Created By: sgamer82 on September 14, 2011 Last Edited By: sgamer82 on May 9, 2014
Troped

Destroy The Abusive Home (Prepping to Launch)

You lived there. You suffered there. Time to destroy it.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
This trope has its five hats, I'll be launching it sometime over the weekend. Gonna add the latest entry and give it a little bump in case there's some last-second detail someone wants to add or mention.

While working on other YKTTWs of mine, came across this one that's been sitting quietly for a long time unlaunched. Seems ready to go, just needs one more hat and, depending on consensus, a better name. For now, the running contender is Destroy The Abusive Home to avoid mixing up/snowcloning Let the Past Burn

Candidates for naming:
  1. Destroy the Abusive Home (my original title)
  2. Burning Down Painful Memories (one I'm leaning towards personally)
  3. Burning Down Bedlam House
  4. Where The Hurt Is

Barring sudden complication, sometime after I get that last hat I'll launch the trope. I'm a little concerned that it may be too close to Let the Past Burn, but it does seem to be its own separate trope as there seems to be little overlap (only two entries are the same). As I see the distinctions:


"The problem is this room! She hated being stuck here! I'll smash it to smithereens!"
Monkey D. Luffy, One Piece

Be it from Abusive Parents, or a more general tormentor, a character has suffered at the hands of another. In the course of the story, that tormentor is taken out of the equation. Either the character Grew a Spine, or simply became a Self-Made Orphan, or another option entirely. In the end, their abuser is gone. Only the place where the abuse occurred now remains.

Alternatively, the place may evoke bad memories for an entirely separate reason. It may be the place where a loved one died or the sight of some traumatic event.

Either way, the scars remain; and that's where this trope comes in.

To Destroy the Abusive Home is a form of catharsis for the character, and possibly the audience as well, where we see the place where these horrible incidents occurred being destroyed. If not by the abused character's hand, then then by the one who saved them from the abuse with their bearing witness or in their memory.

Compare Where I Was Born and Razed, which can end up happening by accident and which can also be a large-scale version of this. Can be related to Burn The Orphanage if it was an Orphanage of Fear. See also Let the Past Burn, an Ending Trope that can overlap with this one.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

     Manga & Anime 
  • One Piece features this in the final moments of Luffy's battle with Arlong. He recognizes that the building they're fighting in has been essentially Nami's jail cell and resolves to destroy it.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, enhanced human Allehjah goes back and destroys the lab were he was raised and experimented on.
  • Code Geass: This is definitely Lelouch's motivation. He was born and raised in an aristocratic, totalitarian empire, which gets its kicks from invading other countries and subjugating them to their will. They don't really care about what happens to its inhabitants, either.

     Film 
  • In Forrest Gump, Jenny throws rocks at her now abandoned childhood home, where she lived with her "very loving" father. Later Forrest has the building bulldozed on her behalf.
  • In the movie Splice the female main character ( I forgot her name) burns down the cellar where she lived with her abusive mother

     Literature 
  • In the Discworld book Monstrous Regiment, there is a reform school for girls known for being very abusive. Of the three characters we know came from there, one is always carrying matches around. In the book's epilogue we learn that the school mysteriously burned down.
  • In one of the Hawk and Fisher books, the DeFerrier house had a very unpleasant set of previous owners. One of the suspects in the case has been trying to buy the house off its newest owner, and it's later discovered that he is in fact the last DeFerrier, trying to buy the house so he can burn it down.
  • The classic TV Movie/book The Burning Bed, which also destroys the abuser.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Riker stars in a play directed by Dr. Crusher wherein he's a sane man trapped in a mental institution. During the course of his next assignment, he becomes a sane man trapped in a mental institution, and starts to go crazy. After he's rescued, he destroys the mental institution set.
  • Leverage: Parker did this at age 8!
  • A variation occurs on The Blacklist when Red buys the house where he and his family used to live and ends up burning it to the ground, because it reminds him of how his family was dissolved.
  • In Jonathan Creek when he sees the words "Gordon Hill coming down" in Maddy's diary, he assumes she's being visited by a man named Gordon. Gordon Hill is actually the name of the block of flats where her mother committed suicide. Jonathan works it out and arrives just in time to be at her side as the building collapses.
  • This happens to Craster's Keep in Game of Thrones.

