Dead Poets Society and the Suicide of Neil Perry Essay
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Dead Poets Society and the Suicide of Neil Perry "Dead Poets Society" deals with the angst of growing up in a public boys' school, with the typical themes of pressure to achieve academically and the themes of rebellion featuring heavily. Several young boys' worlds are changed forever when Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) arrives at their school. The director of the 1989 film, Peter Weir, utilises a variety of techniques to subconsciously signal to the viewer that all is not well in the Perry household. Through these techniques, it becomes evident that Neil is unhappy with life. This triggers the assumption from the viewer that he will commit…show more content…
Mrs. Perry resides in the background where she remains out of focus for the majority of the scene. She is positioned between Neil and his father. This suggests that she is unimportant within the situation and possibly in the family. It could also suggest that her view on Neil's withdrawal from Helton School lies between her family's opinions. This is possible as she later seems to empathise with Neil. However, it is more plausible that Neil's mother is inconsequential, which is reflected both through her being ostracized from the discussion, and also that this reflects the archaic nature of the household.
Neil's suppression, and the fact that his Father has expressed his wish for Neil to attend Military School, leads to an insurgent outburst in which Neil confronts his Father. This follows his Father's speech in which Mr. Perry uses a variety of pronouns to express the disparity between Neil and his father's lives. When Neil is told that he has opportunities his father never had, I think this invokes guilt within Neil. The combination of these factors leads to Neil's withdrawal into his chair, into the foetal position. I think this represents the inauguration of Neil's contemplation of suicide. At the end of the scene, Neil's mother kneels down behind him and smiles softly. I think this is suggesting to the viewer that his
What ideas about discovery are conveyed by Peter Weir’s ‘Dead Poets Society’ and one other text? The process of discovery has the ability to greatly impact an individual resulting in them having new ideas and perceptions on themselves and others. These ideas differ for all individuals as each has their own experiences and develops from them in unique and personal ways. This is clearly evident in the film ‘Dead Poets Society’ by Peter Weir as it is a text which significantly focuses on the concept of contrast. Throughout this concept viewers are allowed an in-depth demonstration of the protagonists Neil Perry and Todd Anderson’s negative and positive experiences which have been caused by their strive to achieve individualism after a new English teacher John Keating introduces his pupils to poetry and free thinking attitude. ‘Firework’ a song co-written and performed by Katy Perry is also a text which conveys that discovery is a process that can lead to enlightenment and enable one to be more acceptant of who they once they disregard the socially constructed expectations that mass media communicates.
Throughout Perter Weir’s ‘Dead Poets Society’ viewers are able to understand that discovery itself is a process of transformation that can lead to new ideas which in turn have positive effects on an individual. This can be seen in the scene where Professor Keating educates his students the act of conformity. When Keating states its definition as “the difficulty of maintaining your own beliefs in the face of others” the audience are able to identify the contrast between the professor Keating and principal Nolan’s attitudes and values towards educations throughout the mise-en-scene displaying Nolan in a small, dark and mysterious room caged by the large steel poles representing the strict and prestigious nature of the institution. This allows the audience to realise that the students are able to better develop their skills when allowed to be free from the forces of conformity the institution brings. When the students are told to find their “own walk” it clear that they do so to achieve becoming their own unique individual.
Furthermore, during the ending of the film a full shot is utilised to capture the majority of students standing on their tables portraying the extent to which professor Keating has made an impact on his pupils. Earlier in the film Keating too stood on his table to “remind himself to look at things in a different way” hence it can be said that his student are following in his footsteps allowing the professor to depart from the academy without any regret. Even though discovery may lead to new understandings and perceptions these may not result in positive ways but will also have the ability to result in negative outcomes for both individual and those closes by .As a result of Keating’s newly introduced philosophies, protagonist Neil Perry further endeavours to fulfil his passion and desire to become an actor however does so by forging his father’s signature on a consent form that would allow him to perform his act. When Neil’s father objects to him pursuing his dreams, he is told that he will “go to Harvard and become a doctor”.
Through the use of the low camera angle looking up towards his father, strong facial expression displaying authority and superiority are apparent. As a result viewers are able to comprehend that Neil is in no position to change or even slightly alter his father’s decision. However, when Neil’s mother advises that he “get some sleep” a close up of the individuals face presents a mysterious and worrisome smile resulting in the creation of suspense and confusion in the audience. The mise-en-scene displaying a weak and still hand behind a table centimetres away from a gun, viewers are able to reach the tragic conclusion of Neil Perry’s death in a confronting and unexpected way.
‘Firework’ a song co-written and performed by Katy Perry is a text which significantly exemplifies the experience of discovering something that has been concealed by of society and in particular the expectations that are constantly forced upon individuals through mass media that must be disregarded to proceed to the new finding. The music video features a number of characters overcoming numerous social issues such as body image, homosexuality, bullying, the effect of conflict between parents on their children and the acceptance of having a medical illness. Throughout the chorus the term “firework” is used to symbolise the spark inside all individuals that must first be “ignited” or in other words believed in to enable them to achieve their goals and accomplish their dreams.
Additionally, fireworks are used as visual metaphors to represent the time when one becomes enlightened and acceptant of who they truly are regardless of what society expects of them. In conclusion, both texts ