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Close-Knit Community

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"Okay, we may not have anti-aircraft missiles or underground lairs, but what we do have is community. We look after each other."
Lena, Blue Yonder

A Close-Knit Community — whether a village, a scattering of country farms, a city neighborhood — is a place where people know their neighbors and look after them.

It is not an ensemble or team — not even one like a traveling circus — because the characters do not have a common purpose except on occasion, and incidentally. Most of the time, they go about their own purposes. Their Leaders act as leaders only in crisis, and merely as Reasonable Authority Figures in ordinary time. It also tends to be larger than most True Companions and other groups — large enough that many residents are only Bit Characters. While it can range from poor to prosperous, it is seldom if ever rich, and the characters are mostly settled in it, with few moving in or out. The widowed may remain there instead of returning to their families because they know they can get help there, and their families would be colder.

They lack the privacy of less close-knit communities, the Gossipy Hens often get word around, but then, if they don't know what is happening to you, how can they help you? And sometimes their help can feel somewhat restricting. Can't Get Away with Nuthin' has its unpleasant side.

Conflict within the community is either swiftly resolvable (perhaps through intervention) or a long-standing rivalry without serious consequences. The Cynic is generally treated with affection but not much attention.

Quirky Town is always one; even ones that aren't quirky often have a high tolerance for eccentrics, town drunks, and other unusual and/or dysfunctional — but mostly harmless — characters. Arcadia is also always a Close-Knit Community, if the matter comes up; it is more likely to come up when Arcadia is contrasted to a Vice City rather than a Decadent Court. The Wrong Side of the Tracks can also be close-knit, in which case it is not the Wretched Hive, and even holds down the crime rate by their quick action against it. This can even be true in a Vice City, though it is not common, and the community tends to be poorer and have more crime than other close knit communities, because they can only contain the city to a certain extent; on other hand, they will often need each other's support after crimes. Crystal Spires and Togas and other ideal cities are more likely to contain neighborhoods of them, than be them, since the characters have to know each other. Common in the towns of The Western.

A Hidden Elf Village can also be one. Characters in this community do not have to be welcoming.

Another type of community is Small Town, Big Hell, when this happens in a Small Town but it's all Played for Drama.

However, a Town with a Dark Secret does not qualify, since all the townsfolk are united in the purpose of keeping their secret, and probably with the activities involved in it — and similiarly with an Uncanny Village. A Wrong Genre Savvy protagonist may take one of those for this trope, or this trope for one of those, or the story may have such a fake out.

Because of their mutual support, plots involving the Close Knit Community either

  1. Imperil the community, so they have to defend themselves, or have The Hero defend them. (He may be an outsider, often brought in because one member acted as a Good Samaritan.)
  2. Have a youngster not appreciate it. Small Town Boredom or resentment of how the Gossipy Hens see to it that everyone knows everything, and you Can't Get Away with Nuthin' can lead to an escape. Often followed by An Aesop as the youngster learns that Apathetic Citizens are worse, and the value of Home Sweet Home.
  3. Have an outsider — often one burned out on In Harm's Way — learn the value of community and settle down from his Walking the Earth. Often a subplot of the first, but it is not required.
  4. Provide a safe setting for children to have child-sized adventures.
  5. Function as a waystation for The Quest, in which case it will only be an interlude.


