Belonging Essay Dead Poet's Society

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In what ways does “Dead Poet’s Society” highlight the concepts of Belonging?

Belonging can forcibly act upon individuals, causing them to feel a loss of identity and relationships. They can feel isolated and segregated because of this force, unable to discover themselves as individuals. When belonging is externally forced upon them, it challenges their lives, causing various negative consequences. These negative consequences, in terms of loss of identity and relationships, are witnessed in the 1989 film “Dead Poet’s Society”, directed by Peter Weir, occurring because of individuals being forced to belong. This concept of belonging can be examined in reference to two primary characters of the film, Neil Perry and Todd Anderson. Both characters are forced to belong to their family structures and high expectations.

Dead Poet’s Society highlights many complex concepts of belonging, being forced to belong in particular. Throughout the entirety of the film we are able to see Neil Perry’s character have belonging externally forced upon him, particularly in terms of his family structure and his family’s high expectations of him. Peter Weir has skilfully utilized techniques in order to make viewers more aware of this external force, which acts upon Neil.

The viewers are able to become well aware that Neil Perry is forced to belong to his ‘unreal’ family. His relationship with his subservient mother and domineering father is one consisting of many barriers. We gain insight into this dysfunctional relationship that Neil is forced to belong to in the beginning of the film in the scene where Neil ‘disputes’ his father in front of his friends. In this scene, Mr Perry is being controlling, demanding Neil to drop one of his extra-curriculum activities in order for him to focus more on school. Close-up shots of Neil arguing with his father emphasize how he is forced to belong to this relationship that brings him much anger.

Neil Perry is also forced to belong to...
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