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A common fictional concept is that the characters are unaware of the fact that they're in a story. This is the Fourth Wall: the glass on the front of the TV tube, the invisible wall at the front of the stage play set.
This separation between the characters and the audience helps to preserve Willing Suspension Of Disbelief: When the fictional characters act like their story is real life, it's easier for the audience to treat it the same way.
For more information, see TV Tropes' many other articles on the Fourth Wall that have more stuff than we can possibly hope to fit on this page.
Incidences where the fourth wall is broken
- SA-X directly addresses the readers after Samus makes a reference to a "surprise present" to cue Taniciusfox's heterophobia running gag. In an ironic twist, Taniciusfox is not present. Instead, SA-X is sitting alone near an empty box. She reacts negatively toward the readers' expectation of a lampoon.
- Thorvald's characters inside and outside of DRAW Your Own Story are acutely self-aware.
- Being Narrators, General Leang and General Kwai constantly break the 4th wall to narrate Stylesrj's comics
- The Hacker has also shown tendencies to break the 4th wall.
- Actually, often, the fourth wall might as well be non-existant.