     Music 
  • The 1964 song "Tobacco Road" by the Nashville Teens. The narrator in the song wants to demolish the neighborhood he grew up in.
    Gonna leave, get a job
    With the help and grace from Above
    Save some money, get rich and old
    Bring it back to Tobacco Road...

    Bring dynamite, and a crane
    Blow it up, start all over again
    Build a town I'll be proud to show
    Give it the name Tobacco Road

    'Cuz it's home
    The only life I've ever known
    I despise ya 'cuz yer filthy
    But I loves ya... 'cuz yer home
  • Implied in the song "A Rush Of Blood To The Head" by Coldplay. The signficant other of the singer wants to buy his former home and burn it to the ground to "do back the things it did to you in return":
    You said, I'm gonna buy this place and burn it down
    I'm gonna put it six feet underground
    You said, I'm gonna buy this place and watch it fall
    Stand here beside my baby and the crumbling walls
    Oh I'm gonna buy this place and start a fire
    Stand here until I fill all your heart's desires
    Because I'm gonna buy this place and see it burn
    And do back the things it did to you in return
  • Also, P!nk:
    Pictures framing up the past
    Your taunting smirk behind the glass
    This museum full of ash
    Once a tickle, now a rash

    This used to be a Funhouse
    But now it's full of evil clowns
    It's time to start the countdown
    I'm gonna burn it down, down, down
    I'm gonna burn it down
    9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, fun
  • "Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood details how the protagonist locks herself in the storm cellar while her drunken, abusive father is passed out on the couch. In the video, she does make an attempt to wake him up and get him to safety, but in the end, his death by tornado was her retribution.
    There's not enough rain in Oklahoma to wash the sins out of that house.
    There's not enough wind in Oklahoma to rip the nails out of the past.

    Shatter every window, 'til its all blown away.
    Every brick, every board, every slamming door is blown away.
    'Til there's nothing left standing. Nothing left of yesterday.
    Every tear-soaked whiskey memory, blown away.

     Tabletop RPG 
  • Inverted in an RPG Adventure The House. The party meets a man, who used to be an abused child in ridiculously dysfunctional family: They all died in a fire (which started in mysterious circumstances but could or could not be his doing). But instead of freeing the boy, it cursed him. His home lives on in his nightmares and people who are nearby when the nightmare starts tend to get pulled in and murdered by the nightmarish reflections of the family.

     Video Games 
  • Jack's loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2 is about her planting a bomb in the research facility where she was raised and experimented upon.
  • In the original Call of Juarez, Reverend Ray assumes this is what Billy returned home for, after finding Billy's foster parents dead and seeing him run from the scene. However, this is just a frame-up by the game's villains.
  • A possible example/variant in Mystery Case Files: Escape From Ravenhearst. For one part of the game, the Master Detective is going through a mockup of Charles Dalimar's childhood home. The way the Detective gets out is the same way Charles got out — blow it up.

     Western Animation 
  • Played with in Avatar: The Last Airbender: Zuko brings things from the house to burn in the episode where he, Azula, Mai and Ty Lee go to Ember Island. The house gets destroyed properly some episodes later as he attacks Aang in the process of training him in firebending.

