Top Ten Tuesday: Rebel, Rebel!

Top Ten Tuesday is a rockin' weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is Top Ten Rebels in Literature (authors or characters).

10. Elizabeth Bennett and Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice): Elizabeth is a feminist as is her maker.  Austen's cleverness to present her satire in the language of the typical women's "closet read," while all the while questioning the conventionality of her time, and marriage as an institution.

9. Upton Sinclair (The Jungle): Upton Sinclair fought the man, the awful, slaughterhouse man, and stood up for worker's rights.

8. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games Trilogy): Katniss wavers a bit, but overall, she is a rebel, unwilling to bow to the leaders of Panem.

7. James Frey (A Million Little Pieces): Love him or hate him, Frey is a literary rebel.  He took on Oprah, and also the definitions of truth and fiction (that's a pretty big opponent).

6. James Joyce (Ulysses): I used to have a professor who would say that Joyce was the writer that could piss higher than any other.  Joyce rebelled against the conventional form of the novel, although he certainly wasn't the only, or even the first, writer to do it.

5. The Narrator (Invisible Man): When we meet Ellison's unnamed narrator at the beginning of the book, he is underground, stealing power.  He is an invisible rebel.

4. Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis): Little Marjane is a teenage rebel, listening to rock and roll in a country that forbids it.  But of course, she is a bigger rebel than that.

3. Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran): Azar Nafisi risked her life to teach literature.  How awesome and rebellious is that?

2. Frederick Douglass (The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass): Douglass rebelled when he learned how to read, and the written word helped him build a path to freedom.

1. Hester Prynne (The Scarlet Letter): I've found a way to bring it in again.  Hester was a rebel and an outcast from a society that didn't accept her. She refused to placate them with conventionality.

BONUS: Here is a quote (from Goodreads) from David Foster Wallace on literary rebels:

"The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows. "
David Foster Wallace ("E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction")


  1. Seems as though Josh Ritter might fit Foster Wallace's definition of a new literary rebel: Let me know what you think...
    And I agree wholeheartedly on Marjane and Douglass and Nafisi. Don't get me started on Frey, though.

  2. You picked some real heroes and rebels. I agree with many on your list and wish mine were more thoughtful. Frederick Douglass, of course. Nafsi, yes. She was so brave!, Setrapi, what a life!

  3. Oh you made some wonderful choices... Nafsi is amazing and also love Lizzie Bennet.

  4. I've seen Katniss in a few lists now and can't BELIEVE I didn't think to put her on mine!

    My Top Ten Rebels

  5. Thanks for stopping by. It's been so long since I've read The Scarlet Letter, but I wanted to put Hester Prynne on my list. I just couldn't remember anything in detail to put her on it.

  6. I love that Katniss and Elizabeth Bennett are both on your list. They're ace.

  7. Shockingly I haven't read that many on your list. Great list though and very moving I think too. Love the quote!

  8. Good call on James Frey. And Marjane Satrapi is awesome!

  9. I haven't read The Hunger Games, but I definitely thought 'wow, everyone's going to have that Katniss girl on their lists!'- You haven't let me down hehe!

  10. I like the mix of characters and authors.

  11. Oh Elizabeth Bennett!
    I totally forgot about her!

    My list

  12. Great choices.
    I also picked Lizzie Bennet but forgot about Hester.
    Here's my Top Ten

  13. I love DFW quote, thanks for this bonus.

  14. It's great that you have Marjane on your list! Persepolis was really my first graphic novel and I enjoyed it thoroughly!

  15. I really disliked Katniss as a person so I kept her off my list, haha. Petty, I know. But I love your inclusion of James Frey and Hester Prynne. Actually, I love your love of The Scarlet Letter in general :)

  16. Your choices are fabulous and I feel slightly like I should have made some bolder ones, but it's so difficult to think of on the spot. That's why I love this meme as it reminds you of things you might have otherwise missed.

  17. Thanks for visiting my list at Jorie's Reads. . . Frederick Douglass is a great choice, too.


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