The film, Dead Poets Society directed by Peter Weir is about a group of boys who struggle to meet the expectations of their parents, school and society. The boys, with the help of their new teacher, who has very liberal ideas, begin to discover who they are. One important conflict is this film is the clash between the restrictions and expectations the boy’s face and the freedom they desire. This conflict helped me to understand how difficult it is to grow and find your true self when faced with such large obstacles. The visual techniques Weir uses to highlight this conflict are his choice of scenes for the opening sequence, the narrative structure and imagery used.
The opening scenes introduce us to the type of expectations and restrictions that are placed on the boys by various authority figures and groups. The opening four of the boys walk into the formal opening assembly holding the banners of “honour, tradition, discipline, excellence” which show what Welton Academy believes is important. These banners, as well as, the buildings, teachers and school uniform all illustrate the fact that Welton is a very conservative school where everyone is expected to conform to the school’s ideology. We are also first introduced to the very high expectations that the school has of the boys. This is evident when the Principal says to Neil Perry, “we expect great things from you this year,” and he says to Todd, “you have some big shoes to fill young man, your brother was one of our finest.” I believe these two statements imply that there is very little leniency at Welton for people who do not work hard. In contrast, when the boys are not around authority, they are shown completely undermining the schools ideas by smoking and renaming the banners “horror, travesty, decadence, excrement.” This shows me that these harsh expectations and restrictions do not make much difference to the boys’ personality, it just means that to do things that they want, they have to go behind the...
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