Created By: CountofBleck on February 7, 2013 Last Edited By: CountofBleck on February 19, 2013

The Shut-In

A character that never leaves their house or home. EVER.

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Trope
The instance where a character is either not allowed, refuses to, or simply cannot leave the comfort of their homes. It is possible that they can't leave because of a magic seal, they are just lazy, or are just too afraid of the possibilities of something horrible happening to them if they so much as peek out the door.
Community Feedback Replies: 39
  • February 7, 2013
    CaveCat
    This needs a non-dialogue title.
  • February 7, 2013
    CountofBleck
    It has to be for long enough to not include every instance of house arrest.

  • February 7, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Compare and contrast You Can't Go Home Again, where a character can't return home, and There's No Place Like Home, where a character tries to return home.

    Literature
  • February 7, 2013
    McKathlin
    Hikikomori is a Sub Trope to this.
  • February 7, 2013
    Random888
    Would Its A Wonderful Life count? The protagonist wants to leave home, but doesn't because he keeps getting tied down by various responsibilities.
  • February 7, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    Used very nastily in the story arc "Two For You" of the Jack webcomic. A loser is offered what looks like a sweet deal- free room and board in a premium-luxury apartment as an advertising promotion, "so well cared for that you'll never have to leave this apartment again". Of course there's a catch: he's unwittingly sold his soul in exchange for a "Matrix"-type illusion, and then he loses even that.
  • February 7, 2013
    elwoz
    Literature: Nero Wolfe will only leave his brownstone if there is no other alternative.
  • February 7, 2013
    StarSword
    So this isn't a result of a lack of NPC Scheduling?
  • February 8, 2013
    SylviaSybil
    Film
    • Alexandra Rover in Nims Island is agoraphobic and never leaves her apartment. When Nim writes to her explaining her trouble, Alexandra forces herself to go out and find her.
  • February 8, 2013
    Arivne
    Note that Home Is Where Your Life Is is not a Stock Phrase or a "sounds like a line of dialogue" title, and so does not violate No New Stock Phrases.

    Live Action TV
    • The Twilight Zone episode "Nothing in the Dark". An old woman has refused to leave her apartment for years after seeing Death take a young woman. She believes that if she stays in the apartment that Death can't reach her.
  • February 8, 2013
    IanWhoWas
    Film
    • Truman of The Truman Show is not allowed to leave his hometown, because it's all a TV set, and he's not supposed to know that.
  • February 8, 2013
    McKathlin
    See also Gilded Cage.
  • February 8, 2013
    McKathlin
    I suggest Never Leaves Home as an alternate title. Generally, it's easier to converse about a trope if its title is part of a sentence, rather than the whole sentence.

    However, I admit my suggested title is flawed in that often, a character who "Never Leaves Home" will leave home sooner or later, as a significant plot point.
  • February 8, 2013
    NateTheGreat
    Is this "stay in your hometown", or "stay in your house"? 'Cause I don't think The Hobbit counts.
  • February 9, 2013
    1810072342
    Video Games: Every character's mother in Pokemon.
    • In fact, every general NPC in Pokemon at all. They never leave the buildings you find them in.
  • February 9, 2013
    StarSword
    ^I don't think we should include examples that are a result of averting NPC Scheduling.
  • February 11, 2013
    randomsurfer
    • In an episode of Barney Miller Wojo arrests a man after the man's landlord complains of non-payment of rent. The man hadn't left his apartment for 20 years; shortly after coming to the precint, he dies.
    • In the pilot (but not the series) of Seinfeld Kramer is said to never leave the building.
  • February 11, 2013
    Prfnoff
    For a title, may I suggest The Shut-In?
  • February 14, 2013
    DRCEQ
    How is Hikikomori a subtrope of this? For that matter, how is this different from it?
  • February 14, 2013
    McKathlin
    ^ Hikikomori is a subtrope of The Shut In because a Hikikomori is a shut-in because of his/her own fear of or lack of interest in the outside world. The Shut In is a more general trope where the person's never leaving home could be for any reason: fear of the outside world, or someone who won't let them leave, or fate conspiring against their every attempt to leave, or whatever else.
  • February 14, 2013
    SquirrelGuy
    On Monk, Adrian has a brother, Ambrose Monk, who never left his house in 32 years due to agoraphobia (and possibly the trauma of when his father left as a child). Ambrose's refusal to leave the house figured in the murder of Monk's wife, Trudy, a mystery which spanned the length of the TV series.
  • February 14, 2013
    Mijin
    The warden in The Fortress has never left his quarters in his entire life. The emergency medical hologram in Voyager initially cannot leave the sick bay. The characters in the film When the Wind Blows don't go further than their garden for the whole film (but then, there's nuclear fallout outside). (sorry these aren't formatted, don't know how to yet)
  • February 14, 2013
    IanWhoWas
    Western Animation
  • February 14, 2013
    randomsurfer
    On Family Guy Brian has to do Community Service for a misdomenor so he's running Meals on Wheels, bringing lunches to elderly people who can't go out. He meets and falls in love with an old lady who used to be a great singer but got dissed in a review and hasn't left her house in years. He sings an Emmy Award-winning song to her, convincing her to leave her house - and she's immdediatley hit by a car.
  • February 14, 2013
    nitrokitty
    This is the exact same thing as Hikikomori. That is literally what it means.
  • February 15, 2013
    Arivne
    I have just read the Hikikomori page, and it is not the same as this trope. It's about the specifically Japanese version of The Shut In, and is thus a Sub Trope of this one.
  • February 15, 2013
    Natria
    In Nim’s Island, the writer Alexandra Rover suffers from agoraphobia and therefore never leaves the house or even opens the door, until an attempt to rescue Nim forces her to face her fears.
  • February 15, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    ^^Just because it's Japanese doesn't make it a different trope.