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  • One Budweiser extolls the neighborhood.
    This is for the people in my neighborhood
    Who help me through the day and make me feel good
    This Bud's for you
    And you and you and you.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Maison Ikkoku, the title location is a tiny, aging apartment complex whose rather disfunctional residents manage to fit the description of "a place where people know their neighbors and look after them", though "looking after their neighbors" often amounts to "bring them inside when they pass out drunk".
  • In A Bride's Story, the entire town rallies around, quickly, when Amir's family threatens to take her back by force.
  • The setting of Tamako Market is not unlike an American small town's main street, with a close-knit group of family business owners.
  • Zekkyou Gakkyuu: An entire apartment complex provides a creepy example in "The Friendly Apartment Complex." Residents all take care of and know each other, the adults tutor all the children, they have a vegetable garden where they get all their food... No one is allowed to leave the building for literally anything, contact the outside world, or even speak to people who don't live in the building. As they say "We have everything we need right here."
  • In the small village of Sotoba from Shiki is a small rural village in the mountains where basically everyone knows everyone and all who live there try to help those around them as much as they can. Though, as with everything else about this series, it puts an incredibly dark spin on it as people start to mysteriously die after a new family moved in and the once united village devolves into a massacring horde.
    Tomio Ookawa: There are certain unstated rules for living in a village, rules that go back far too many generations to count. Outsiders are welcome as long as they adapt to village ways. We're a community here, we work together, we protect each-other. In a village, the young don't die before the old. These simple rules keep places like Sotoba alive through the years.
  • Non Non Biyori: Being a small village next to the mountains and so far away from Tokyo, the inhabitants of Asahigaoka are very close with one another, and the girls look out and care for each other as though they are sisters. Moments include comforting a grieving Renge when the tadpole shrimps died away, immediately warming up to Hotaru, who has no friends and zero experience living in the country, and Kaede escorting Renge back home when the day started to get too dark for a little girl to be out and about alone.

    Comic Books 
  • Invoked in the Astro City story "Pastoral", where a City Mouse leaves the city to spend the summer in one of these. While the residents normally tend to themselves, they come together for certain occasions, and serve as the Secret-Keeper for the local super hero's civilian identity.
    • Kiefer Square in "The Tarnished Angel" is a Vice City version of this trope. The locals are all working-class folks, many of whom get by as B-grade villains or Mooks, but they still have the local Gossipy Hens and street roughs, and don't hesitate to come together when the neighborhood is imperiled.
  • In Castle Waiting, the castle. Serving as a refuge for Jain.

    Fan Works 
  • The surviving Ishvalan community in Central and in the East are very close in Son of the Desert. To the point that Edward has to invite all of them to his 16th birthday.
  • In Nosflutteratu we learn that Fluttershy is a vampire and has been for years. So how does a vampire survive, even thrive, for years without killing anypony? Ponyville's blood drives are very successful.
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles: The Lower Alleys are the poor quarter of magical London, and have essentially banded together to look after each other and form a government of sorts because the Ministry doesn't care or bother about them. It's a rough place, but people know each other and ensure that no one slips through the cracks. When Harry semi-accidentally becomes part of the community, they protect her, keeping her safe in the Alleys and supporting her cover story even though they know it's false.

    Films — Animated 
  • Subverted in Beauty and the Beast. The villagers of Belle's town present themselves as this, but are quick to ostracize or even attempt to kill anyone who doesn't stick to their assigned role or is perceived as a threat in some other way.
  • San Angel, the protagonists' hometown in The Book of Life. It's one of those towns where everyone knows everyone, and is why the Sanchez family is so well remembered in the land of the dead.
  • In My Neighbor Totoro, the unnamed community the Kusakabes are moving to at the opening of the film proves to be this. Hardly surprising, since it's located not far from the border of Arcadia and the Ghibli Hills.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 1BR: Played for Horror. At first, the tenants of the apartment building Sarah moves into are a very friendly and sociable bunch. That said, it's soon revealed that they value their community to the point of Serious Business, practically brainwashing and psychologically torturing all new tenants into wanting to become permanent members of the community.
  • The Quirky Town in Desert Heat shows you just how close knit when everyone shoots the final bad guy, then argues about who shot first.
  • The titular town in Silver Lode starts out like this; the townspeople immediately side with Ballard when McCarty and his men ride into town with accusations of murder and theft, and quite a few of them grab their guns to defend him from the outsiders. Unfortunately, it doesn't take much for them to turn on him, which is facilitated by Ballard being a relative outsider who has only lived there for two years.

