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Healthy Country Air

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A character moves or visits a rural area for the better air

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Pichu-kun on Oct 24th 2018 at 4:08:07 PM
Last Edited By:
Pichu-kun on Jan 11th 2019 at 6:47:05 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

A frequent excuse for a city mouse moving out to the country is health. The air is cleaner than in the city and the atmosphere is more relaxing, leading characters to move to see if their health can improve. People with asthma and other lung-based illnesses are especially prone to this.

There is a Truth in Television aspect to this. In the past, clean air was used for the treatment of several illnesses, most notably tuberculosis. Tuberculosis has been a part of humanity for almost as long as humanity has existed (bones from the Neolithic Era have been found with telltale signs of tuberculosis, and some disputed evidence suggests the disease may go back much further than that). For most of recorded history the only treatments were giving people better food and moving them to a place where the air was considered better, which was usually out in the country somewhere. Ancient Greeks, for example, favored having the patient rest in groves of sacred trees, Scandinavians believed mountain air would aid in recovery, and 19th century America thought the dry climate of the western part of the country was better for the lungs.

This might be a reason for From New York to Nowhere. Usually a treatment for Victorian Novel Disease.


Examples:

Anime & Manga

  • This is a plot point in the backstory of Love Hina. Naru had asthma as a child and had been sent to the Hinata Inn for this reason. This is how she originally met and fell in love with Keitaro.
  • The anime adaptation of Uta No Prince Sama gives heroine Nanami this backstory. She had an unspecified Soap Opera Disease, and moved to the country to be with her grandmother for the sake of her health. As a result, she's very sheltered and doesn't know a lot about the idol industry.
  • Arrietty has Sho. He was sent to the rural setting of the story due to needing an operation on his heart. The trope ultimately proves to be true given that the setting allows him to meet the titular character as well as abandon his You Can't Fight Fate attitude concerning life.

Comic Books

  • Superboy: Conner Kent/Kon-El, the young clone of Superman has two moments as this: the first one invoked this trope in his own series by moving to Hawaii after the Reign of the Supermen arc to make a name by his own instead of being under the shadow of Superman. Later, this trope becomes straight after being part of the Teen Titans, moving to Smallville and living with the Kents to get mental stability, first before Infinite Crisis and later after being revived in Legion of 3 Worlds.

Fan Works

  • In The Not-So-Great and Powerful Escape, Trixie is left comatose after a Bungled Suicide. She is sent to recover in Ponyville because of its rural atmosphere.

Films — Animation

  • When Marnie Was There starts with Anna's mother sending her out to visit her aunt and uncle in the country for the summer. Her reasoning is that it could help with Anna's asthma.

Films — Live-Action

  • This was referenced in Casablanca.
    Louis: And what in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
    Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
    Louis: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
    Rick: I was misinformed.
  • The Stewart family in Hannah Montana The Movie move back to Tennessee because Miley's dad believes she's grown an ego as Hannah. When Miley protests, her dad calls the vacation a "Hannah Detox".

Literature

  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hagrid claims that he took a semester off to travel because the fresh air was good for his health. Umbridge, unconvinced, quips that as groundskeeper fresh air must be hard to come by.
  • In Anna Karenina, Kitty's doctor urges her to leave Petersburg and travel through Europe to cure her mysterious illness.
  • The Yellow Wallpaper is the first-person narrative of a 19th-century woman who's on enforced bed rest in a country house for a summer to treat her "nervous depression" and "hysteria", up until she Goes Mad from the Isolation instead. Such diagnoses and "rest cures" were unfortunately common in the time period.
  • Several Sherlock Holmes stories start with Watson dragging a very reluctant Holmes out of London on medical grounds (usually overwork). Being Holmes, he always ends up involved in solving a criminal mystery anyway.
  • In Black Beauty, the titular horse had to run for the doctor when his mistress fell ill. The doctor prescribed moving to a warm country for two or three years. Since Black Beauty couldn't come with her, he was sold to a new owner.

Live-Action TV

  • In El Chavo del ocho, Sr. Barriga, the owner of the neighborhood needed to sell it so he can move to Acapulco, since his doctor stated his heart needed more oxygen. At the end it turns out that he got his results mixed with someone else, so he doesn't sell the place.

Video Games

Real Life

  • There's some Truth in Television in this from when medicine wasn't so advanced. There was also often a climate element, too, with people moving to more temperate areas before air conditioning was developed.
  • In the early 20th Century, Tucson, Arizona grew into a city from a small town because it was believed that the air there was good for treating tuberculosis.
  • After the Industrial Revolution but before public health, environmentalism and pollution control rose in importance living in an industrial area could be very damaging to your health, especially if you were already sick with something that could be aggravated by it. Moving to the country was common for those afflicted who could afford to do so.

Feedback: 33 replies

Oct 24th 2018 at 4:59:49 PM

^ Countryside would make both of those much more clear. What "country" are you talking about? Canada?

Oct 24th 2018 at 5:17:45 PM

Oct 24th 2018 at 5:19:33 PM

  • This is a plot point in the backstory of Love Hina. Naru had asthma as a child and had been sent to the Hinata Inn for this reason. This is how she originally met and fell in love with Keitaro.

Oct 24th 2018 at 7:05:07 PM

I thought I've read a similar draft about how moving outside for better air is an overestimated thing, especially in the past times...

Oct 24th 2018 at 8:06:34 PM

This definitely used to be a big trope - and truth in television - in the past when medicine wasn't so advanced. There was also often a climate element, too, with people moving to more temperate areas before air conditioning was developed.

Oct 25th 2018 at 3:42:59 PM

I need to re-read Black Beauty — I remember someone moving to the country, but I don't remember who.

