Valerius: Back to barracks, General? Or to Rome? Maximus: Home... Wife, son, the harvest. Quintus: Maximus the farmer... I still have difficulty imagining that. Maximus: You know, dirt cleans off a lot easier than blood, Quintus.
Someone who is in the position that he could do something much more significant, but still chooses an agricultural job for sentimental reasons.
When done with Badass fighters, it is often used to symbolize that after seeing so much destruction and violence, they want to actually do something constructive, put down some roots, and see some new growth, maybe as a way of dealing with post traumatic stress. In brief, instead of destroying life, they now seek to create and maintain it. It might overlap with Real Men Wear Pink, especially when it is about flowers, or gardening, to show that this tough man always secretly wished for such a meek pastime. For others, the pastoral life is particularly sweet because they've lived their entire lives on the move and this is the first place they can really call home (soldiers Fighting for a Homeland, for example).
It may turn out to be a harder job than they originally thought.
When it is professional agriculture, like farming, it often happens with politically or socially important figures, to show that they wish to be mere workers of the land. They might make snarky comments informing us that in fact, this is the firstreallyuseful thing they've done.
This sort of response is typical of the Cincinnatus, possibly an Ur Example.
See also: Home Sweet Home and Retired Badass for retirement, and Arcadia for peaceful life. The opposite of (And a play on) Call to Adventure
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Gordon Rosewater in The Big O. The man responsible for the creation of Paradigm City, he grows tomatoes in a private dome.
Ryoji Kaji in Neon Genesis Evangelion inverts this trope — rather than gardening and growing watermelons because of retirement, he does it because he's about to face the end of the world and wants to at least enjoy himself in his final moments. Later on he implies that this is what he would do if he had the chance to retire. He doesn't get the chance.
Lord Jeremiah in Code Geass ends the series in, of all things, an orange grove. This is a Call Back to the start of the series, where after being disgraced by Zero he's given the choice between tending an orange grove or starting his military career over from Square One, and shows that he's become comfortable with his new life.
He's joined in this work by Anya Earlstreim.
Gan Fall in One Piece becomes a pumpkin farmer after he is replaced by Eneru as the ruler of Skypiea.
Ooishi in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai mentioned his plans for having a vegetable garden after retirement, as a way of finally having a carefree life.
At the epilogue of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagann-hen, Simon becomes a wandering well-digger, asking only that the villages he assists plant lots of flowers in return. This is to help fulfill the dream of his deceased wife Nia, who wished for an Earth covered in flowers.
Taeko from Only Yesterday has a strong yearning for the agricultural lifestyle. She gets her wish in the end.
Gunslinger Girl: After her handler dies, the Social Welfare Agency isn't sure what do with Claes. She ends up splitting her time between destructive testing and starting her own garden on Agency land.
In Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, Goku is seen tending to a radish farm.
When faced with Taki's deportation and the resurgence of war in Maiden Rose, Klaus, who has already lost many comrades in action, tries to convince Taki to come back to his estate with him to live an idyllic life farming roses. Being A Father to His Men, Taki refuses and the dream never comes to pass.
Samurai X: In the OVA. "For many years I ended the lives of evil men but I've only realized inner peace by brining life to this land and sharing its harvest with you." Its more of a cover story than a choice but he learns to love it.
Played much straighter by Fuji, who after his Heel-Face Turn becomes a Tondenhei (a sort of soldier who works as a farmer during peace periods) in Hokkaido.
Fleet Admiral Sidney Sithole in Legend of Galactic Heroes decided to take up beekeeping after he was forced to retire from his position as Chief of the Joint Operations Headquarters following the Imperial territories invasion debacle.
Having grown sick of war and bloodshed, Thorfinn of Vinland Saga wants nothing more than to do constructive things like build homes and grow crops. He is able to find meaning working as a slave working on his masters' fields. Sadly, it seems like the universe isn't going to let him avoid fighting.
After being defeated and relieved of the Infinity Gauntlet in What if... Newer Fantastic Four, the Watchers give Thanos a new life as a gardener, where he's said to find a simple peace.
In the actual Infinity Gauntlet miniseries, Adam Warlock finds Thanos on a distant moon, living as a simple farmer, following the final battle. It doesn't last, of course.
