Saintly Vegetarianism YKTTW Discussion

Saintly Vegetarianism
Not eating meat is used to show a character's inner goodness or purity.
Description Needs Help Better Name
(permanent link) added: 2011-10-28 00:51:09 sponsor: sareteni edited by: Lythande (last reply: 2015-09-15 15:01:46)

Add Tag:
This trope is when vegetarianismnote  or veganismnote  is used to indicate that the character following that diet is morally good, enlightened, innocent, or pure. Don't be surprised if the character in question also fills The Heart role.

This doesn't have to be an Author Tract, but can easily be seen as one.

If a whole culture is like this, it's a Veganopia. Related to Herbivores Are Friendly. Contrast Evil Vegetarian and Real Men Eat Meat (which assumes being a "real man" is a good thing).

Can be used to Pet the Dog for more Jerk Ass characters, showing a softer side to them.


Comic Books
  • Implicit in Superman: Birthright. Clark is vegetarian because he can see an animal's "life force". And, of course, he's the greatest superhero in the world.
  • Discussed in Watchmen. Dan discusses Ozymandias, marveling at how such a great man could do something so evil. He even remarks that he's a vegetarian. Rorshach then points out that Hitler was as well.
  • Karolina Dean, The Heart of the Runaways, is also a vegetarian.

  • Sheldon Mopes/Smoochy the Rhino (Edward Norton) in Death to Smoochy. ZCE
  • Lampshaded/subverted/played for laughs: Todd Ingram, in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Veganism gives Todd his Psychic Powers ... but doesn't keep him from being a Jerk Ass.
  • Played with in S.W.A.T.. Hondo, who has some Cowboy Cop tendencies, rejects a SWAT applicant with a perfect record partly because he doesn't seem to comprehend that he may have to compromise that perfect record to be a SWAT officer, and partly because the guy orders a soy dog.
    Hondo: (to Street) How can I trust a man won't eat a good old-fashioned American hot dog?

  • Judge Dee. The Taoist monks in The Haunted Monastery are enlightened vegetarians. Subverted in that both the innocent monks and the particularly depraved villain are vegetarians (he's even noted as enjoying the food).
  • Eragon: The elves are vegetarian, and of course they're superior - just ask them. One sign that Eragon is becoming more elvish is his conversion to vegetarianism.
  • Although it's not explicitly treated as "good", Richard's enforced vegetarianism in the Sword of Truth series is believed to be a magical balance for the killing he does.
  • The Cullens in Twilight call themselves vegetarians because they eat animals rather than people, and are generally considered to be morally superior.

Live-Action Television
  • NCIS: One episode had a vegan janitor as a suspect, Abby invoked this trope to argue he had to be innocent.
  • In Star Trek, Vulcans do not eat meat and are generally considered rather enlightened.

Newspaper Comics
  • Get Fuzzy: Despite eating meat products towards the beginning of the comic's run, Rob is a vegetarian on moral grounds. He has explained on more than one occasion that he doesn't eat meat because he finds the way animals are treated and butchered into food products to be too cruel.

Religion and Mythology
  • The Bible averts this it is said that vegetarianism is weak, as both plants and animals are meant to be eaten.
    As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.
    — Romans 14:1-3, ESV
    • The book of Daniel in The Bible plays it straight, portraying Daniel and his friends as vegetarians, refusing to have meat even though they were working for the Babylonian king and could have whatever food they wanted, and even proving to their overseer that they were healthier for it. (This may also have made it easier for them to keep to Kosher laws in this period of Jewish exile, which require special slaughtering and preparation of meat and for it not to be eaten in the same meal with dairy.) He became known as a prophet, dream interpreter, and the guy who miraculously survived being thrown into the lion's den.

Video Games
  • In the Fable series, eating vegetables will make your character more pure and eating meat will make them more corrupt.
  • Dungeons of Dredmor, in its typical tongue-in-cheek fashion, has the Killer Vegan skill tree: "The power of clean living, moral superiority, and gluten-magic." It includes an "Aura of Self-Righteousness" power that deals "righteous" damage to your enemies.

Web Comics
  • Celia from The Order of the Stick is a Neutral Good Actual Pacifist and vegetarian. Because she's an Outsider, she has a different perspective on death to most of the cast (instead of an afterlife, her soul will merge with the Elemental Plane of Air), causing her to respect both her own life and those of creatures around her.
  • Marzipan in Homestar Runner is a vegetarian and the only member of the cast who isn't an idiot or a jerkass.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Arthur. This becomes a major Political Correctness Gone Mad plot in the episode, "Sue Ellen Vegges Out," in which Sue Ellen becomes a vegetarian because her new "best friend" is a pig at a pig farm, and the idea of pigs being slaughtered for consumption horrifies her.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Aang is a vegetarian and Wise Beyond Their Years (although he sometimes still shows his playful kiddie side). He's also kind and wants to promote peace. Being raised by the highly-spiritual Air Nomads (who are also vegetarians) helps.
  • The premise of Count Duckula is that after death, Duckula can be resurrected by performing a blood ritual when the moon is full, but his assistant Igor accidentally uses ketchup instead of blood. As a result, Duckula, originally a villain, comes back as a peaceful vegetarian.
  • The cat Tiger from Don Bluth's An American Tail frees the mouse Fievel Mousekewicz from his cage, explaining that he's a vegetarian that never eats mice. Tiger is the only feline character in this work to avert the Cats Are Mean trope, actually becoming Fievel's best friend and confidante.
  • Played with in Teen Titans. Beast Boy is vegetarian because he has personally embodied many animals normally considered for meat.
  • Theodore from the 90s Alvin and the Chipmunks movies is vegetarian while his brothers are not. He's The Heart of the group.
  • Depending on the Writer, Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls is vegetarian, and the most innocent of the three. (This is despite her often shown eating meat, especially with the Running Gag of Utonium and liver).
  • In The Simpsons, Lisa is both the most intelligent and most idealistic member of the cast, and has converted to vegetarianism. Originally it was played for her learning An Aesop about moral crusading and acceptance, but since learning her lesson it's remained a part of her character.
  • In one South Park episode Stan, who is the most sensitive of the gang and issues often into animal welfare, went vegetarian. The episode ends up parodying the "sensitive" variant.

Real Life
  • At least half the New Age books on the market promote vegetarianism/veganism as the One True Path To Enlightenment.
Replies: 64