Outcast (person)

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For other uses, see outcast (disambiguation).

An outcast is someone who is rejected or 'cast out', as from home or society,[1] or in some way excluded, looked down upon, or ignored. In common English speech an outcast may be anyone who doesn't fit in with normal society, which can contribute to a sense of isolation.

History[edit]

Pariahs of Madras a German engraving, 1870's

In Ancient Greece the Athenians had a procedure known as "ostracism" in which all citizens could write a person's name on a shard of broken pottery (called ostraka) and later place it in a large container in a public location. If an individual were to have his or her name written a sufficient number of times, they would be subject to "ostracism" and banished from the city for ten years. This was normally practiced against individuals who had behaved in a manner that was in some way offensive to the community.

Exiles[edit]

To be exiled is to be away from one's home (i.e. city, state or country), while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return. It can be a form of punishment. Exile can also be a self-imposed departure from one's homeland. Self-exile is often seen to be in some way a protest by the person that claims it, to avoid persecution or legal matters ( tax, criminal allegations, or otherwise), through shame or repentance, or perhaps to isolate oneself in order to devote time to a particular thing. Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[2] states that, "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."

In the Bible[edit]

In the Old Testament, Ishmael, the son of Abraham, was cast out after the birth of Isaac, his half-brother, who is considered the forebear of the Israelites. Genesis 16:12 of the Bible prophesies Ishmael's life as an outcast: "And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren."[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Outcast | Define Outcast at Dictionary.com". Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  2. ^ "Article 9". Ichrp.org. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  3. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Etymonline.com. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 

External links[edit]