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“Relationships are essential in shaping our identity”

Relationships are essential in shaping our character as influences from both parties challenge and change our ways of thinking, and subsequently affect our behaviour. Key relationships explored in Peter Weir’s film Dead Poets Society, Josh Schwartz’s The Ties that Bind from the television series, The O.C and Tim Winton’s short story Commission reveal how different types of influences can shape an individual. Relationships between Todd and Neil and Seth and Ryan examine how beneficial influences play a role in shaping our identity, enabling one to establish a sense of belonging. Negative influences in a relationship shape our thinking in a way that often hinders our development as a character, as revealed in the father-son relationships in Dead Poets Society and in Tim Winton’s Commission. Influence in a relationship which challenges conventional thinking also yields change in one’s perspective of society manifests into action and a new sense of self, as shown in the relationship between Mr Keating and his students. Positive influences in a relationship encourage a development in one’s character, which assists in establishing one’s sense of belonging. In Dead Poet’s Society, Neil and Todd build a friendship which although begins as distant, deepens into an intimate friendship. Neil brings Todd out of his bubble of isolation through his confident and outgoing nature. Todd’s Birthday is a key scene representing the development in their relationship. Neil incorporates Mr Keating’s teachings to inspire Todd to look at life in a new perspective, as shown when he uses humour, saying “this desk set wants to fly!” and taking a new stance on Todd’s present. The positioning of the two characters at the beginning and at the end of the scene highlights the growth of their relationship from being initially alienated, representative of when Todd crouched below Neil in the dark shadows toward the side of the frame. At the...
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