Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Rebels

Happy Tuesday! It is I, Christina, happy to share with you my Top Ten Rebels in Literature. (Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly hop hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.) Keep an eye out for catalysts- I gotta give props where props are due. Here we go, in no particular order:

1. Bethia Mayfield of Caleb's Crossing
Bethia is fresh in my mind because I just finished reading her (fictional) life's story last week. She doesn't shake the world with her rebelliousness, but she does spend her life rebelling in small ways. She befriends Caleb, a "salvage." She absorbs all sorts of forbidden book learnin' from her father, later eavesdropping on verboten Harvard lectures. And she utters a well-deserved blasphemous oath against her brother, even though he's higher in the Puritan hierarchy of persons than she is. Go Bethia! I would like to name a cat after you.

2. Gurion Maccabee of The Instructions
I also read The Instructions very recently, and that might be part of why Gurion sprang so quickly to my mind when I started thinking about this list. He's, pardon my French, a total badass. Everyone wants him to be a Nice Jewish Boy, but he believes God wants him to lead the Isrealites and bring the Messiah. So he just runs with that, totally flounting expectations at every turn. But he really gets the ball rolling in that direction after he falls in love with shiksa Eliza June Watermark, his catalyst. Gurion believes that waspy, redheaded June must really be an Israelite (as he says, "God wouldn't fall me in love with a Gentile") and decides that he wants to be the Messiah so that the worldwide Israelite community will accept June as one of their own. Hm... this is kinda complicated. You should just read the book.

3. Guy Montag of Fahrenheit 451
I'm guessing Guy will show up on a lot of lists today. It's pretty obvious how he's a rebel, so I'm not going to go into that. But I do want to point out that he, too, has a catalyst: Clarisse McClellan. With her unconventional philosophies and untimely death, she inspires him to rebellion.

4. Wilbur Larch of The Cider House Rules
Ok, touchy subject, putting an abortionist on my list of favorite rebels. Just hear me out. Dr. Larch provides women with a choice ("an abortion or an orphan") during a time when women's health is a pretty low priority in American society. And he doesn't come to this position lightly. He hems and haws over whether or not to perform an illegal but safe abortion for Miss Eames (yep, another catalyst) and while he's trying to decide what to do she goes to a shady clinic and then dies from a botched abortion. Larch spends his life performing secret but safe abortions in an effort to save women from dying after back-room procedures... that's pretty rebellious, wouldn't you say?

5. Orleanna Price of The Poisonwood Bible
I loved this when I read it, but it's been ages. My husband reminded me about Orleanna when I mentioned the topic to him, and she's a great example of rebellion. When she and her family arrive in Congo, she is passive and accepting of her overzealous preacher husband. As his extremism intensifies, she eventually comes to resist him. I don't want to give too much away, but her daughter Ruth May is a major catalyst.

6. Scarlett O'Hara of Gone With the Wind
Some of us love her and some of us hate her, but there's no denying that Scarlett does whatever she wants and she usually comes out on top. She says "pfffft" to silly societal mores. I admire that in a woman.

7. Jonas of The Giver
If you've read this, you know that Jonas is a wonderful character and a rebel. His catalyst is The Giver. I don't want to say more because it's SUCH a beautiful book and I'd hate to give anything away for future readers.

8. Claude Rawlings of Body and Soul

Claude is a child prodigy who spends his early childhood living in poverty with his negligent mother. I'm not sure he's really a rebel, but he does overcome a pretty awful beginning. I'm running out of ideas here.

9. Max of Where the Wild Things Are
Max gets sent to his room for general naughtiness, culminating in back-talk: "I'll eat you up!" He rebels by traveling (in his imagination) to a land where he gets to be king. Imagination is the root of rebellion, I think. Max is a good little rebel in the making.

10. Olivia of the Olivia books
Miss Olivia is one of my favorite book (and TV show) characters ever. Yes, she's a pig who acts like a smart, sassy 7-year-old girl. What's not to like? She marches to the beat of her own drummer, and that's a form of rebellion in itself, right? I think so. I love her.

Oh MAN, that took forever! Why was it so hard for me to come up with ten rebels? I'm sure that when I hop around and see everyone else's lists I'll see lots of names I should have remembered.