Oct 25th 2018 at 3:48:04 PM

  • In Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, Hagrid claims that he took a semester off to travel because the fresh air was good for his health. Umbridge responds by sarcastically remarking that as gamekeeper fresh air must be hard to come by.

Oct 25th 2018 at 7:09:54 PM

  • The anime adaptation of Uta No Prince Sama gives heroine Nanami this backstory. She had an unspecified Soap Opera Disease, and moved to the country to be with her grandmother for the sake of her health. As a result she's very sheltered and doesn't know a lot about the idol industry.

May be a reason for From New York To Nowhere.

Nov 7th 2018 at 7:50:56 PM

In El Chavo Del Ocho, Sr. Barriga, the owner of the neighborhood needed to sell it so he can move to Acapulco, since his doctor stated his heart needed more oxygen. At the end it turns out that he got his results mixed with someone else, so he doesn't sell the place.

Nov 7th 2018 at 10:58:41 PM

Gone For A Change Of Air? Restorative Country Air?

Regarding the "What country are you talking about" criticism... Again, I do think common, longstanding idiomatic language and metaphors should be permitted if they help keep the trope name more concise, and country as an adjective (country life, country roads, as opposed to city life/streets/etc) isn't even an idiom, it's just a slightly old-fashioned usage. When this trope is in play, people usually will say things like "Smell that country air!" or "The fresh country air will do you a world of good."

Nov 7th 2018 at 9:52:41 PM

Several Sherlock Holmes stories start with Watson dragging a very reluctant Holmes out of London on medical grounds (usually overwork). Being Holmes, he always ends up involved in solving a criminal mystery anyway.

Nov 15th 2018 at 1:12:49 PM

Referenced in Casablanca.

Louis: And what in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Louis: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
Rick: I was misinformed.

Nov 15th 2018 at 2:22:05 PM

Usually a treatment for Victorian Novel Disease.

Literature:

  • In Anna Karenina, Kitty's doctor urges her to leave Petersburg and travel through Europe to cure her mysterious illness.

Real Life:

  • In the early 20th Century, Tucson, Arizona grew into a city from a small town because it was believed that the air there was good for treating tuberculosis.

Nov 15th 2018 at 4:58:49 PM

Real Life: After the Industrial Revolution but before public health, environmentalism and pollution control rose in importance living in an industrial area could be very damaging to your health, especially if you were already sick with something that could be aggravated by it. Moving to the country was common for those afflicted who could afford to do so.

Nov 16th 2018 at 1:24:23 PM

I don't know whether this fits, but...

  • The Stewart family in Hannah Montana The Movie move back to Tennessee because Miley's dad believes she's grown an ego as Hannah. When Miley protests, her dad calls the vacation a "Hannah Detox".

Nov 16th 2018 at 10:22:06 PM

Arriety has Sho. He was sent to the rural setting of the story due to needing an operation on his heart. The trope ultimately proves to be true given that the setting allows him to meet the titular character as well as abandon his You Cant Fight Fate attitude concerning life.

Nov 16th 2018 at 10:48:00 PM

Comic Books:

  • Superboy: Conner Kent/Kon-El, the young clone of Superman has two moments as this: the first one invoked this trope in his own series by moving to Hawaii after the Reign of the Supermen arc to make a name by his own instead of being under the shadow of Superman. Later, this trope becomes straight after being part of the Teen Titans, moving to Smallville and living with the Kents to get mental stability, first before Infinity Crisis and later after being revived in Legion of 3 Worlds.

Nov 17th 2018 at 8:00:44 AM

Transferred a few examples into the draft.

Nov 17th 2018 at 6:40:03 PM

^ I don't think the current title is a stock phrase. And I think those titles are less clear.

Maybe something like Healthy Country Air?

Nov 18th 2018 at 1:02:55 PM

I'm for the Healthy Country Air.

Dec 28th 2018 at 10:54:58 PM

  • Tuberculosis has been a part of humanity for almost as long as humanity has existed, (bones from the Neolithic Era have been found with telltale signs of tuberculosis, and some disputed evidence suggests the disease may go back much further than that) and for most of recorded history the only treatments were giving people better food and moving them to a place where the air was considered better, which was usually out in the country somewhere. Ancient Greeks, for example, favored having the patient rest in groves of sacred trees, Scandinavians believed mountain air would aid in recovery, and 19th century America thought the dry climate of the western part of the country was better for the lungs.

Dec 29th 2018 at 12:16:51 AM

I like Healthy Country Air for the title.

Dec 29th 2018 at 12:17:24 PM

  • In Black Beauty, the titular horse had to run for the doctor when his mistress fell ill. The doctor prescribed moving to a warm country for two or three years. Since Black Beauty couldn't come with her, he was sold to a new owner.

Jan 11th 2019 at 8:19:11 AM

Maybe something for an analysis page?

The idea behind this trope comes from a discredited pre-germ theory idea known as Miasma Theory that disease was caused by bad air. This is where Malaria (Mal + aria = bad air) comes from, and is also the origin of some superstitions about opening windows at night, as well as the Swamps Are Evil trope (as swamps are source of bad smells). Obviously, we now know that disease isn't caused by bad-smelling air, but there might have been some Truth In Television in the idea behind this trope, as air pollution in 19th Century industrial cities was pretty unhealthy, and getting away from it could only help if you had lung issues.

Jan 11th 2019 at 4:06:47 PM

I think it's time to switch the all-caps markup to folders now.

Jan 11th 2019 at 6:26:52 PM

Live-Action Television

  • In the theme song to Green Acres, Oliver sings that one of the benefits of living on a farm is the fresh air.

Jan 11th 2019 at 6:47:05 PM

There's also cases of people being sent to seaside areas, which I think may have had to do with the air.

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