  • Absolutely Truly: The small town of Pumpkin Falls is a place where everyone has history with each other.
  • L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and all its sequels. Anne comments on how all the little old well-meaning ladies visited her before she went to college and their comments, delivered with the sweetness of intentions, made her dread the possibilities.
  • The town of Stoneybrook, Connecticut in The Babysitters Club. For example, three of the four original members grew up together as neighbors, Sixth Ranger Mallory used to be their babysitting charge, and Mary Anne's father and Dawn's mother were High-School Sweethearts.
  • The Prelapsarians in John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos; they will not move against Olympus while Phaetheusa is hostage, because of their respect for her father, even though he holds no formal position.
  • Dandelion Wine: The fictional town of Green Town, IL is the embodiment of this trope. The book features a series of vignettes that show the Spaulding boys' interactions with the town residents.
  • On Discworld, the Chalk. Tiffany Aching at one point describes how everyone did so because they knew her grandmother was watching them.
  • It's mentioned several times throughout the Earth's Children series that residents of any given Cavenote  look out for each other for their mutual benefit.
  • The village of Highbury in Emma. Although it's largely benevolent, news and gossip races around like wildfire. The need to keep up polite appearances can grate on Emma, because it forces her into company with people she dislikes to avoid generating gossip (such as Mrs. Elton). The smallness and lack of variety in society also results in the question "will Frank Churchill visit his father" being treated almost as seriously as a potential royal visit.
  • In Patricia C. Wrede's Frontier Magic novel Thirteenth Child, two women are waiting to welcome the family to Mill City, because the mother might have difficulty getting them all fed, given how late their arrival is; the man telling them this assures them that they look out for each other in Mill City.
  • District 12 from The Hunger Games - before Katniss volunteers to take her sister's place in the Games, the community deliberately overlooks the fact that Katniss breaks a major rule (imposed by the government nobody likes) every day to poach from the forest because she brings them meat. Despite that Katniss is a little girl, she gets an even trade from the members where possible and nobody exploits her. Her mom, an Apothecary, cares for the sick and injured villagers for no pay. Generally every citizen of District 12 is pretty altruistic and selfless.
  • In Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the town of Maycomb, Alabama is a small town where most notably, everyone knows everyone else’s business, which leads mostly to endless and generally harmless gossip—but more importantly, it makes the community extremely intimate and close-knit.
  • In L. M. Montgomery's Jane of Lantern Hill, Jane is struck by the friendliness of PEI. The narrator comments that she didn't realize that she had changed, no longer having her spirit crushed out of her by her grandmother.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium gives us hobbits, who only survived the Long Winter through helping each other out, and they only survive The Lord of the Rings thanks to sticking together. Frodo does exhibit some Small Town Boredom and his uncle is tired of Gossipy Hens, but in the end, the halflings are a Close-Knit Community, period. They're based on rural Englishmen, so...
  • Main Street Series: The main setting of Camden Falls, Massachusetts is one, especially the people who live in the Row House neighborhood. The Row House residents even have a communal Thanksgiving dinner together and all pitch in to throw a Surprise Party for the Fongs when Mrs. Fong is pregnant.
  • Miss Marple comes from one, St. Mary Meade, and is occasionally set to work in one of these.
  • The Ramblings in Septimus Heap. Mrs. Beetle stayed there because of it after she was widowed, instead of returning to her family and her late husband's in the Port — the families would not be as much help.
  • In Wen Spencer's Tinker, Pittsburgh sometimes shows shades of this. In Elfhome, Tinker and Oilcan are deliberately trying to foster it.
  • Tortall Universe: In Lady Knight, the refugee camp Haven eventually develops into one of these with Kel's encouragement.
  • The Village Tales series is set in one. And sometimes overbearing "looking after one another" (people tend to hide coughs lest, for example, Lady Crispin should turn up with a hamper and a thermos of beef-tea, or, worse, the Duke descend on them with more assistance than they want).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show also came off as one.
