The Rebel Poem Word Meanings

Poem ‘The Rebel’ by D. J. Enright is a simple poem exploring the nature of the rebel sort of behaviour in a society. The Word Meanings given here are detailed and comprehensive to explain the inherent meanings expressed by words and phrases. So, enjoy the free learning resources here.

Word – Meanings 

Here, the stanza comprises every two lines in a sequence.

Stanza 1: 

When everybody has short hair, 

The rebel lets his hair grow long.

  • Rebel: A person who resists or defies authority or societal norms. 
  • Hair: The rebel’s hairstyle. 
  • Short hair: Hair that is cut short, often seen as conforming to societal norms. 
  • Long hair: Hair that is grown out and not trimmed regularly. Explanation: The rebel chooses to grow their hair long when everyone else has short hair, signifying their defiance of the prevailing fashion trend. 

Stanza 2: 

When everybody has long hair, 

The rebel cuts his hair short.

Cuts his hair short: The rebel trims their hair to make it shorter. Explanation: When long hair becomes the norm, the rebel goes against it by cutting their hair short, refusing to conform. 

Stanza 3:

When everybody talks during the lesson, 

The rebel doesn’t say a word. 

  • Lesson: A class or educational session. 
  • Talks during the lesson: Engages in conversation or disrupts the learning environment. 
  • Doesn’t say a word: The rebel remains silent and refrains from participating in discussions. Explanation: When everyone is talking during a lesson, the rebel chooses not to speak, going against the expected behaviour. 

Stanza 4: 

When nobody talks during the lesson, 

The rebel creates a disturbance.

  • Nobody talks during the lesson: Everyone remains quiet and doesn’t engage in conversation. 
  • Creates a disturbance: The rebel intentionally causes a disruption or disturbance.
  • Explanation: When silence prevails, the rebel creates chaos by disturbing the calm atmosphere. 

Stanza 5:

When everybody wears a uniform, 

The rebel dresses in fantastic clothes. 

  • Uniform: A standard set of clothing worn by a group or organization. 
  • Fantastic clothes: Exaggerated or unconventional attire.
  • Explanation: When everyone wears a uniform, the rebel stands out by wearing flamboyant or unique clothing, challenging the idea of conformity. 

Stanza 6: 

When everybody wears fantastic clothes, 

The rebel dresses soberly. 

  • Fantastic clothes: Exaggerated or unconventional attire. 
  • Dresses soberly: Wears simple and unremarkable clothing.
  • Explanation: When everyone dresses in fantastic clothes, the rebel opts for a more modest and understated style, expressing their nonconformity through subtlety. 

Stanza 7: 

In the company of dog lovers, 

The rebel expresses a preference for cats. 

  • Dog lovers: People who prefer or admire dogs. 
  • Cats: Domesticated feline animals. 
  • Expresses a preference: The rebel states a liking or fondness for something.
  • Explanation: In the presence of dog lovers, the rebel shows their support for cats, deliberately going against the prevailing preference. 

Stanza 8: 

In the company of cat lovers, 

The rebel puts in a good word for dogs. 

  • Cat lovers: People who prefer or admire cats. 
  • Puts in a good word for dogs: The rebel speaks positively about dogs.
  • Explanation: When surrounded by cat lovers, the rebel goes against the expected affinity and praises dogs instead. 

Stanza 9: 

When everybody is praising the sun, 

The rebel remarks on the need for rain. 

  • Praising the sun: Expressing admiration or enjoyment of sunny weather. 
  • Remarks on the need for rain: The rebel points out the importance of rain, contrary to popular sentiment.
  • Explanation: When everyone is appreciating the sun, the rebel brings attention to the necessity of rain, challenging the prevailing opinion. 

Stanza 10: 

When everybody is greeting the rain, 

The rebel regrets the absence of sun. 

  • Greeting the rain: Showing enthusiasm or appreciation for rainy weather. 
  • Regrets the absence of sun: The rebel expresses disappointment over the lack of sunny weather. 
  • Explanation: When rain is the prevailing weather, the rebel expresses a longing for sunshine, contrasting with the general sentiment. 

Stanza 11: 

When everybody goes to the meeting, 

The rebel stays at home and reads a book.

  • Going to the meeting: Attending a gathering or assembly. 
  • Stays at home: The rebel chooses not to participate and remains at home.
  • Explanation: When everyone goes to a meeting, the rebel rebels by staying home and engaging in solitary activities like reading. 

Stanza 12: 

When everybody stays at home and reads a book, 

The rebel goes to the meeting. 

  • Stays at home: The rebel chooses not to go out and remains indoors. 
  • Reads a book: Engages in reading literature.
  • Explanation: When everyone stays at home and reads, the rebel rebels by going to the meeting, actively seeking interaction and engagement. 

Stanza 13: 

When everybody says, Yes please, 

The rebel says, No thank you. 

  • Says, Yes please: The rebel agrees to a request or invitation. 
  • Says, No thank you: The rebel declines a request or invitation. 
  • Explanation: When everyone responds positively, the rebel goes against the flow by refusing or contradicting the expected response. 

Stanza 14: 

When everybody says, No thank you, 

The rebel says, Yes please. 

  • Says, No thank you: The rebel declines a request or invitation. 
  • Says, Yes please: The rebel agrees to a request or invitation. 
  • Explanation: When everyone says no, the rebel defies the norm by responding positively or accepting what is offered. 

Closing lines: 

It is very good that we have rebels. 

You may not find it very good to be one. 

  • Rebels: Individuals who challenge norms and authority.
  • Explanation: The poem acknowledges the importance of rebels in society, recognizing their role in pushing boundaries and questioning established norms. 
  • You may not find it very good to be one: The poet suggests that being a rebel may not be desirable or enjoyable for everyone. 
  • Explanation: While rebels are important, the poet acknowledges that embracing rebellion may come with challenges or consequences that not everyone may be willing to face. 

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