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Maybe their home is a Dying Town or The Old Country, maybe they live in an urban ghetto, or maybe most people are just bored with life Down on the Farm. Hardly anyone seems to want to live there, but finances, family obligations or lack of will to leave keep most people there for good. But every so often, there's one who makes it out- usually to college or to a lucrative job, but sometimes they just up and leave. People in the town usually admire them for their tenacity but tend to resent them for leaving if the community isn't as close-knit.

Character trope. Can overlap with The Runaway.

Tropes used in The One Who Made It Out include:

Anime and Manga

  • Jack Atlas of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, who did it by betraying Yusei in his backstory.
  • Gary is one of these early in Pokémon. For example: Before Gold/Silver were announced, he shows off 10 badges when anyone who played the game knew you could only get 8. Additionally, he has a chauffeur and is always accompanied by fangirls and his own cheerleader squad.
  • Hojo and Asami, the main characters of Sanctuary, escaped from the Killing Fields of Cambodia under Khmer Rouge as children, and work together to reform the political system of Japan, one from "on top" as a diet member, and one from "underneath" as a yakuza boss. Atypically, they claim that they didn't make it out of Cambodia because they were clever or driven, but because they were lucky.

Comic Books

  • Depending on the Writer, continuity reboot status, medium, etc., in various permutations of the Superman franchise, Clark Kent is occasionally given this treatment for having made it from Smallville to Metropolis.
  • Part of the reason the Yancy Street Gang hate the Thing in Fantastic Four is that Ben Grimm is a former Yancy Streeter who got out, and they think he's forgotten his roots.
  • In Black Lightning, Jefferson Pierce is the one who made it out of the ghetto and then came back to teach in the high school and help others make it out.
  • Since Luke Cage became a globally prominent superhero, some characters have occasionally accused him of forgetting his roots as a hero of the downtrodden in New York City. He doesn't take it very kindly, especially not when a young upstart uses this to justify taking up Luke's abandoned "Power Man" codename.
  • In The Boondocks, Huey and Riley were originally from a run-down inner-city Chicago slum. They weren't all that happy about being sent away to live with their grandfather Robert in the suburb of Woodcrest. Robert himself is a former Tuskeegee Airman who has worked his whole life to get where he is.
    • According to an in-universe documentary, Thugnificent's hometown was so poor that many locals couldn't afford clothes. The underfunded police department gave up on the place and built a fence around it. Thanks to his musical career, he can now afford a Big Fancy House in Woodcrest.



  • Janice and Larry, the older Grape siblings from What's Eating Gilbert Grape. They only come back for Arnie's birthday party at the end of the book.
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe Elseworld novel The Infinity Doctors, some young Gallifreyans treat The Doctor as this, and are bemused as to why he has come back.
  • In Discworld, Lancre is "the place people come from to become successful somewhere else" (usually Ankh-Morpork). Opera singer Enrico Basilica grew up in Rookery Yard, in the Shades, where "you could fight your way out, or you could sing your way out" (or you could get out by going through an alley into Shamlegger Street, but no-one came to anything going that way).
  • The non-fiction book In Search Of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio follows the lives of Puerto Rican crack dealers in El Barrio. One managed to make it out, getting through high school (a rarity in the neighbourhood at the time) and college (almost unheard of) to make it into the middle class and move into a safer neighbourhood. He had to be careful going back home to adopt all his old mannerisms so that he wasn't ostracised, and had to keep his background hidden from his wealthy neighbours when at home.

Live Action TV

  • Tasha Yar of Star Trek: The Next Generation was originally from the planetary equivalent of Bosnia, but managed to get a job with Starfleet.
  • This is a major theme in Justified. Harlan County is very poor and many of the characters dream of leaving and starting a better life somewhere else. However, few actually follow through with this.
    • Raylan Givens is actually one of the characters who actually made it out of Harlan. Faced with either working in the coal mine for the rest of his life or becoming a criminal like his father, he left Kentucky and became a U.S. marshal. He is understandably quite unhappy that when he is assigned to the Kentucky office at the beginning of the series.
    • Bowman Crowder and his wife Ava wanted to get out of Harlan and believed that as a local football star Bowman would get a college scholarship and then have a professional sports career. When it turned out that he was not good enough for a scholarship, he went to work in the coal mine and became an Abusive Spouse. After Ava kills Bowman she has a chance to leave Kentucky but decides to stay.
    • The main motivation behind Mags Bennet's actions is to provide her grandchildren with the opportunity to go to college and get away from the criminal life she and her sons are living.
  • Frequently parodied with Tracy Jordan on Thirty Rock.
  • Welcome Back, Kotter: Gabriel Kotter made it out of the Brooklyn "ghetto", became a teacher, and then moved back to teach in his old neighborhood.


Video Games

  • If Shepard has the 'Earthborn' background in Mass Effect, s/he escaped a childhood of petty crime on the streets by joining the military. In the first game, several members of Shepard's old gang who weren't as lucky attempt to blackmail him/her into doing them a favor by threatening to reveal Shepard's past. Shepard, of course, can choose how to handle it.
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