Dead Poets Society
Parental expectations, self worth, the search for identity and the search for love are issues as old as life itself. In the film “Dead Poets Society” these four common problems experienced by youth are evident. They are shown through the lives of Neil, Todd, Charlie and Knox. Adolescents of today are still grappling with these issues. The problems between teenagers and parents may always be the same, never really changing from generation to generation.
Parental expectations are personified through Neil Perry in the film. Outwardly, he appears confident, clever, controlling and popular. Although, the more we get to know him the more we realise that he is controlled by his father. We see this when Neil wants to be involved in the school publication. His father doesn’t value this and demands Neil to give it up. Neil tries to put forward his opinion with his father stating “Don’t dispute me in public…….. You do as I tell you!” As the movie progresses Neil has more encounters with his father. Neil chooses to break the grasp of his all-controlling father by defying his father, and taking up his passion in acting. Finally Mr Perry’s need for control over his son ultimately drives his boy to suicide. Whereas Neil’s life is dominated by his father, Charlie seems to be controlled by no-one. Charlie seems to be the complete opposite to Neil.
Charlie is not inhibited, nor is he ever demanded by his parents. He is impetuous, daring and extremely confident. We see this when he takes the phone into assembly and asks the principal to accept a call from God. However, this confidence is not enough. Charlie seems to want more. He is always searching for his identity. Charlie wants to be unique and a leader. He chooses the name “Nawanda”, demanding that his friends refer to him as this. The urge to be independent often takes him too far. Mr Keating reminds him to be aware of the consequences of his own actions: “Sucking the marrow out of life doesn’t...
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