    I suggest instead of making this is a Super Trope to Hikikomori, we should make this into a Sister Trope instead. Hikikomori is about people who doesn't want to leave the house, so this trope should cover people who are prohibited from leaving the house, whether they actually want to leave the house or not. For name idea, something like Not Allowed To Go Out, perhaps?

  • February 15, 2013
    Met
    ^There's an example from the remake of That Darn Cat that doesn't fit either of those examples, though. An elderly woman complains she never goes anywhere. We find out at the end that this is literally true. When her floor (someone else's ceiling) is destroyed, she falls through still in her armchair. She's happy, though: "I finally left my house!"

    The problem is, we know she wants to go out, but we don't know for a fact that she's prohibited from going out by a person. It could be a lack of mobility issue, and no one cares to help her get down the stairs.

    I think it works best as a supertrope.
  • February 15, 2013
    MokonaZero
    Usually a result of You Are Grounded.
  • February 15, 2013
    Random888
    In the Thirty Rock episode "Gavin Volure", the eponymous character (played by Steve Martin) fakes being this trope. It turns out he's actually a white-collar criminal under house arrest.
  • February 15, 2013
    Cassis
    • Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. She was jilted on her wedding day and spent the rest of her life shut up in her mansion, still wearing her wedding dress, as the house decays around her.

    The Hikikomori description seems to be about a real, very culture-specific condition. Either that description needs some generalizing or many of the examples should go to a more general trope like this.
  • February 15, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    ^^^^Hmm...maybe Cannot Go Out will be better? Expanding it to be about someone who cannot go out because of reasons, either not allowed to or magically bound, or just not fit enough to go out.
  • February 16, 2013
    Met
    ^That's what the description says now. I like the current title, too.
  • February 16, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
  • February 17, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Film

    In the film I Am Sam, the elderly neighbor who babysits Sam's daughter Lucy when Sam works, Annie, is an agorophobe who had not been outside in years. When testifying on behalf of Sam to his fitness as a father in his custody battle, her credibility is attacked with a lawyer bringing up this psychological condition.
  • February 17, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Literature
    • Mycroft Holmes, elder brother to legendary detective Sherlock Holmes, appears in four of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. In every case, Mycroft seems to live his entire life at the Diogenes Club, despite having even greater powers of observation and deduction than Sherlock.
  • February 19, 2013
    CountofBleck
    I feel like the description needs a lot of adjusting. Would anyone care to help write a description? I can barely find time to do so myself.
  • February 19, 2013
    Cassis
    Okay, I was going to give the description a shot, but wasn't sure whether to include the "is prevented from leaving" part, since someone else brought up house arrest. And then I did a little more research on Hikikomori and apparently there's been discussions of its problems before:

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1334930091078720100 (I hope that is the right way to cite)

    It turns out there is a pretty obscure trope that I think covers the house arrest/otherwise prevented from leaving angles: Implicit Prison (only 8 wicks). It seems to be about places that do not look like prisons but from which people are literally unable to leave.

    The Hermit is about people choosing to isolate themselves from society, but usually by moving away from society. (Whereas The Shut In can easily be about people in urban areas--a variant that is mentioned in The Hermit as well, though.)

    So I kind of think there are three tropes squished into the original description:

    The Hermit--a person leaves society behind. Implicit Prison (or Prisoner)--in which some external force or authority (such as a spell or the law or a slavering barbarian army at the gates) keeps the person inside, which would cover You Are Grounded. This trope, The Shut In--In which an internal force (such as health or agoraphobia or as the original description said, "just plain laziness") is the factor--Hikikomori would be a culture-specific subtrope of this.

    Does this make sense? Or too complicated?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=3mhgg3greecowv44u6ilxsn8