    Real Life 
  • I read somewhere that the English king Richard II had his palace at Sheen burned down after his first wife Queen Anne died, not because of abuse, but because the place was a favourite of hers and the memories associated with it, though once pleasant, had become too painful to him.
Community Feedback Replies: 38
  • September 14, 2011
    Koveras
    • Jack's loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2 is about her planting a bomb in the research facility she was born and experimented upon in.
    • In the original Call Of Juarez, Reverend Ray assumes this is what Billy returned home for, after finding Billy's foster parents dead and seeing him run from the scene. However, this is just a frame-up by the game's villains.
  • September 14, 2011
    Bisected8
  • September 14, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    Burn The Orphanage is a sister trope of this, if the orphanage in question was an Orphanage Of Fear
  • September 14, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Star Trek The Next Generation: Riker stars in a play directed by Dr. Crusher wherein he's a sane man trapped in a mental institution. During the course of his next assignment, he becomes a sane man trapped in a mental institution, and starts to go crazy. After he's rescued, he destroys the mental institution set.
  • September 14, 2011
    JoeG
    Leverage: Parker did this at age 8!
  • September 15, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    I wonder if this might be expanded to the destruction of a place that evokes painful memories for any reason. I read somewhere that the English king Richard II had his palace at Sheen burned down after his first wife Queen Anne died, not because of abuse, but because the place was a favourite of hers and the memories associated with it, though once pleasant, had become too painful to him.
  • September 16, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Inverted in an rpg adventure The House. The party meets a man, who used to be an abused child in ridiculously disfunctional family: They all died in a fire (which started in mysterious circumstances but could or could not be his doing). But instead of freeing the boy, it cursed him. His home lives on in his nightmares and people who are nearby when the nightmare starts tend to get pulled in and murdered by the nightmarish reflections of the family.
  • September 16, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Played With In Avatar The Last Airbender: Zuko brings things from the house to burn in the episode where he, Azula, Mai and Ty Lee go to Ember Island. The house gets destroyed properly some episodes later as he attacks Aang in the process of training him in firebending.
  • September 24, 2011
    TBeholder
    Why not to merge this into Where I Was Born And Razed as an internal subtrope?
  • September 25, 2011
    TechUnadept
    Proposed Alt Title: Burning Down Bedlam House
  • September 25, 2011
    Higurashiblood98
    [[Anime/Manga]] Code Geass: This is definitely Lelouch's motivation. He was born and raised in an aristocratic, totalitarian empire, which gets its kicks from invading other countries and subjugating them to their will. They don't really care about what happens to its inhabitants, either.
  • September 25, 2011
    TairaMai
    Music: Johnny Cash's song Tobacco Road. The narrator in the song wants to demolish the neighborhood he grew up in.
  • October 31, 2011
    Irrisia
    In one of the Hawk and Fisher books, the De Ferrier house had a very unpleasant set of previous owners. One of the suspects in the case has been trying to buy the house off its newest owner, and it's later discovered that he is in fact the last De Ferrier, trying to buy the house so he can burn it down.
  • October 31, 2011
    shan
    Proposed Alt Title (?): Where the Hurt Is
  • June 15, 2012
    TitoMosquito
    Forrest Gump - Jenny only threw rocks at it after seeing it again. Forrest bulldozed it after she died of a rare disease.
  • June 15, 2012
    NimmerStill
    This is what Kate does in Lost, right?
  • June 15, 2012
    nielas
    ^Her primary motivation was to kill her stepfather and make it look like an accidental gas explosion. Blowing up the house might have been just a bonus.
  • June 15, 2012
    Antigone3
    A possible example/variant in Mystery Case Files: Escape From Ravenhearst. For one part of the game, the Master Detective is going through a mockup of Charles Dalimar's childhood home. The way the Detective gets out is the same way Charles got out -- blow it up.

    (Edit to add: I haven't gotten all the way through the bonus play on this one. Charles claims that his mother was abusive, but I'm not certain if we're supposed to take his word for it.)
  • June 15, 2012
    Shnakepup
    • Implied in the song "A Rush Of Blood To The Head" by Coldplay. The signficant other of the singer wants to buy his former home and burn it to the ground to "do back the things it did to you in return":
      You said, I'm gonna buy this place and burn it down
      I'm gonna put it six feet underground
      You said, I'm gonna buy this place and watch it fall
      Stand here beside my baby and the crumbling walls
      Oh I'm gonna buy this place and start a fire
      Stand here until I fill all your heart's desires
      Because I'm gonna buy this place and see it burn
      And do back the things it did to you in return
  • June 15, 2012
    Hertzyscowicz
    If this is to be narrowed down to abusive homes, the description needs work. That, or widen it to symbolically destroying your home in a Dont Look Back gesture, like Al and Ed in Full Metal Alchemist.
  • September 27, 2012
    JakesBrain
    Worth looking closer at the lyrics of "Tobacco Road," as mentioned above, if only for the context

    Gonna leave, get a job
    With the help and grace from Above
    Save some money, get rich and old
    Bring it back to Tobacco Road...

