05 July 2011

TTT: Rebels

I looked up The Broke and the Bookish’s upcoming Top Ten Tuesdays, and I loved this one (and next week’s, so stay tuned! and participate!), so we’re at it again. Top ten rebels (characters or authors) in literature—those people who stood up for what they believe in despite the cost of doing so. I maybe stretched it slightly to also include people just filled with moxie. Because don’t we all wish we could be like them?

Gone with the Wind—Well we have to start with Rhett Butler, don’t we? Not received in Charlestown, not even by his own family. Blockade runner. Pirate. Frequenter of brothels (okay, maybe just Belle Watling's). Mocker of the Confederacy. Friend of Jesse James. Yes indeed, he’s at the top.

The Fountainhead—While I’m no supporter of Ayn Rand’s philosophies, I have to put Howard O’Rourke as my second rebel. The man is gutsy. Seriously, nearly every other character in the novel is out to get him, yet he still succeeds. Without showing any sign of weakness. And he gets the girl.

Little Women—She may not be exactly what they had in mind, but Jo March is all kinds of courageous. She works for her Aunt March, she goes off to New York alone, she struggles to get her stories published. Plus she feels terribly confined by her societal role as a woman and (to a certain extent) fights it. And as Jo is a reflection on her creator and her life, I’m adding Louisa May Alcott to this list.

While we’re discussing authors, George Eliot. Openly living with a married man for twenty years in the Victorian age? No wonder she used a pseudonym.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix—How could we make a rebel list without Sirius Black? Though he appears in multiple HP books, it’s OOTP that really shows his disregard for rules and his own safety, especially when provoked (by Snape) or protective (of Harry). We all cry a little at the end.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Another HP character who is in several books, Dobby the house elf. Sure, he’s a bit ridiculous with his adoration of Harry and his love for socks, but he does not back down. Just watched the movie again with my sister, and the scene at the end where he stands up to Bellatrix: “Dobby is a free elf, and Dobby has come to save Harry Potter and his friends!” How can you not love him?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestRandle Patrick McMurphy is a crazy (but not actually crazy—but maybe?) inmate in Nurse Ratched’s mental hospital. The entire novel revolves around his rebellion against Nurse Ratched and the way he helps the other patients stand up for themselves. You can’t help but admire him.

Peace Like a River—I love this story, and I love Davy Land. He protects his family and his girlfriend and then avoids his fate by breaking out of jail and riding away on a horse. Classic. (Sunny Sundown is pretty awesome, too.)

Last, but certainly not least (in fact, I’d argue he’s highest on my list, that’s why we saved him, best for last and all that), author Salman Rushdie. Freaking goodness. He infuriated an entire religion with The Satanic Verses, and 23% of the entire global population is Muslim* (in 2009 per Wikipedia). A fatwa was issued against him. He lived in who-knows-where hiding for ten years. His wife left him. He was not able to see his son. Talk about standing up for what you believe in despite the cost of doing so.

Okay, your turn. Favorite literary rebels?

*I am well aware that not all Muslims agreed with the fatwa or were even offended by the book. I want to make sure you know that too.


  1. Good one. Yes, Randle McMurphy was certainly a rebel in the James Dean definition of the word. I love the picture of your 4th of July cake. New follower!

  2. Oh my, I LOVE Peace Like a River. I love all those characters. It's one of my favorite books. I also quite love Ayn Rand's character Equality 7-2521 in Anthem. I read Anthem for the first time in fourth grade and I've always loved his character.

  3. I'm not reading Guernsey again, just listening to it while I shift at work. And it's Infections and Inequalities. And no I haven't finished, although I made significant progress in the Philippines. I'm reading The Phantom Tollbooth right now.

  4. I just knew Rhett would be first to be listed!!! And I hope the Muslim dissidents (sp?) aren't reading your blog!

  5. Good list. I almost included Jo March and Salman Rushdie is definitely a rebel. This is my first visit to your blog, which I am now following.

    Check out my list at The Scarlet Letter .

  6. I had to think on this a bit, and I think that one of my favorites literary rebels is Scout Finch. She sneaks around in such a childlike and curious way, and Atticus knows it the whole time. In her rebel-ness she learns about love, and I love that.

  7. PS I don't know if you remember this post from way back, but Gone with the Wind is very much Netflix streamable. I know.