The Rebel by DJ Enright – Summary Analysis Questions

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The Rebel by DJ Enright is one of the finest poems that one may refer to as an example of both humour and satire. DJ Enright, as a twentieth-century poet, introduces us to a twentieth-century character – a rebel. The Rebel by DJ Enright is a part of the syllabi of many universities including the University of the Punjab and Sargodha University in Pakistan. Therefore, the students search extensively for the summary, analysis, and important questions regarding the poem, The Rebel by DJ Enright. This article, The Rebel by DJ Enright – Summary Analysis Questions, will prove very helpful in grasping the poet’s line of thought. It will also prove handy for the students preparing for their examinations. Moreover, it will give a good lead to the teachers looking for quality material on the topic, The Rebel by DJ Enright – Summary Analysis Questions.

The Poet

The Rebel by DJ Enright – Summary Analysis Questions

DJ Enright (Dennis Joseph Enright) was born in Leamington, Warwickshire, England on March 11, 1920. He was a poet, novelist, critic, and teacher. Undoubtedly, all his works carry literary merit, but he is more famous for his Memoirs of a Mendicant Professor (1969) and Academic Year (1955). His father, George Enright, was an Irish postman who died premature death.

DJ Enright studied at the University of Cambridge for his Master’s Degree. After this, he held different academic posts in different countries. He taught in Egypt, Japan, Germany, Thailand, and Singapore. He also remained an honourary professor at the University of Warwick. His works relate to the common class of people. He died in London on December 31, 2002.

Text of the Poem The Rebel by DJ Enright

The Rebel by DJ Enright – Summary Analysis Questions
The Rebel by DJ Enright – Summary AnalysisQuestions

Summary of the poem The Rebel by DJ Enright

The Rebel by DJ Enright is an interesting poem. It is full of humour and satire. The poet presents the behaviour of a young man who wants to assert his individuality. This young man does not want to follow the common way of action. He wants to swim against the current. But in doing so, he earns the label of a rebel, which he is not. He is only an individualist who believes in freedom of action and speech.  This rebel is not dangerous. He is not a man with negative and destructive intentions. To look prominent is his sole desire. Therefore, he does things differently. The poet is not against such rebels. However, not all people would like the label of a rebel in this sense.

The rebel in this poem gets his hair cut when others have long hair. But when others get their hair cut, he lets them grow long. He keeps quiet when others discuss something in the classroom. However, he creates a disturbance when others are silent and concentrating on the lecture. When others wear the uniform, he wears fantastic clothes. Nevertheless, when others wear fantastic clothes, he dresses soberly.

When others express a preference for the sunshine, he lays stress on the need for the rain. As soon as it begins to rain, the rebel starts regretting the absence of the sun. When people praise dogs, he praises cats. He praises dogs when people praise cats. When people go out for a meeting, he stays at home and reads a book. The rebel goes out for a meeting when others prefer staying home and reading books. When others say “Yes”, he says “No”, and when others say “No”, he says “Yes”.

In short, he does everything after his own heart. The poet is of the view that such rebels are good for society. They show us the other way of action that is available. However, no one likes others to call him a rebel in this sense because it is more of ridicule than appreciation.

Important Questions

Q1: What is the theme/main idea of the poem The Rebel by DJ Enright?

Q2: Discuss the element of humour and satire in the poem The Rebel by DJ Enright.

Q3: Write an analysis of the poem The Rebel by DJ Enright.

Q4: Write a critical appreciation of the poem The Rebel by DJ Enright.

The Rebel by DJ Enright revolves around the theme of individuality. DJ Enright, in a humorous way, satirizes the people who cannot cope with an individualist and begin to call him a rebel. It appears that the poet is making fun of the rebel.  However, a careful study shows that the poem is a sharp comment on the people who cannot tolerate deviation from a set pattern of life.

The poem is no less humorous. The humour arises from the rebel’s contradiction of the stereotypical way of life. He believes in the freedom of action and speech. Therefore, he does what everybody else does at a certain point in life, but he does it in a way that nobody can do it. His hairstyle, his dress, his weather preferences, and his responses to the ideas of others are startling and humorous.

What image appears on the screen of our mind when we listen to the word – rebel? We imagine a person who is against the set traditions, revolts against the authority, and wants to change the order of the time. The change such a rebel wants to bring about may cause a good deal of damage to the existing fabric of society. Generally, the rebel revolts against the dictatorial regime for the rights of the common people.

DJ Enright’s rebel is quite different. He is not an activist. He is not fighting against any dictator. Nor does he want to bring about any revolution. His only aim is to look prominent. To achieve his goal, he does what others may think of as queer or out of keeping with the occasion. The rebel of DJ Enright is looking for a lifestyle that cannot be copied. Therefore, he contradicts the fashion of the time. He does not agree to the ideas and comments of others. So, he presents such ideas or says such things as may startle, shock, or baffle others.

The behaviour of the rebel doubtlessly makes us laugh for all the humour it contains. But by the end of the poem, we begin to understand the message of the poet. He satirizes the society which cannot accept such rebels.

Here is an article of good quality on the poem, Woman Work by Maya Angelou.

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