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Rejection Ritual

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Many cultures and organizations have formalized and/or ritualized ways of casting someone out of their group, usually as a punishment for gross misconduct. These usually involve some form of action that symbolizes the rejection of the person being cast out, as well as a formalized speech or statement. The person being cast out may also have to do something to reflect their status.

The Exile results directly from this; a Persona Non Grata can also receive this treatment. When this is done in the military or on a job, it's an Insignia Rip-Off Ritual.

Spoilers ahead!


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    Comic Books 
  • Cerebus the Aardvark: Cerebus' hometown has "lockout", a form of shunning signified by the townspeople closing and locking their doors as someone tries to approach their homes. Cerebus suffers this for missing his father's death and funeral while running around with his lover Jaka, which the townsfolk see as immensely disrespectful and shameful.
  • Judge Dredd features a rare heroic example. Retiring Judges who don't want to take a desk job may choose to take The Long Walk. It includes a ceremony with a gun salute, after which the ex-Judge is exiled into the Cursed Earth outside Mega City to bring the Law to the mutants and criminals there.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: When Simba exiles Kovu, the various animals/courtiers present sing a chant calling him "disgrace, an outrage! Desecrator! Agitator!" He is forced to run a gauntlet on the way out. The chants final verse states; "Let him run. Let him live. But do not forget what we cannot forgive. He is not one of us. He will never be one of us." It's undone later when Simba realizes he was wrong and Kovu is not a bad lion.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Pitch Perfect: The day after the new Bellas get brought into the group, two are kicked out for having had sex with a Treblemaker the previous evening. One isn't shown, but the other is forced to drag her chair off to the side on her way out. Later Beca is almost forced out and starts to drag her chair away, before being called back into the group.
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Homer Stokes' political defeat is cemented when he offends his audience enough that they literally run him out of town on a rail.

  • Anathem is named after the mathic world's ritual of singing a song to members who are leaving (or being kicked out) of their cloister. The word is a portmanteau of "anthem" and "anathema."
  • The Black Magician Trilogy: Akkarin and Sonea are exiled as punishment for practicing black magic. This involves all of the present magicians in the Guild taking it in turns to tell them "I cast you out. Do not enter my lands again." and tear a small rip in their uniform robes. Rothen and Dannyl refuse to complete the ritual for Sonea, instead wishing her luck.
  • Clan of the Cave Bear: The Clan have a ritual called the Death Curse the medicine man does to make a person "dead." Nobody acknowledges the person and it's implied that Your Mind Makes It Real—they really can't see them, and the person figures that if they're dead, they'll just lay down and die. Ayla has this done to her twice; the first time it's just for a month, but the second time it's permanent. She doesn't actually die either time though.
  • Several of the Deryni novels include excommunications. During the excommunication scene in the first trilogy, one candle doesn't go out when cast to the floor; it's revealed later on that one of the bishops has reasons to sympathize with Morgan and Duncan.
  • In Harry Harrison's Eden trilogy, a Yilanè can be cast out of her city with a simple but formalized denouncement, including being stripped of her name and place among the other Yilanè. Because their psychology is so tied to community and home, this is such a shock that, except for a few whose base loyalty is tied to a different focus, swift death is inevitable.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Some crimes in dwarven society are punishable by a form of banishment known as vargrimstn, where they treat the exile as though they had ceased to exist. Eragon notes how chilling it is when after one high-ranked dwarf is pronounced banished, the other dwarves act as though his continued ranting is just ambient noise, and when he grabs hold of one of the other council members, the guards that pull him away do so with an attitude suggesting that they're just helping the councilor straighten his clothes.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: When Gandalf returns to the Fellowship as Gandalf the White and confronts Saruman for his working with Sauron:
    Behold, I am not Gandalf the Grey, whom you betrayed. I am Gandalf the White, who has returned from death. You have no colour now, and I cast you from the order and from the Council. Saruman, your staff is broken.
  • In the Rihannsu novels, the ultimate form of dishonor for the Romulans is to have one's name thrice written and thrice burned by the Senate, after which one is considered an Un-person and one's name may never be spoken again. This happens to Ael t'Rllaillieu after she teams up with the Enterprise against her own government in My Enemy, My Ally, and many of the Free Rihannsu rebels in the fifth book still refuse to speak her name despite her being a leading member of the rebellion. It's undone after she becomes empress.
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry: All of the African-American children literally turn their backs on a fellow student whose actions led to the white county board firing a black teacher.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Eddard Stark, then-Hand of the King, issues a formal decree declaring Ser Gregor Clegane a "false knight", stripping him of lands and titles, declaring him an outlaw and sending a party to apprehend him. However, the legal consequences of this are soon cancelled as Stark is deposed by a coup (and the apprehending party themselves are declared outlaws).
  • Warhammer 40,000 novels:
    • Faith and Fire describes the ritual through which a Battle Sister chooses to be cast out of her Order and become a Sister Repentia. The Sister announces herself as bearing a great sin and desiring this fate as her means of absolution as her fellow Sisters strip her of her armor and weapons, clothe her in rags, and use a knife to cut off her hair, announcing their rejection of her until her sin is forgiven.
    • The Forges of Mars trilogy features a lupine-themed "pack" of Titans accompanying the Mechanicus expedition the books revolve around. In the second book, the Warhound Titan Amarok is grievously damaged in a moment's lapse of attention by its Princeps, and as a punishment for the Titan's loss he is "made omega". As a proclamation of his banishment is made by the "pack" leader, his uniform insignia are torn off and his cheeks and throat are slashed just deeply enough to leave permanent scars. He is later brought back into the pack when it's clear that his experience is needed to help fight off the antagonist's invasion.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation's expansion of the Klingons and their culture included the introduction of discommendation, in which a Klingon is ceremonially shunned and reduced to an honorless pariah in their society. In the ceremony, the Klingons present cross their arms in front of the discommendee and turn their backs on him. In "Sins of the Father", Worf was subjected to this as a result of the charges brought against his family by the Duras family. In "Reunion", Duras crossed his arms and turned away from Worf with a sneer when Worf challenged him for the Right of Vengeance. Unfortunately for him, it turns out Worf is here for the one thing that will still let him legally challenge and kill Duras:
    Worf: K'Ehleyr... was my mate.
    Duras: (Oh, Crap!)
  • Happy Days: Fonzie tries to join Howard's Leopard Lodge but he gets blackballed. It turns out that Howard is the one who blackballed him, knowing that the Lodge doesn't fit Fonzie's personality and he wouldn't be happy there.