Vanth Dreadstar should be the ultimate example: the man destroys the entire MILKY WAY GALAXY, escapes to a different galaxy, and then he becomes a farmer (Granted, it ended up simply being a 30-40 year "break", before he became involved in an all-out war in his NEW galaxy...)
In the beginning of Kingdom Come, Superman was trying to be a farmer again when he was visited by Wonder Woman. By the end he's expanded to single-handedly replanting Kansas. Fridge Brilliance there: at the conclusion of the crisis, Superman returns to the peaceful profession of his (adoptive) parents, the Kents, just like Bruce Wayne, who becomes a full-time doctor like his father Thomas Wayne.
This is where manipulative supergenius Vril Dox ended up at the end of R.E.B.E.L.S. Given his suffering in that title it probably seemed like a nice vacation by then. It didn't stick, although one later story got good mileage out of it:
Vril: Do not worry, officer: I am a botanist!
A couple of Punny Name-sporting Roman legionaries in Astérix retire. Egganlettus rejoins the army; Tremensdelirius trades a small Gaulish village near the coast of Armoricanote Caesar gave him the village instead of regular "retirement lands" because he drunkenly spoke ill of him to pay a bar tab.
Transmetropolitan ends with Spider Jerusalem, having fulfilled his contracts and taken down the bad guy, moving back up the mountain and growing vegetables.
The Astro City hero Supersonic spends his golden years tending to his rose garden.
In the Usagi Yojimbo story "The Patience of the Spider", General Ikeda hides from his enemies by farming a plot of land. He keeps up the ruse for years, including getting married and raising a family in the process. When the opportunity arises for him to return to power, he declines, preferring the agrarian life instead.
In the final issue of Peter David's X-Factor, Jamie Madrox and his pregnant wife Layla Miller decide to settle down on his family's farm to raise their child.
Maximus of Gladiator planned to do this after the war, though of course things went a little south for him.
The Godfather: Don Corleone spends most of his time after passing the family business to his son Michael gardening, he exits this life while playing hide and seek with his grandson in his tomato garden.
In Shrek The Third, Hook revealed his plan to grow daffodils.
This is the ending for WALL•E and the citizens of the Axiom.
Moses Hightower from Police Academy returns to his original profession of working with flowers.
Ramius in The Hunt for Red October planned to spend his time fishing after defecting to the States. His first officer, Captain Borodin, planned to live in Montana, raising rabbits. Borodin didn't make it.
Jason Statham's character in In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale likes to be simply called Farmer (even though the credits list his name as Damon, it's never mentioned), even by his own wife, and spends most of his time tending to his fields. Of course, this being Jason Statham, he's also a martial arts expert and can fight with any weapon. How he gained those skills when he refuses to join the king's army is never explained. Then again, when was the last time any of Uwe Boll's movies made sense?
In the animated Astérix feature film The Twelve Tasks of Asterix this is what eventually happens to Julius Caesar
In The Patriot, Benjamin Martin took up farming after fighting in the French and Indian War, and initially resisted joining the American Revolution.
Braveheart starts with the hero choosing this trope: After his father's death and a Time Skip, the now-adult William Wallace returns to Scotland after several years fighting in The Crusades, heartily sick of war and with no interest in being drawn into talk of rebellion. He sticks to this proclamation until English soldiers murder his wife.
William: I came home to raise crops, and God willing a family.
In the movie The Egg And I, Fred MacMurray's character gives up his office job as some stodgy suit-wearer and buys a defunct farm in the middle of nowhere, dragging his new bride with him. It's been his dream to raise chickens.
In Warm Bodies, when peace is established at the end, Nora retires from being a soldier and becomes a nurse, which is what she had wanted to be before the Zombie Apocalypse.
Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere is about a city in which people get to lead a second life after death. The heroine is frustrated to find that her rock star idol, Curtis Jest, has taken a job as a fisherman.
Curtis: Fishing is a fine, noble profession.
Liz: Unless you're supposed to do something else!
Curtis: Last week, I met a gardener named John Lennon.
Coll from the Chronicles of Prydain, a legendary hero who single-handedly entered Annuvin to rescue an oracular pig, retired to a farm called Caer Dallben to take care of that pig and work the farm.
Which is exactly what Taran wanted to do at the end of the series, having finally grasped the value of farming ... but as it turned out, fate had other plans.
