Father, I Don't Want to Fight
Or, the one problem that the Proud Warrior Race Guy can't solve by beating the crap out of it. It turns out that his son (or more rarely daughter) has serious moral qualms about the fact that his culture basically functions on the premise of Might Makes Right, with all the negative things that implies.
If the violent culture is depicted as sympathetic, there's a chance the son may simply be portrayed as being misguided. In spite of this, they rarely ever completely come around to the thinking that the violent culture is in the right. He will very often be called out as being a sissy by anyone he runs into- at least until he rebels and goes off somewhere else.
Often occurs alongside My Species Doth Protest Too Much.
Anime & Manga
- In one episode of Ranma ½ a knock on the head rewrites Ranma's personality and s/he decides she wants to give up martial arts and take up flower arranging instead. She literally says this almost word for word to her father. Of course by the end everything is back to normal
- Subverted in Dragon Ball Z. Gohan doesn't like to fight, so he isn't able to release his full power against Cell at first. His rage-propelled powers don't even work when the villain beats the crap out of him, but they manifest finally when Cell attacks his loved ones. When Gohan achieves his new power level, he becomes a sadistic bastard who enjoys hurting his foe.
- Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion is probably anime's greatest example. In the first episode, he outright refuses to fight, mostly due to his own personal fears and uncertainties, combined with the fact his father left him years earlier and only called him because he had a use for him. Although he does come around by the end of episode 1, he constantly regrets this decision, and often times gives up on piloting, at one point only returning after realizing his not fighting could result in the destruction of all life on earth!...and Kaji guilting him into piloting.
Film -- Animated
- Subverted in How to Train Your Dragon. When the movie starts, Hiccup is upset that his father won't let him be a part of the Viking way of life, as Hiccup seems to screw things up every time he gets on the battlefield. Hiccup changes his mind when he realizes he can't bring himself to kill dragons- but unfortunately his father also had a change of heart when Gobber convinced him to enroll Hiccup in dragon-slaying classes. Hiccup is unable to convince his father that he's had a genuine change of heart on the subject.
- Lenny, the vegetarian, pacifist shark from Shark Tale. It is Played for Laughs, with crossdressing parallels.
- In The King's General this is Dick's attitude toward war and his father Richard Grenville after the timeskip. That he turned out this way wasn't that surprising, considering that before the timeskip he went faint at the sight of blood, and had to deal with his father belittling and insulting him for not being courageous enough all the time. The closest Dick gets to reconciliation with his father on this is when he betrays the royalists at the end of the book to avert another war, and Richard decides not to hold it against him.
- Mown in And Another Thing.... Particularly difficult because Vogon culture is not simply destructive, it is based on destruction. (And bureaucracy.)
- Okonkwo's son in Things Fall Apart is a variation of this, not living up to the strong masculine image his father (who was, in turn, an inversion of this with his own lazy father) had hoped for, as a result he is treated cruelly.
- Samwell Tarly in A Song of Ice and Fire is a very intelligent and sensitive boy, very much a Non-Action Guy (especially at the start of the series), born into a society that values boys who grow to be great knights and to a father who is especially keen on following those values. Thus most of Sam's early life was spent getting teased, beaten, chained to a wall, and even tortured to make him more of a man. Eventually his father took him on a hunting trip and gave him a choice. He could renounce his heritage, family, and home and go serve the Night's Watch, never to be aknowledged again, or he could find himself the victim of a hunting accident.
Live Action TV
- Worf's son Alexander from Star Trek: The Next Generation is adamant on not embracing the Klingon culture, having grown up in the peaceful, functional Federation one. This causes Worf much consternation, because he knows that Alexander will be eaten alive by Klingon politics the minute he inevitably tries to initiate reform. A time-traveling future Alexander indicates that this is exactly what happens.
- 24: A terrorist's son finds he doesn't want to be a part of his family's mission.
- In Angel one of the reasons Lorne was so happy to leave his home dimension and never return was because his species views all conflicts as black and white issues to be resolved using violence, while he could actually see the other point of view. His mother was not pleased.
Lorne's mother: Numfar, do the dance of shame!
- In a more mundane sense, Frasier had this relationship with his father. When he was a boy, Frasier always avoided fighting his bullies while Martin always urged him to do otherwise. Martin said it was because Frasier needed to stand up for himself, and Frasier complained that Martin wouldn't be happy until he came home with a bloody nose.
- In the Flanders and Swann song "The Reluctant Cannibal", a father is ashamed of his son who refuses to eat people.
- The Peter, Paul & Mary song "The Great Mandala" is about a man who gets thrown in prison for refusing to fight in a war. His entire society and his father in particular are pissed off at and ashamed of him. The guy winds up dying during a hunger strike without having made a bit of difference.
- Enrique in Skies of Arcadia spends much of his screen time complaining to his mother the Empress about how vicious and cruel the Armada is. As a result, it comes as little surprise when he helps Vyse and friends escape the Grand Fortress in his Super Prototype ship.
- The Unsworth family in Knights in The Nightmare has supplied the kingdom with knights for generations; although it's traditional, Nina (one of the Unsworth kids) never wanted to be a knight and was forced to join the army against her will. Her superior officer mentions having seen her cry about it.
- Drowtales example: Ariel learns about this trope the hard way. She's hardly an angel herself, but the thought of being proud to have murdered someone just because they are an enemy of her clan.... It ultimately comes down to a Sadistic Choice between said enemy and one of her few allies, and after she kills the enemy she's pretty clearly traumatized by the aftermath.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender tries a more nuanced variant of this once it starts developing the backstory of its original villain: it isn't that Zuko doesn't want to fight, it's that he didn't want to fight like this, specifically like psychopaths...and his father burned part of his face off and sent him on a Snipe Hunt in such a manner that he sincerely believes he needs to redeem himself from this dishonorable weakness.
- He also pulled a pretty literal 'father, I don't want to fight' when he was thirteen and the honor duel he accepted over his argument that sacrificing your own soldiers for a tactical advantage was shitty behavior turned out to be with his Dad, instead, and while Ozai orders him to get up and fight he just prostrates himself and begs, because he's not a psychopath and still doesn't understand that his father is.
- Eventually he gets around to a comprehensive rejection of The Empire's principles and Calling the Old Man Out. Mind you, there is a distinctly martial edge to his rebellion, too, but if it weren't in the spirit of this trope he could have shot the lightning right back at him instead of just hitting the wall and proving he could do something Ozai couldn't and rising above the murder attempt. Bad tactics, high on pacifism, especially considering where he's coming from. Like a My Species Doth Protest Too Much Heel Face Turn, but it's just ethnonational groups, not actual separate species.