    Religion And Mythology 

  • Plain And Fancy: The first act ends with the shunning of Peter. The Amishmen and women all file past Peter, turning away as they pass him.

    Video Games 
  • Stonekeep: A dwarf companion of yours is declared an "uck-tugoth"—he is ritually cast out of dwarf society and declared an undwarf by the elder of his clan for disobeying him.
  • Battle for Wesnoth: During the campaign "The Hammer of Thursugan'', when the protagonists run across a party of masked dwarves raiding a village in search of slaves.
    The Law speaks: You are cast out. I strip you of your names, you are un-dwarf!
  • Star Trek Online deconstructs in the episode "Warzone", mission "The House Always Wins". Chancellor J'mpok orders Councillor Torg to be discommendated and the House of Torg dissolved for conspiring with the Romulan Star Empire to destroy the rival House of Martok. The Klingons present ritually turn their backs on him, but Torg decides on Taking You with Me and attempts to backstab Worf. Worf's son Alexander jumps in front of the knife and bleeds out in Worf's arms.
  • Them's Fightin' Herds: Oleander's quest begins with her banishment from the Sacred Grove in a back-turning ritual shunning.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: In "Homer the Great", Homer joins the secret organisation known as "The Stonecutters" but gets kicked out for desecrating the Hallowed Sacred Parchment. His punishment is to be stripped naked, shackled to a rock called the "stone of shame", and ordered to drag the rock with him as he walked home. Once they see his birthmark, they decide he's The Chosen One—and attach the even larger "stone of triumph"!
  • The Total Drama series, like many of the elimination game shows it parodies, features a ritualized expulsion of players who have been Voted Off the Island. The "Flush of Shame" in Season 5, where eliminated players are flushed down a giant toilet, is the most cartoonish but otherwise typical.
  • South Park: In "Douche and Turd", Stan is banished from South Park for refusing to vote. His ritual consists of him being tied to a horse with a bucket on his head while everyone spits on him and rips his coat as the horse rides away.

    Real Life 
  • Blackballing is a method of rejection through secret ballot, traditionally done by casting a black or white ball into a box.
  • Ancient Athens had "ostracism," where every year a vote was held to banish one citizen for ten years. When the ten years were up, the banished person could come back with no further repercussions, unless they managed to get ostracized again. The word "ostracize" comes from "ostrokon", meaning pottery shards, which were used as ballots in this practice.