Adaon in The Black Cauldron says that "there is more honor in a field well plowed than in a field steeped in blood."
Most of the characters in the Finnish war epic The Unknown Soldier are farmers, including captain Koskela badass Antti Rokka.
In the Twilight of the Clans series in the Battletech novels, Victor Steiner-Davion considers doing this after learning his realm was taken over by his sister. He changes his mind, though.
Sam ended The Lord of the Rings like this. True, gardening was his profession to begin with, but after all the adventures they went through, his final settlement in the Shire definitely had this feel.
Éowyn and Faramir, though they technically end up ruling the province of Ithilien, talk as if they're hearing the Call.
Éowyn: I will be a shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren. No longer do I desire to be a queen.
Faramir: That is well, for I am not a king... Let us cross the River and in happier days let us dwell in fair Ithilien and there make a garden. All things will grow with joy there, if the White Lady comes.
Jack Aubrey opens The Mauritius Command stuck in a tiny cottage, the great garden he dreamed of in previous books filled with puny wormy cabbages. As he's used to ship's food, the worms don't bother him so much. In general, Aubrey is a subversion of this trope: though he periodically makes plans for estates or agricultural projects, they're ill-fated, and he always goes back to sea (and to war) with relief.
Ged/Sparrowhawk in Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy retires to a farm on his home island of Gont after losing his powers saving the world in The Farthest Shore. Of course, this wasn't his plan and he spends most of Tehanu uncharacteristically depressed, snappy and hermetic. He seems to have accepted the situation and settled down by the time of The Other Wind several years later, but still refuses to leave the farm or have anything to do with governing Earthsea.
In Shadow Keep the former hero Shone Stelft gave up his heroic career and became a respectable blacksmith.
In Star Wars Expanded Universe - specifically the Hand of Thrawn Duology - it is revealed that Baron Fel was chosen to be the template for clones specifically to invoke this trope, so they would fight to defend their homes.
H'Ta, one of the elderly members of the Order of the Bat'leth in Star Trek: Klingon Empire. Now a farmer, he much prefers fertilizer to blood and has no desire to leave when he receives Captain Klag's summons to battle.
In The Belgariad, after centuries of being the protector to the Heir of the Rivan Throne, Polgara finally settles down with her husband in a simple cottage in a quiet vale where hardly anybody else lives. She cultivates her own vegetables, makes her own soap ... and is probably the second richest person in the world as well as an all-powerful sorceress who can create things through power of her own Will.
Beldin too, though he doesn't become a farmer. After several millenia of spying on the enemy, he and his partner become (presumably immortal) hawks and fly off, never to be seen again.
Appears in the Into the Looking Glass series by John Ringo. At the beginning of the second book, Navy SEAL protagonist Command Master Chief Robert Miller had retired from active duty and was running a floral shop, doing flower arrangements. That was until he got recalled.
Roran Stronghammer in Inheritance Cycle is a Berserker in battle and has strong skills in leading, but returns to a life of farming following the war with Galbatorix.
An entire army was persuaded to settle down in this fashion in Robert Asprin's Myth Conceptions. (Their leader Big Julie said that he just wanted to "sit in the sun, drink a little wine, maybe pat a few bottoms, you know what I mean?")
The novel Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived ends with the Republic-soldier-turned-spice-runner Zeerid Korr buying a farm and settling down with his daughter. He is then joined by Aryn Leneer, a Jedi Knight who has quit the order and has come to be with him.
Xena had Ares become a farmer at her Grandmother's farm after he lost his powers. Of course, he quit being a farmer after regaining his powers.
This is the premise behind the show Green Acres. A successful city lawyer gives up practising law to become a farmer.
Doc Baker was unable to save a patient or some such on one episode of Little House on the Prairie, and decides to take up farming instead. Fortunately for the sick of Walnut Grove, Hiram is a terrible farmer.
In his first appearance on Red Dwarf, the robot Kryten says he's always wanted to have his own garden. Lister encourages him to find a planet with an atmosphere and do it. The viewers assume this is where he's gone, until he reappears as a regular cast member in the next season. According to the Opening Scroll (which passes so fast it can only be read by freeze-frame), he's been found in pieces and reassembled after crashing his space-bike into an asteroid.
