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Dead Poets Society – Belonging Essay

I have written some introductory paragraphs for you if you are thinking about using the film Dead Poets Society as a related text.

You will need to include a paragraph that examines TWO scenes, with film techniques, and discuss how the concept of Belonging is explored in these scenes if you wish to use this text

Q – The challenge to belong may be resisted or embraced.

The challenge to belong may be resisted or embraced and this concept is explored in detail in Peter Weir’s film, Dead Poets Society. In this film we go on a journey with the student body of Welton Academy, an exclusive private school, and English teacher John Keating as they re-form the Dead Poets Society in the hope of exloring their own dreams. Eventually though, this act is seen as defying the honour code of belonging to the school and as the boys choose to embrace their individuality they are met with tragic consequences.

The “four pillars” of Welton are established in the beginning of the film and this sets the tone for the expectations of the Welton community. In the opening scenes the headmaster praises the school, its tradition and its performance and the audience is left with no doubt that to belong to Welton means to unquestioningly abide by the “four pillars” tradition, honour and discipline. To do so, as the rest of the film goes on to show, means to conform at the expense of any individual passions or pursuits, success is measured by adhering to the group expectations rather than individual goals.

John Keating does not belong at Welton, not just because of his progressive teaching methods, but because he encourages boys to think and act for themselves, to change, not to conform. He incites them to take risks and break rules in pursuit of individual pleasures. The theme of resisting the challenge to belong is most sharply focused on the relationship between Neil and his father.


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