The Quintessential Rebel

This essay has a total of 964 words and 4 pages.

The Quintessential Rebel


The Quintessential Rebel



In Allan Sillitoe's The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner, we are introduced to Smith,
a man with his own standards, beliefs, values, and battles. As we are taken through the
story of a period of his live, we come to understand what Smith really stands for. He is a
diehard rebel that is destined to always stick to his beliefs, and is willing to sacrifice
all in a battle against his greatest enemy and opressor, society.


Throughout the book Smith gives us a chance to get to know him. He willingly shares his
thoughts with the reader, and often times his thoughts develop as he is telling his story
giving us an up-close look at the inner workings of Smith's mind and personality. Smith
belongs to a group of people he calls the Out-Laws. It is the underprivileged lower class
poor street criminals. Crime runs in Smith's family, and being born into poverty he nether
sees, nor is even willing to contemplate a life without crime. At a point he hints on
having some communist views, and perhaps suggests that his father had communist friends,
if he wasn't one himself. Fatally inflicted by cancer, Smith's father died a painful
death. We later find out that it was Smith who found his father breathless in a pool of
his own blood, and to this day has a great deal of respect for him. The first time Smith's
family gets a taste of a financially comfortable life is when the factory his father
worked in gave them a lump of cash upon his father's death. "…a wad of crisp blue-back
fivers ain't a sight of good" (Sillitoe, 20) says Smith as the one break his family got
was only due to his father's death. Smith is not money hungry, he steels simply to get by.
He knows exactly where he stands in the world- in direct opposition of the In-laws, the
"pig-faced snotty-nosed dukes and ladies""(Sillitoe, 8). He realizes that he is a poor
nobody, a petty criminal, an outcast of society.


Smith by nature is a rebel. He puts himself and his fellow Out-laws in direct opposition
of the rest; for him it's "us versus them". As we are getting to know Smith, he is
spending his time in a Borstal after having been caught for a bakery robbery. He has no
regrets about doing what he did in the bakery shop, and has a big enough heart to be happy
for his accomplice, Mike for getting off. "I was glad though that Mike got away with it,
and I only hope he always will" ( Sillitoe, 23). He is without a doubt a good man. He
considers himself so but by his own standards. " I am honest, that I've never been
anything else but honest," (Sillitoe, 15). He is honest to himself and is true to who he
is and always be. Needless to say society does not view the thief as a good and honest
man, to which Smith is not in the least bit surprised. He knows that the two worlds, the
In-laws and the Out-laws, will never see eye to eye, and that is why is willing to rebel
the best he can. "It's war between me and them" (Sillitoe, 16), says Smith, firmly
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