Doctor Who; In "Remembrance of the Daleks", after encountering the Doctor and the Daleks, Dr. Rachel Jensen quips in frustration, "You know, after this is over, I'm going to retire and raise begonias."
One of the verses to "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes involves the disillusioned protagonist thinking he should do this.
I'm going to Wichita, far from this opera forever more I'm gonna work the straw, make the sweat drip out of every pore
Champions sourcebook "The Circle and M.E.T.E.". The Master is an extremely powerful sorcerer who once worked against the Allied forces during WW 2. After surviving the atomic destruction of Hiroshima, he retired and created the Garden, an underground area filled with plants where he lives.
In Magic: The Gathering, there is the White sorcery "Swords to Plowshares". It removes a creature from the game and gives its owner its power in life points. It is a reference to Isaiah 2:4 in The Bible.
There's also the character Kamahl, who first entered the game as a red barbarian called "Kamahl, Pit Fighter"; some time later, he got another card, as the green forest druid "Kamahl, Fist of Krosa". Kamahl doesn't really fit the spirit of this trope, since he doesn't actually stop fighting. He just uses plants and animals to kick ass instead of using only his sword.
My mind has changed. My strength has not.
Warhammer 40,000 has Commissar Yarrick, defender of Hades Hive and hero of the Second Armageddon War, who retired to tend his small garden once Ghazghkull Thraka's Ork invasion had been beaten back. Of course, this being 40k, Yarrick came back out of retirement when Ghazghkull returned at the head of an even bigger Ork horde to launch the Third Armageddon War, and has vowed to go back only when Ghazghkull is dead.
In the PC game Hero's Quest (later re-named Quest For Glory I), you come across a centaur raking his field. In fact, that's all you ever see him do. But his description states that he looks very strong and has had his fair share of battles. If you attempt to fight him, the game simply won't let you, implying that it's not a good idea.
Agent 47 from Hitman became a gardener at a church following the events of the first game. Too bad the Mafia had to kidnap the local priest...
Sergei hired them to do it to force 47 back into the profession and use him through the Agency so it's an example of The Call Knows Where You Live.
Largo in Valkyria Chronicles. He always had a dream to have a vegetable garden, and eventually he did.
Dietrich Kellerman, an enemy ace in Ace Combat Zero, returns to his farm after the Belkan War, where the reporter narrating the story interviews him.
After the Kilrathi War ended in Wing Commander III, Christopher Blair retired to become a farmer. He wasn't much good at it, however, and couldn't turn down the call to return to active duty in the next game.
If you recruit GeneralWallace in Fire Emblem (the first official English release) and keep him alive until the end, his epilogue with read that, after somehow winding up inIlia, he spends the remainder of his days tilling the soil up there. Of course, he'd become a farmer after 30 years' worth of service as a knight to the Caelin house before he joins you, anyway, so it'd really be more correct to say that he went BACK to farming...
Brom and Nephenee follow the example of Wallace above, given that they were farmers before signing up to defend Crimea.
One of the endings of Brave Soul has the main character and his girlfriend getting stranded on an island with a crate of cursed agricultural tools that force anyone who touches them to work for a given amount of time. The final scene shows them like this.
In Assassin's Creed: Embers, Ezio Auditore's retired to a villa in Tuscany, Italy over ten years after his last appearance in Assassin's Creed: Revelations and spends his days tending to a vineyard.
Vaporware: Strawberry farming provides me with total fulfillment. No failure to understand creation and what drives me here. No latent insecurities about being a soulless automaton here. Lyle: I notice you and your robot friends just seem to be crushing strawberries in your fists. Vaporware: I like to pretend that each one is one of mankind's goals.
It's implied that WV of Homestuck was subject to this—presumably he did something to become the Warweary Villein. Unfortunately, it happened off-screen, and all we see is the burning remains of his farm.
The eponymous protagonist of Cucumber Quest, a wizard-in-training with considerable talent, wants nothing more than to be "that nice old guy people go to for help with their crops or something" when he grows up. Too bad he's been volunteered to go save the world instead of getting a chance to go to magic school.
In The Simpsons episode "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk", after selling the Power Plant, Mr. Burns starts up a bee farm.