    Bring dynamite, and a crane
    Blow it up, start all over again
    Build a town I'll be proud to show
    Give it the name Tobacco Road

    'Cuz it's home
    The only life I've ever known
    I despise ya 'cuz yer filthy
    But I loves ya... 'cuz yer home
  • September 27, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    Burning Down Bedlam House is too specific - Bedlam House isn't just 'an abusive home'.

    Also, Pink:
    Pictures framing up the past
    Your taunting smirk behind the glass
    This museum full of ash
    Once a tickle, now a rash

    This used to be a Funhouse
    But now it's full of evil clowns
    It's time to start the countdown
    I'm gonna burn it down, down, down
    I'm gonna burn it down
    9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, fun
  • September 27, 2012
    Tallens
    Note on the Mass Effect 2 example, Jack wasn't born there. She was stolen from her mother as an infant.
  • September 27, 2012
    Lawman592
    Nitpick: Although he may have later covered it, "Tobacco Road" is not known as a Johnny Cash song. It was first a hit in 1964 for the Nashville Teens which, despite their name, was a British group.
  • September 27, 2012
    Strudel5
    In the movie Splice the female main character ( I forgot her name) burns down the cellar where she lived with her abusive mother
  • September 27, 2012
    Duncan
    The classic TV Movie/book The Burning Bed, which also destroys the abuser. [1]
  • September 28, 2012
    captainsandwich
    In Dungeons And Dragons Vecna's mom was killed by the city on the grounds of practicing witchcraft, so he destroyed it, around a thousand years later IIRC.
  • September 28, 2012
    TBeholder
    It is Where I Was Born And Razed. There are no essential differences so far, you're just trying to disney it into one more "hero trope - villain trope" pair, that's all. Which isn't such a good idea as you seem to assume.
  • September 29, 2012
    sgamer82
    If you mean the trope as a whole, I disagree. Where I Was Born And Razed is pointed out as a villainous version of the trope primarily because it's the villains who perform that one (at least intentionally). In fact, Razed even explicitly says "It doesn't count if only the house is destroyed", which is what this trope is about. Though given that perhaps I should change the description to call Razed a 'large-scale' version of the trope instead. As things stand:

  • April 14, 2014
    DAN004
    Besides this trope gives a good reason why they wanna destroy that old stinkin' place.
  • April 14, 2014
    Astaroth
    Subtrope of Let The Past Burn?
  • April 14, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Live-Action TV
    • A variation occurs on The Blacklist when Red buys the house where he and his family used to live and ends up burning it to the ground, because it reminds him of how his family was dissolved.
  • April 14, 2014
    DRCEQ
    • "Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood details how the protagonist locks herself in the storm cellar while her drunken, abusive father is passed out on the couch. In the video, she does make an attempt to wake him up and get him to safety, but in the end, his death by tornado was her retribution.
      There's not enough rain in Oklahoma to wash the sins out of that house.
      There's not enough wind in Oklahoma to rip the nails out of the past.

      Shatter every window, 'til its all blown away.
      Every brick, every board, every slamming door is blown away.
      'Til there's nothing left standing. Nothing left of yesterday.
      Every tear-soaked whiskey memory, blown away.
  • April 14, 2014
    TwoGunAngel
    When the place of hell is an Orphanage Of Fear, this has overlap with Burn The Orphanage.
  • April 26, 2014
    ridicumouse
    In Jonathan Creek when he sees the words "Gordon Hill coming down" in Maddy's diary, he assumes she's being visited by a man named Gordon. Gordon Hill is actually the name of the block of flats where her mother committed suicide. Jonathan works it out and arrives just in time to be at her side as the building collapses.
  • April 26, 2014
    Mozgwsloiku
    The House was pen and paper rpg ( it was statted for both D&D and KrysztaƂy Czasu)
  • May 5, 2014
    CaptEquinox
    Like many small English children born in India, Rudyard Kipling was sent off to England at age six, along with his three-year-old sister. For five years they lived in a foster home in Southsea where they were beaten, humiliated and force-fed Scripture. Sixty-five years later, he called it the House of Desolation, and said he didn't know if it was still standing, but if it were he'd like to burn it to the ground and then plough the place with salt.
  • May 8, 2014
    hbi2k
    Live-Action TV
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=vz26op23x1wm6q9b1q38c6wo