(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?
14 thoughts on “Top 10 Tuesday: Rebels in Literature”
Hurrah for the Scarlet Pimpernel! I love that you have a pirate on there, too. 🙂
I’m completely obsessed with Percy. 🙂 I don’t know much more about Anne Bonny than what I wrote in this post, but she’s worth researching some more. The history of piracy is fascinating, and very little like “The Pirates of the Caribbean.” Unless you count Blackbeard. 😀
Great list. I haven’t read anything by Wendy Shalit, but I’d love to. I’m supportive of the SlutWalks and the sexual liberation movement for women, but really sometimes I’m tired of all the in your face sexuality. It’s like everyone is preening onstage. Shouldn’t some things be private?
It’s a fine line (and getting finer all the time, I think). I’m not comfortable with everything Shalit says, but I’m really not comfortable with a lot of the things that third-wave feminists consider to be signs of power and equality. Perhaps it’s my way of avoiding confrontation, but I prefer to consider feminism to be something that each person should decide the parameters of on his/her own. Obviously there’s some overarching themes; but just as many feminists don’t believe that the government should have any control over their bodies, I don’t think that those same feminists should be able to tell me how I should behave with my body. (Forgive me if this makes zero sense; it’s late and I’m incapable of talking sociology at this hour!)
I had Percy Blakeney as my number one also. What a coincidence. I’ll bet we’re the only two. I recognized some but not all of your picks. I definitely agree with Oskar Schindler. I would have listed him but I didn’t go with any non-ficion rebels this time out.
Actually, you and I make three — Lieder, the first commenter on this post — has Percy on their list too. I’m glad to see him on so many lists this week!
I was surprised to find so many non-fiction rebels on my list. The more I thought and searched through my books, the more real people I kept finding. It’s nice to know what so many of the rebels I love are/were actual people. Makes me feel better about humanity.
Wow, you really did your homework this week! Great list and great commentary! I’ll have to check some of these out.
Homework, perish the thought! :p Actually, most of this stuff was rattling around in my head — I had to double-check on some of the Margaret Sanger stuff, though. Every TTT list is enjoyable, but I really had fun with this one.
Yes, do check them out. And tell me what you think!
Katsa! She is an awesome badass for sure. She’s the only character I’m familiar with but now I want to read Schindler’s List.
Graceling was one of my favorite reads of 2010, and I actually recently finished re-reading it. It’s just as awesome the second time around, and I enjoyed taking in the details that I missed the first time around. Katsa’s my hero.
Schindler’s List is a great book, and the movie is amazing as well. Obviously, though, it’s pretty rough. It took me a pretty long time to get through it, because I kept having to set it down for a day or so. But it’s a wonderful story, it’s written well, and it’s story worth remembering and telling.
I loved Judy Blume too. I read all of her books growing up.
Forever… totally threw me for a loop — I loved every minute of it. I need to go back and read some more of Blume’s works.
I absolutely agree with you re: Wendy Shalit. She’s a hero for the modesty movement.
I actually discovered Shalit in an Ethics class I took in college — we read A Return to Modesty, and it was the only book I liked all semester. And now I’ve read a couple more of her books. I think that some of the topics she discusses (such as the more strict Jewish traditions of modesty) might be a bit…impractical for most people, but I really enjoyed reading about the girls and women she interviewed who were standing up against the idea that sex = equality, or fulfillment, or happiness. Sex is a part of life, but I wonder at the contradictions in society regarding it.