In this poem, the poet, D.J. Enright, describes the likes, dislikes and actions of a rebel as contrasted with a sensible and sane man. The attitude of a rebel is contradictory and non-conforming. In it lies the very characteristics and psychology of the rebel. The rebel is a troubled individual. His deviations from the normal are indicative, of his mental approach towards life and society.
He grows long hair while all others have short and vice versa. Similarly he dislikes talk during the lesson, prefers fantastic clothes to uniform. He loves cats while others love dogs. He enjoys reading a look in seclusion in contrast to others while they go to meeting. In short, the rebel negates the normal in every respect and walk of life. The poet has not employed the technical terms yet he has successfully identified the rebel from his deviant behaviour. Although at the end of the poem he says:
It is very good that we have rebels
You may not find it very good to be one.
The poet tells us about the attitude of people who revolt against society. It is indeed a mockery. The poet has used a mocking style in the poem. The poet expresses that such people are against everything. They want to help their individuality. They are against conventions and creeds. In
fact they are fed up with the monotonous society. So they try to introduce some changes through their attitude and appearance. When there is a fashion to have short hair, the rebellious person will not follow it and he will have long hair so that the people know that he is not one of them.
But when on the other hand as the fashion to keep long hair comes, he will quickly cut his hair short in order to maintain his individuality. In every field of life, his behaviour is same. In
classroom when boys and girls are given permission to speak and ask questions, the rebel will remain silent but when the others are silent and listening to the lectures attentively, his complex of self excitation forces him to speak and thus make himself prominent. In this way, he also disturbs the whole class but he is happy that he has kept his identity. He also displays his odd behaviour in the way he dresses himself. When the people wear the similar dress to look decent, sober and alike he wears unique and colourful clothes for the sake of exhibitionism and when there is fashion or trend to wear colourful and gaudy clothes, he will wear dull and decent clothes to distinguish himself. In the same way while talking to people, he displays his strange trends and tastes. If the people are praising dogs,
he will appreciate casts. While talking to cat lovers he will speak in favour of dogs. This shows that he does not care about the emotions and feelings of people. He does not want to be friendly with them. His only goal and motive is to distinguish himself from others and in order to achieve that goal, he can go to any extent. In every walk of life he shows his eccentric attitude. If people are praising the sun and want to have warm weather, he will speak in favour of rain and cold weather. But if people are happy on a rainy day, he will feel sorry and regret the absence of the sun. When there is a social gathering, the rebel does not want to take part in it and prefers to stay at home and read some books. But when nobody is going out, the Rebel goes out and wants to have meeting with people who are enjoying their stay at home. The Rebel agrees when all other people are saying “NO”. His answer is in the negative, when all the people show affirmation. So he is different from common people in all respects. He keeps his identity due to his eccentric behaviour. His style of living is quite different from that of ordinary people.
Still, the poet appreciates him and says that it is good to have rebellious people among us. They save the society from dullness and uniformity. His attitude towards the rebel is sympathetic and lively. He does not condemn him, rather he takes delight in the strange activities and contradictory attitude of the rebel. Although, it is good to have rebels among us but surely we don’t want to become one because the life is surely very difficult for them. In fact they make their own life miserable trying to become unique and different. They face the harsh criticism of people and are disliked by the general public. Although all the variety and diversity in the society is because of them. This is the main tragedy of the rebel that he is not considered a normal person.