(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Want to make your own list? Clicking the image will take you to this week’s post. Happy listing!)
You gotta love rebels. They’re the ones who stand up against tyrants, evil creatures, and the status quo. This week’s list is a tribute to literature’s best rebels — real or imagined.
1. Sir Percival Blakeney (The Scarlet Pimpernel) – A British nobleman who risks his own life to save members of the French aristocracy from “Madame Le Guillotine.” And, boy, does he do it with panache — disguises, sarcasm, swash and buckle, wit, and bravery.
2. Sebastian Prendergast (The House of Tomorrow) – A boy who lives in a bubble (really) discovers punk music with the help of a chain-smoking boy from the nearby town. Sebastian is torn between his extremely sheltered upbringing, and the lure of music and love. One makes him miserable; the other makes him feel alive for the first time ever.
3. Katsa (Graceling) – General badass. She rebels against being used by her uncle for political gain. But I love Katsa even more because, unlike every other female Young Adult fiction character, she doesn’t want to get married or have children. She doesn’t fawn over a boy, she’s her own person, and she lives her life the way she wants. She’s my favorite on this list.
4. Oscar Schindler (Hero) – As a Nazi businessman, Oscar Schindler first looked at the persecution of the Jews as a chance to secure cheap labor for his factories; but as the war ground on, and as Hitler quickly devolved into a psychopath, Schindler began to use his wealth and power to save the very people he first thought should be used as pack mules. He rebelled against one of the most powerful dictatorships the world has ever seen, and saved almost 1,200 Jews in the process. If you haven’t seen the film “Schindler’s List,” or read the book of the same name, you should.
5. Wendy Shalit (Author) – With such books as A Return to Modesty and Girls Gone Mild, Shalit is the other side of the feminist coin. While many famous feminists promote the idea that being just as sexual as men is what will win women equality, Shalit believes that the pressure on young women (and young men) to be overtly sexual is just as unhealthy as is scaring them into being abstinent. Her writings are not looked on with favor by many feminists, and I don’t agree with everything she says either, but it’s nice to hear a different perspective. The more views I have on the subject, the more I can use to form my own idea of what a feminist looks like.
6. Margaret Sanger (Activist, author) – In 1916, Sanger opened the first family planning and birth control clinic in the United States. Sanger was a rebel because she broke every Comstock law of the early 20th century, and was jailed multiple times for giving girls and women solid information on such scandalous topics as family planning, contraceptive devices, and puberty/menstruation. She was arrested at least eight times for speaking publicly in favor of birth control when it was a federal crime to do so. She promoted education, both for married women and young girls/teens. And despite accusations of racism and the desire to create a “pure” form of humanity through eugenics, Sanger is often credited as the leader of the modern birth control movement. She wasn’t perfect by any means, but her efforts helped give women access to medical care and advice, which is something I fully support.
7. Judy Blume (Author) – I read some Judy Blume as a kid, but I never knew that so many of her writings have been censored or banned in school libraries across the country. Forever…, her novel about first-time love and sex, was an eye-opener for me even though I didn’t read it until after college. Blume writes about topics like death, teen sexual experiences, masturbation, puberty, bullying…all the stuff that is ripe for banning. I love her.
8. Anne Bonny (Pirate) – Not much is known about Anne Bonny, and even the information we do have is a bit sketchy. She and her friend Mary Read, with the assistance of Captain “Calico Jack” Rackham, stole the pirate ship Revenge and set out to sea with a crew. I love both these ladies because they snubbed their noses at society and did what they wanted, commanding power and respect in a world where being a woman was usually punishable by death.
Who are some of your favorite rebels in literature?