    • In one episode, a stranger came to town and acted all close knit, which creeped everybody out. Turns out he was planning to move to Maberry and subscribed to the local paper so he knew what everyone was up to.
  • Andor: The close community of Ferrix is quickly established by showing how the workers keep their gloves on a wall outside of their workplace with no worries about them being stolen or sabotaged by members of the community. As the series progresses this is built up further, with outsiders very much being on the outside when they're there despite tensions between locals and locals all being interconnected and well informed.
  • The titular town of Broadchurch is established as this, being a small seaside town where everyone knows each other. However, it's ultimately subverted as the series progresses, where pretty much everyone is hiding something or keeping some kind of secret, and it becomes clear that no one knows each other quite as well as they think they do.
  • Coronation Street, despite the high divorce and disaster rate is this. The show's more idealistic tone means the street is still a community where "folk look out for each other and come together in crisis" even though disaster is a bit more common than some of the other examples.
  • Portwenn in Doc Martin is like this, where everyone knows everyone else's business and will always go out of their way to do someone a favour. Whether you want them to or not in fact, something arch-misanthrope Martin absolutely hates.
  • Doctor Who: In "Daleks in Manhattan"/"Evolution of the Daleks", the New York Hooverville. De facto leader Solomon intentionally invokes it, breaking up a fight between two men over a loaf of bread and reminding everyone that they have to stick together if they want to survive.
  • Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. Hilariously Lampshaded when Paris barges in, trying to write an article for Chilton's school newspaper about the "dark secret" of the town. One analys of the show points to the fact that it's a walkable community as the cornerstone of this.
    Kendra Gaylord: So many of the things that make Gilmore Girls so dreamy is just a healthy community. You've got intergenerational friends, all of whom attend town hall meetings together. A grocery store in walking distance... Multiple affordable places to get a meal. There's outdoor music, art, events. There's public transit that brings you directly to your prestigious high school. You can easily walk around, and jaywalking is practically encouraged.
  • Overton, the farming village Glue is set in, is very small, with all the inhabitants knowing each other.
  • In Justified, the residents of Harlan County are an insular community. Everyone knows everyone and can tell you what you and your family have been up to all the way back to your great great grandpappy. For the most part, the residents are politely passive aggressive towards each other (The Bennetts vs. The Givenses, The Crowders vs The Bennetts, etc.), as each family represents a major (or aspiring) crime family, but they will always circle the wagons together against outsiders.
    Trooper Tom Bergen: Art, I've been in Harlan 18 years. People still look at me like I'm some kinda Yankee come down to burn their crops.
  • The clan of Harfoots shown in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, are a Wandering Culture, preferring to keep their existence hidden from other people. They lead a nomadic and bucolic lifestyle, which Here Nori Brandyfoot finds pretty boring and would rather explore the world. They look out after each other, that if you don't break the rules or can keep up with the rest of the group when they migrate.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Voyager's crew is portrayed as this right down to the gossip and difficulty of keeping secrets. Given that they are a small crew of 150-odd people, stuck on a single spaceship stranded on the other side of the galaxy, with no option of leaving if they ever want to get home, this was inevitable.
  • Little Tall Island from Stephen King's Storm of the Century. In fact, the villain says that the reason he chose to come to Little Tall was because he knew that they were a close-knit community who could pull together and "do what needs to be done." After the storm, Little Tall arguably moves from this into a Town with a Dark Secret.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • Maple Street was like this before the monsters were due.
    • In "Valley of the Shadow", a quirky town is close-knit. Turns out they have advanced science and don't want their secrets leaking out, pushing it toward Town with a Dark Secret.
  • This is exploited in the Without a Trace episode "Maple Street", when a young girl is kidnapped after getting a ride from someone she apparently knew and trusted. A few days later, her friend is kidnapped in the same way, as despite the frightening situation, she herself still trusted the guy enough to feel safe with him.

