Meaning of rebel: A rebel is someone who refuses to do things in the normal way, or in the way that other people want them to.
The poet explains all that a rebel does, in this poem. According to the poet, the rebel is a young child who does everything different from others, to stand out of a crowd. He contradicts himself, just to be different.
1. When everybody had short hair, the rebel wanted his hair to be long. When others had long hair, he cut his hair to make it look short and unique.
2. When all the students in class were engaged in a conversation during a lesson, the rebel kept quiet. But when others were silent, the rebel created a noise so that everybody would notice him.
3. When all the other students wore the uniform to school, the rebel came in bright, attractive clothes. When others dressed attractively, he wore serious and formal clothes.
4. In a group where all of them liked to own a dog as a pet, the rebel said he preferred cats. But when he went to a group of cat lovers, he appreciated his love for dogs.
5. When everybody was enjoying the warm sunny weather, the rebel explained the importance of rain. When others welcomed rains in the rainy season, the rebel missed the warm sunshine.
6. When others went for group meetings, the rebel decided to stay at home and read a book. When others were enjoying their free time at home by reading a book, the rebel went for the meeting.
7. When all of them accepted for something in common and said "yes", the rebel denied and said "No". When everybody else denied, he said "Yes"!
8. The poet says that it is good to have rebels. He means that a rebel brings in a different perspective, instead of following the crowd. But the poet also says it is not good to be a rebel ourselves. He means rebels are subject to criticism and opposition. They are not accepted by the society. Daring to be different is not easy.
Following the crowd is not wrong always. If the crowd is going in the right path, it is better to follow the crowd. If the crowd is against moral values or ethics, it is better to stand out of the crowd.
Being different is not easy!
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). Honeycomb. The Rebel - D.J.Enright (pp. 33-35). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.