THE REBEL – Critical Appreciation of the Poem & Exercises

THE REBEL – (D. J. Enright)

Write a character sketch of the rebel in this poem.
What does D. J. Enright want to say in this poem?
What makes a young man rebellious? What should be our attitude towards him?

‘The Rebel’ is a humorous poem motivated by a serious idea. Through the character of rebel the poet wants to emphasize the importance of individual liberty. Their eccentric behaviour has psychological reasons. They suffer from inferiority complex due to being the victim of neglect, and try to attract attention and appraisal of other people. The rebels are serious and solemn in themselves but they look funny and non-serous to us.

The rebels in this poem the poem gives us the views, habits and manners of a young man, who is different from other people in every matter. Such a young man is called rebel by the poet. The rebel tries to assert his individuality everywhere. He is completely different from other people. For example, he grows long hair, when other people have short hair. When every body has long hair, the rebel cuts his hair short. When every body talks during the lesson the rebel remains silent. When every body is silent in the class the rebel keeps on speaking and produces a disturbance in the class.

When the people wear a uniform or simple dress, the rebel wears fantastic and colorful cloths. When he sits in the company of dog lovers, he speaks in favour of cats. When he sits in the company of cat lovers he gives his reference to dogs.

When every body goes to some function or meeting, he stays at home and reads a book. When every body stays at home and reads a book, he goes to attend meeting. His behaviour is quite different from other people in every matter. When other people say ‘yes please’ to some matter, the rebel says, ‘no thank you’. When every body says, ‘no thank you’ to some matter, he contradicts him and says, ‘yes please’.

In the end of the poem, the poet expresses his liking for the presence of a rebel in society. He says that the presence of the rebels in society breaks the boredom of society. We should not follow the social evils blindly. In the last two lines the poet has masterly hit the blind followers. The poet emphatically suggests that the rebels should not be tolerated but appreciated in a progressive society. Because all development in our culture and civilization depends on constant change towards betterment and not on blind following and opposing change.


1. Discuss the element of humour and satire in this poem. Which is being satirized the behaviour of rebel or that of the normal people? Write in 100 words.
2. Do you think to become a rebel is a difficult task or an easy one? 100 words.
3. Do you approve rebels or not? Give proper reasons. 120 words.

Quotations and references for this poem

1) When all speak none hear.
2) “There is no conversation more boring that the one where every body argues”. (Robert Jacob Good kin)
3) “It matter no how straight the gate how charges with Destiny the scroll I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”
4) “The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.”
5) “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

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