Subverted in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The man who killed Katara's mother has a garden and it is implied that he spends quite some time on it, but he is still the cold and heartless man he was when he committed murder. And he seems to be miserable as well, mostly thanks to his mother.
Karl Rossum from Batman: The Animated Series briefly takes up farming after the disaster of the HARDAC program. He eventually does return to the robotics business full-time.
Diocletian, the Emperor who ended the Crisis of the Third Century (i.e. the fifty-year period of successive Klingon Promotions for Roman Emperor) and invented serfdom in the West, setting the stage for the ultimate division of the Roman Empire, decided to retire to a big palace in Spalatum (now Split, Croatia) after 21 years on the throne. He spent most of the time gardening, and when asked to retake the throne, Diocletian replied: "If you could show the cabbage that I planted with my own hands to your emperor, he definitely wouldn't dare suggest that I replace the peace and happiness of this place with the storms of a never-satisfied greed."
Cincinnatus, who returned from his farm to assume absolute power over Rome for six months while the city faced an invasion. Having repulsed and conquered the invaders in three months, he gave up his dictatorship and went back home.
Hitler's architect Albert Speer helped design and plant the garden in the Spandau Prison. He then spent all his free time walking around it, counting his laps. He was trying to walk around the world, you seenote He got to South America, via the Bering Sea. Nice "Pride Goeth Before A Fall"-story: for all his power and grandiose plans for "Germania," this garden is the only thing of his projects that wasn't bombed, never built because of the war or demolished after the war (in Berlin, that is). note Actually, a street of lamp-posts also survived. Tourist guides like to point them out.
According to his journal, he also spent a couple of weeks drawing a modest house for one of his American guards as a farewell present (shades of season one of Prison Break there...).
Inversion: Early Zionists thought this part of the way to make themselves into Badass Israelis, not as a way to retire.
After two terms as President of the United States, George Washington retired to manage his plantation, earning him the nickname "The American Cincinnatus". The city of Cincinnati was named in reference to this nickname in his honor.
And John Adams and Thomas Jefferson did the same, although Jefferson's Monticello was a slaveholding plantation as well (so he managed it rather than toiling himself, and Adams was more a gentleman gardener.
George W. Bush retired to his Texas ranch.
Wittgenstein retired to become a monastery gardener after writing his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, reasoning that with its publication, all philosophy was now completed.
Quite a few famous philosophers and poets retired (or were forcibly exiled) to a life of gardening after trying out working for the Man and becoming disillusioned with the political system (or pissed off the wrong guy).
After surviving a life-threatening brain aneurysm during their 1995-96 tour, R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry retired from rock to work a farm in Georgia about a half-hour's drive from Athens.
Roman legionnaires who'd served a lifetime tour of duty (about 20-25 years) could be granted farmland in lands they'd served in or helped conquer.
As World War II drew to a close the Willys-Overland company began to envision potential civilian markets for the Jeep. One of the first was as a "4-in 1" farm vehicle, taking over the roles of light tractor and stationary engine as well as a transporter that was both off-road capable and street-legal. While the first two roles never came to pass, the Land Rover Series I was based loosely on the same design, going on to become an Iconic Item for British farmers, gamekeepers and many other rural occupations ever since. The trope ended up coming full-circle a few years later when the Land Rover was selected as the Boring but Practical option to replace the Jeep in British Army service, after the non-success of an Awesome but Impractical custom-built replacement, the Austin Champ.
For that matter, tens of thousands of individual Jeeps and other light utility vehicles were sold off as surplus after the war, many of which found their way into the agricultural sector.
Raduan Nassar, a acclaimed Brazilian writer, quit literature in 1984, after only two novels and some short stories, to become a successful farmer without any explanations. In 2012, he sold / donated most of his lands. Again, leaving everyone perplexed.
This has helped many veterans returning from the recent unpleasantness.
The cult leader Jim Jones did this in Jonestown, he state that the settlement was highly self sufficient and they got everything they need of the land. However they faced with severe shortages, and a storm wrecked their harvest. This is an example of how this trope doesn't always work out, especially if its run by a sinister megalomaniac.
Near the end of the Cultural Rebolution Mao Zedong sent thousands of his Red Guard to the field, according to him its an opportunity for them to learn from the peasants. But he did it to get rid of them, as their witch hunts for suspected traitors were tearing the country apart.