope] really refers to an often overused plot device. It can also be described as another variation on the same theme.” (Urban Dictionary)

But, as Jennifer Betts writes: “To call something a trope is not to call it a cliché. A cliché is a trope that has been used poorly. Since it is seen as overused, clichés typically are associated with a negative connotation. For example, the trope of the villain grabbing the damsel in distress is considered cliché because it has been so overused.” […] “An archetype, on the other hand, is the original model that all other works are patterned off of. For example, good triumphs against evil is an archetype. While a trope is a recurring theme, the archetype was the original meaningful theme that gives birth to the trope. You might think of an archetype as the mother to the trope.” (Betts)

Examples of a trope is the use of Rosie the Riveter and The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai.



Betts, Jennifer B. “Examples of Tropes and Their Meaning.” YourDictionary,
LakotaGirl. “” Urban Dictionary, 2 Sept. 2010, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.
“Trope.” The Dictionary, 31 Jan. 2023,