    New Media 
  • "A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale." Unlike an Uncanny Village, the inhabitants of Night Vale aren't hiding the various conspiracies, mysteries, and dangers in the town.

  • T. S. Eliot's "Choruses from The Rock"
    When the Stranger says: "What is the meaning of this city ?
    Do you huddle close together because you love each other?"
    What will you answer? "We all dwell together
    To make money from each other"? or "This is a community"?

    Tabletop Games 
  • Kithkin villages in the Lorwyn setting of Magic: The Gathering are all like this. When the world is warped into its darker variant Shadowmoor, their communal spirit is turned into outright xenophobia.
  • Fortitude in Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine. It's a gentle, lakeside place where people are mostly good to each other and don't need to lock their doors.
    Properties of Fortitude: You have a home in Fortitude.

    Video Games 
  • The towns in all Animal Crossing games are this on top of being filled with quirky townsfolk.
  • Harvest Moon:
    • Harmonica Town in Harvest Moon: Animal Parade is this, probably because it's a very rural setting and the only town on the island.
    • For that matter, all of the Rune Factory games have tight knit, small rural towns. Eventually, the player becomes a full member in these towns.
    • Really, quite a few Harvest Moon games could qualify. Mineral Town in Harvest Moon: Back to Nature is a shining example, where the townsfolks' relationships with each other are built upon fairly early on. Zephyr Town from Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar serves as another example, being extremely tiny, and practically the WHOLE ENTIRE VILLAGE shows up for EVERY festival, as well as pitching in for the town bazaar every week (and attending the results).
  • Link's hometown could count as this in most of the games, notably The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
  • Mother 3: Tazmily Village starts off as a tranquil and peaceful place, where everyone knows everybody and are aware that they are to co-exist for the greater good of each other, in peace, and they do. There is no need for deception or competition, as everything is shared; everybody has everything that they could ever need, so inequality is a very foreign term. That is, until Fassad comes along and the new version of Tazmily Village starts to break a solemn trust/bond everyone had with each other due to the changes.
  • Undertale: The Underground, where the monsters reside. Everyone seems to know each other, and people generally have each other's backs, even if there are inevitably some people who personally don't get along. This may be thanks to the fact that the Great Offscreen War led to most of the monsters' population being wiped out. (The war was apparently so one-sided, one NPC is considered a legend just for having survived it.) The few monsters who remained were then sealed in the Underground, trapped in a relatively small area together for what most think will be forever. If you play nice, the citizens of the Underground are rather fast to befriend you, accept you as being part of the community, and treat you as such.


    Western Animation 
  • Arthur: Elwood City. The parents in Arthur's class have exchanged contact information.
  • In King of the Hill, the Hill's neighborhood counts as one, and characters occasionally incorrectly assume the same of the town of Arlen, Texas as a whole. Beyond the obvious closeness between Hank's closest friends and their families, Hank is mentioned to have given speeches at the weddings of background characters, and many one-off characters are generally only one or two degrees of separation removed from the central cast.
  • In Lalaloopsy (the TV series) all of the characters know each other well enough that they can walk in to each others' houses (after they knock first) and stay over for the night without a second thought. Food is made or delivered, without payment of any kind, and people are frequently invited for meals. Everyone seems to have an interest in the performance or meeting of the day, as well.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Ponyville seems to be one of these, judging by Pinkie Pie's claim to know every resident and the degree to which the population volunteers for events like Winter Wrapup.
  • In The PJs, Thurgood's building is another "dysfunctional yet functional" example, mainly because it's located inside an economically struggling Vice City.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Boxwood Terrace, WA is a small, semi-mythical, science-based Quirky Town where all the residents are close to each other, and they're made even closer when Jet arrives. You can find almost all of the characters at town events like kart races, cooking contests, pumpkin growing competitions, Christmas pageants, Earth Day shows, watching the solar eclipse, going to the Open House at the DSA, mini-golf tournaments, and more.
  • Zigzagged with Springfield in The Simpsons. Everyone Went to School Together, everyone seems to know everyone else, and most of Springfield attends church together weekly, but people can still be turned against one another and riot frequently.
  • Gravity Falls: While it’s downplayed, the town is fairly close and takes part in various events together from fishing to The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: The Treeborhood has a grand total of 25 residents, so this means that each of them are naturally close with one another. The Treeborhood is probably the only neighborhood in all of fiction in which you are allowed to spill sand into someone's house.
  • Molly of Denali: Qyah is a very small town with a population of about 94 people (not including missing moose). As such, everyone knows and cares for each other, and word travels fast.