Similarities between Rebel, Rebel and Conflicts in World History

Similarities between Rebel, Rebel and Conflicts in World History

Riley Bishop, Writer

I have to let the Bancroft Community know how deja vu taking only Rebel, Rebel and Conflicts in World History in one quarter was like. First of all, the teachers to both of these courses have absolutely fabulous minds (and no, Mrs. Fortier, I’m not just saying that because I know that you’re in charge of Unleashed). This is going to be a similarity comparison for both of these classes because I loved them so much. They’ve both inspired me so much lyrically, politically, emotionally, ethically, and conceptually. Even though one is English and the other is history, they are so insanely similar. The workload for writing in both of these classes are relatively heavy; there is research and discussion required in both. Both classes have numerous themes, such as sexism, conformity, racism, and values. The following themes I will discuss in more detail.


In Rebel, Rebel, we read the play, Antigone, which is a Greek tragedy. It revolves around the protagonist, Antigone, who is a girl. She has many figures around her who think less of her because of her gender. 

In Conflicts in World History, we watched the movie “Suffragette.” This movie’s main theme revolves around sexism, specifically American women who worked in factories during the 1920s. There were many other movies we watched that had sexism as a subtle theme, such as “The Lost City of Z,” “Malcolm X,” and “Dr. Strangelove.” 


In Rebel, Rebel, Unit 1 consisted of conformity. A large portion of the course was about conformity. This ranged from Hidden Mind podcasts, to TedTalks, to Animal Farm, to Antigone. We learn that conforming might not be the right answer, and that the right answer might mean to fight in what you believe in.

In Conflicts in World History, we discussed conformity in “Suffragette” and “Malcolm X.” In both of these films, we learned how people conform to society norms even if they don’t morally believe in prejudices because it is easier to conform and there is a risk when it comes to protesting and/or fighting.


In Rebel, Rebel, we learned about racism through our statues essay. We were assigned to write a paper on whether or not the statues of historical figures who were previously slave owners should be taken down or not. In my paper, I talked a little bit about racism and how people conformed to racism when the statues were built of these people. Later in the course, we read Martin Luther King’s famous piece, “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”  We first read the newspaper article that prompted his response which he started to write in the margins of a newspaper while in jail. 

In Conflicts in World History, we learned about racism in “Malcolm X.” We learned how people of color were treated at school, at jobs, and in life during the 20th century. “Malcolm X” resorted to crime because of the lack of opportunities given to him. He was also susceptible to becoming racist towards white people because of his hatred for society. He learned a lot from his previous mistakes and started making speeches about racism. He was brutally assassinated. Through this film, we learned about what racism is and how White and Black people react to it.


In Rebel, Rebel, we talked a lot about protests. We discussed Gandhi’s protest against unjust laws; Martin Luther King’s, Rosa Parks, and Colin Kaepernick protests against racism; Transcendentalism, which protests against conforming to the government and having others dictate what is right and wrong for you; and Animal Farm which is a fable that revolves around a protest against a dictatorship. With all examples, we concluded that protests provoke discomfort within the system and the system is forced to have a change take place. With each example, besides Transcendentalism, this took place.

In Conflicts in World History, we discussed protests through the two movies “Suffragette” and “Malcolm X.” In “Suffragette” we see many women protest by shouting in the streets, forming uprisings, having signs, holding speeches, and later, even putting on hunger strikes, and risking their lives to make statements (such as the incident with Emily Davidson). In “Malcolm X” we see Malcolm having protests by making speeches and holding rallies. Both movies reveal contributions to change because of the protests.


In Rebel, Rebel, we learned about individual values. We learned that it is important to think for yourself and have your own values because others, despite what they say, might not have your best interests at heart. Even if everyone else is conforming to those around you, stay true to your own values because they have meaning and they’re worth fighting for. Basically, the whole course is on values and to fight for what you believe in.

In Conflicts in World History, we learned about values through characters in films. We see characters need to prioritize their values in the films “The Lost City of Z,” “Suffragette,” “1917,” “Who Will Write our History,” “Malcolm X,” and, of course, “Dr. Strangelove” (every movie that we watched throughout the course). In “The Lost City of Z,” we watched a man need to prioritize his values on the importance of discovering a secret society and his family. In movies like “Suffragette” and “Malcolm X,” we watched characters need to decide what they value more, their life or their belief in their rights. In the two war films “1917” and ‘Who Will Write Our History,” we see people value their life who will fight for it to the bitter end. In the satire “Dr. Strangelove,” we see people make ironic decisions on which they value more, shooting a soda machine or letting a nuclear bomb explode. In all of the movies, characters faced impossible situations that forced them to prioritize their values.


Even though both of these classes are similar, I would highly suggest, if able, to take them both. They are both beyond educational, and although both require more work than you might expect, every minute of it is worth it. If any of the themes listed above interest you, I would advise you to take either class. Besides material alone, Mrs. Fortier and Dr. Mann are two very smart, understanding, validating, respectable, strong, determined, approachable, and kind teachers. They listen, and they don’t shy away from your craziest ideas (which pretty much all of mine were). Even though I’m a senior and I spent a semester and a quarter in Mrs. Fortier’s classes, and only a quarter in Dr. Mann’s class, I am forever grateful for the lessons each has taught me. 

To finish off this really random article, here are a list of out of context quotes I took from Mrs. Fortier’s class, Rebel, Rebel.

  • “I want to explode you.”
  • “I take comfort that there are white men in Washington.” (sarcastic)
  • “Damn, it feels good to be an oppressor.” (sarcastic)
  • “I feel inferior.”
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