Then you need to check out tv tropes, or "Television Tropes & Idioms". This is a wiki chock full of pieces of "literature", mostly from movies and television, that are well-used enough to be recognized in a number of works. For example, the article on "The Hero" describes the usual characteristics of this type of character in countless movies, tv shows, novels, etc.
"This guy is a hero, pure and simple. He's almost always right, is a friend to all his bandmates, and morally superior. He has a well-rounded skill set. He's not as strong as The Big Guy, or as smart as The Smart Guy, or as sensitive and socially adept as The Chick, but he's close."Or the lesser known 'literary' tool of having two inseparable "twins" that are as different as night and day. There are so many links between each article that I found myself clicking from concept to concept, nodding my head at some, laughing at many, crying at a few. There's even a "random item" button! (Always a good choice in my books.)
Check it out yourself at tvtropes.org!