Fumbling through a cut glass vase
Passing lipstick, cotton spools
Burning jealous pictures of marriages of friends
Jellyfish, "The Glutton of Sympathy"
Breaking up is hard to do. Itís bad enough that your significant other is out of your life, but did they really have to leave all that stuff behind? Whether itís things they gave you or things that remind you of them, theyíve got to go. So grab some matches, itís time for a break up bonfire!
The breakup bonfire is usually ceremonial and perhaps even a little spiritual. As fire is a symbol of both destruction and rebirth, a break up bonfire typically represents a character breaking old bonds and starting anew. However, note the Unfair Sex
nature of this trope. A woman doing this is usually celebrating her freedom from an oppressive male. A man doing this usually is
the oppressive male, and a spiteful destructive bastard at that. As such, most examples below are from female characters burning her ex's things.
A variation both of Defenestrate and Berate
and Burn Baby Burn
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Anime and Manga
- Two examples from Popotan, neither of which follow a romance gone sour, but they stay true to the general idea of the trope:
- After she learns of Konami's death, Mai tries to burn the portrait she received from her in order to forget about her, but she is stopped by Mea.
- In the same episode, it's revealed that Mea's previous household did the same to their house when they found that Shizuku was not able to give them a good explanation for their travels; she could not prevent this one.
- In The Aeneid, Dido and her sister set fire to Aeneas's things after he abandons Dido. Said bonfire also doubles as a funeral pyre, as the last thing Dido throws into the fire is herself.
- Emma by Jane Austen: Harriet Smith throws her rather pathetic mementos of Mr Elton into a fire after having shown them to Emma, her friend she looks up to. They were not exactly a couple, but Harriet had been in love with him.
Live Action TV
- In an episode of Friends, Monica, Phoebe, and Rachel burn mementos of their exes when they find themselves all single on Valentine's Day and decide to do something to "cleanse" their bad luck. The firemen who attend when it inevitably gets out of control tell them that Valentine's Day is one of their busiest nights of the year, for exactly that reason.
- In Season 4, Rachel's crush, Joshua, has to buy a lot of new clothes as his ex-wife set all his old clothes on fire. He later reveals he keeps on buying clothes since he likes Rachel.
- In NCIS Season 5, Tony throws the letter of his Love Interest into a bonfire after the relationship went way, way, way south due to him Becoming the Mask.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: in the season 4 episode "The Initiative," Xander comes across Harmony as she's building a bonfire of Spike's stuff.
- Non-romantic example from My Name Is Earl: Earl has agreed to help out with a program that helps prisoners reconcile with their victims, and gets John, a young man with an artistic side who accidentally burned down his parents' house when his meth lab caught fire. Nothing they try is working, and John tells Earl that he is the way he is because he never got to go to prom. So Earl uses the last of his lottery winnings to throw a prom for the prison...and after all the trouble Earl went through for him, the guy still isn't making an effort to reconnect with his parents. So Earl goes into John's cell one evening and sets fire to all of his artwork.
- Alice Twilight, the Rank 2 assassin in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is in the process of doing this when Travis turns up to fight her. Close examination◊ of the pictures show them to be photos of a husband and child, as well Margaret Moonlight, the Rank 4 assassin. In this case, it probably hasn't got anything to do with romance, instead being symbolic of everything Alice has lost or left behind due to her profession.
- In The Simpsons episode where Milhouse's parents get divorced, Luann carefully boxes up all of Kurt's possessions and then sets fire to the box.
- A variation in Jimmy Two-Shoes, after Jimmy's Oblivious to Love nature leads him to dating a Heloise look-alike, Heloise angrily rips up her Stalker Shrine of him and tosses the remains in a vat of acid.