Mary Sue

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Mary Sue is a term that has recently been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. We will examine the definition of the term Mary Sue, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A Mary Sue is a fictional character who is so perfect as to be unrealistic. A Mary Sue is a character who has no weaknesses, who performs heroically and perfectly in every situation. This sort of character is usually considered to be a form of wish-fulfillment on the part of the author, and is a sign of an amateur writer. The term Mary Sue is derived from fan fiction of the 1970s, most specifically, a story called A Trekkie’s Tale. Paula Smith published this story featuring Lieutenant Mary Sue in a fanzine. The term Mary Sue may be used as a noun or an adjective. Note that both Mary and Sue are capitalized, as they are proper nouns. The plural form is Mary Sues, the male form is usually rendered as Gary Stu.


The concept and the name Mary Sue first came out of fandom and fan-fiction, but there are also plenty of Mary Sues to be found in original fiction and media. (The Global Times)

The character is Mary Sue because most fan-fiction is written by women and inserts female characters into stories. (Forbes Magazine)

Labeling her fledgling Force user a “Mary Sue,” Landis argued that all of Rey’s skills and achievements were, in essence, unearned. (Vanity Fair Magazine)

But more often, he roils his constituency with Kanye West-like pronouncements like his dismissal of the latest best picture Oscar front-runner, “The Revenant,” as “cinematic overkill” or his description of Rey in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” as a “Mary Sue” (genre slang for an idealized female character who triumphs only through authorial wish fulfillment). (The New York Times)

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