Top Ten Tuesday: Rebels in Literature

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is Rebels in Literature. Here’s a list of rebellious characters, who all go against the norm to fight for what they love and what they believe in, and most of time, managing to do this in a pretty cool, inspiring, sometimes completely dangerous way…


1. Antoinette Cosway (a.k.a. Bertha Mason), WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys

WIDE SARGASSO SEA has one of the most wonderful and rebellious, but ultimately tragic, heroines of contemporary fiction. It is the story of Antoinette Cosway and her marriage to an unnamed English Gentleman who decides that he needs to quell her rebelliousness. He renames her Bertha and takes here away from her beloved Caribbean and locks her in the attic of his dreary English house. Her rebelliousness is brilliantly directed against the patriarchal and racist society she marries into and Jean Rhys the authors rebelliousness in writing this book and imagining the story of the first wife of Mr Rochester of Jane Eyre fame is simply genius.. – Sarah O


2. Tris, DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

I’m going to fangirl over Tris in Divergent – such a refreshing change from wimpy YA heroines, Tris finds out she is different to everyone else in her society early on, but draws on her courageous side to take the leap (literally) to turn away from her humble Abnegation faction and join the thrill seeking Dauntless. She overcomes her greatest fears, she battles for what’s right and refuses to accept the corrupt leadership of her world. AND she has wicked-cool tattoos. – Rosi


3. Guy Montag, FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury

Definitely a rebel that any book lover could relate to. Imagine a world without books, and i think we’d all be hiding one under our pillow. Guy is willing to risk his life for the written word and ultimately makes me appreciate books just a little bit more! -Monique


4. MATILDA by Roald Dahl

When I think of rebellious characters my mind immediately jumps to Matilda! I remember being so surprised by how brave she was when I was reading it for the first time as a little 9-year-old. She doesn’t let other people get her down and is not afraid to fight for what she believes is right! – Sanne

Cold Comfort Farm

5. Flora Poste, COLD COMFORT FARM by Stella Gibbons

I love the delightful no nonsense Flora Poste. Flora is orphaned and on her uppers at a time (1930s) when a young woman of her breeding should be launching herself into society and a wealthy marriage. Ever practical, Flora prevails upon her lowly country relatives the bawdy Starkadders . She arrives at their farm with her fancy habits and peachy skin, determined to turn them all into civilised human beings, and turning them upside down in the process . Flora strides forth with her good intentions, her common sense and her supreme bossiness, not giving a hoot what anyone thinks of her, eventually taming those Starkadders ,and discovering the warmth that a large messy family can provide.. A rebel with a cause and a total charmer to boot… – Emily


6. Mosca Mye, FLY BY NIGHT and TWILIGHT ROBBERY by Frances Hardinge

My love for Mosca knows no bounds, and not just because her best friend is a psychotic goose called Saracen – who she stole, by the way. Yup, she’s a rebel from the off – stealing, committing arson, helping a prisoner escape and the like. But what really confirms her rebel status is her ability to read in a world where the written word is fervently distrusted, and the emergence of an illegal printing press causes terror. However, not only can Mosca read but she also loves words, craves them, feels starved if she isn’t discovering new ones all the time – and this passion will take her on the adventure of a lifetime and introduce her to some of the most original and brilliantly described characters ever. The best thing about this particular rebel though, is the way Hardinge writes her – you can tell the creator has the same burning passion for words that her creation does, and the entire book is a rollicking, beautifully, bizarrely, funnily, extraordinarily written yarn. Mosca is basically the patron rebel saint of book lovers everywhere. Or at least she should be. – Livs

wind singer

7. Kestrel Hath, WIND OF FIRE trilogy by William Nicholson

She’s strong and loyal but a rebel at heart, resisting the obvious paths laid our for her throughout the series. I love how she’s in no way righteous, and is compelled only by her instinct (good or bad). – Cait


8. Stanley Yelnats, HOLES by Louis Sachar

The boy who doesn’t cave to the tyranny of the Warden at Camp Green Lake. The boy who subtly and purposefully takes his own course and in the end brings down the entire edifice in which he and his fellow young inmates have been interned. – Sarah O


9. Tom Sawyer, THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER by Mark Twain

3 reasons.  1) Feeding ‘pain-killer’ to Peter the cat so he ‘war-whoops’ around the room.  2) He tricks the other kids into wanting to whitewash the fence.  3)  He attends his own funeral. – Kate



I always feel a bit cheeky including one of our own books in these Top 10s but as soon as rebels were mentioned my mind went straight to Harp, Vivian’s rebellious but loveable best friend. Harp marches to the beat of her own drum, and provides some much-needed sense and cynicism in a world dominated by a sinister religious cult. She’s straight-talking, wild, sexy, witty … but best of all, underneath that tough exterior, she’s vulnerable and scared, loyal and kind, with a heart of pure gold. – Livs


 Did we miss your favourite Rebel in Literature? Let us know in the comments or Tweet us your Rebel @HotKeyBooks!