The concepts of Belonging In “Dead Poet’s Society”

Categories: Society

Belonging can by force act upon individuals, triggering them to feel a loss of identity and relationships. They can feel isolated and segregated because of this force, unable to find themselves as people. When belonging is externally forced upon them, it challenges their lives, triggering different unfavorable consequences. These negative effects, in terms of loss of identity and relationships, are seen in the 1989 movie "Dead Poet's Society", directed by Peter Dam, happening since of individuals being required to belong. This concept of belonging can be taken a look at in recommendation to two primary characters of the movie, Neil Perry and Todd Anderson.

Both characters are required to come from their family structures and high expectations.

Dead Poet's Society highlights numerous complicated concepts of belonging, being forced to belong in particular. Throughout the whole of the movie we are able to see Neil Perry's character have belonging externally forced upon him, particularly in terms of his household structure and his family's high expectations of him.

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Peter Dam has actually skilfully utilized strategies in order to make viewers more familiar with this external force, which acts upon Neil.

The viewers are able to become well aware that Neil Perry is forced to come from his 'unreal' household. His relationship with his subservient mother and prideful father is one including many barriers. We gain insight into this dysfunctional relationship that Neil is forced to come from in the start of the movie in the scene where Neil 'conflicts' his father in front of his buddies.

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In this scene, Mr Perry is being controlling, requiring 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 dad highlight how he is required to come from this relationship that brings him much anger.

Neil Perry is also forced to belong to his family’s high expectations of him in the film “Dead Poet’s Society”. Viewers are able to view this force in the scene towards the end of the film where Neil and his father are seriously discussing his future career. Mr Perry is telling Neil that he is going to be a doctor, whether he likes it or not. Neil, on the other hand, wants to be his own person with a good sense of identity. However, he doesn’t stand up for this because he is afraid of the negative consequences that will be sprung on him by his father. Being forced to belong to his family’s high expectations leads to a complete disintegration of Neil’s identity, making him feel isolated and trapped. Neil then chooses to take the easy way out of his crises’ with his father by committing suicide. Techniques such as non diegetic music, shadow and darkness as well as an allusion to Christ (as he was on the cross) are all used by Peter Weir in order to display how being forced to belong negatively affected Neil.

Shy Todd Anderson also has belonging forced upon him in the film “Dead Poet’s Society”. He is forced to belong to his family structure and to high expectations of Welton Academy in this film, which cause him to feeling a loss of identity and relationships. Peter Weir highlights this force and the negative consequences it causes through the usage of techniques.

Todd Anderson is forced to belong to his neglecting, biological family structure. During the film it is evident that Todd received barely any attention from his parents. The relationship between them all is barely existent and Todd is displayed in this film as their dutiful son, low on their priorities. Todd’s loss of relationship due to belonging forcibly acting upon him is seen displayed in the scene of his birthday. Todd receives a desk set for the second year in the row, feeling unwanted. Peter Weir has creatively used techniques to show this concept of belonging. Long shots of Todd being on his own as well as darkness/shadows emphasize how being forced to belong to his family structure has led him to feel a sense of loss in both his identity and his relationship with his parents.

At the beginning of the film Todd is known as the new student of Welton Academy. The initiation into this school for Todd is tough due to him being forced into attending it by his parents. With this transition comes high expectations of Todd by teachers at Welton Academy as seen in the statement “you have some big shoes to fill” due to Todd’s older brother having had been one of the ‘finest’ who had previously attended this school. These expectations of Todd raised his self-doubt and quietness to a higher level, causing him to feel a loss of his self-identity. Close up shots of Todd speaking with headmaster Nolan shows how Mr Nolan’s high expectations of Todd are making him feel uneasy, already contributing greatly to a loss of his identity.

A loss of identity and relationships occurs due to belonging being forced upon individuals. Individuals being forcibly made to belong are challenged, and are negatively affected. This is primly displayed in the film “Dead Poet’s Society”, in regards to characters Neil Perry and Todd Anderson.

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The concepts of Belonging In “Dead Poet’s Society”. (2016, Nov 02). Retrieved from

The concepts of Belonging In “Dead Poet’s Society”
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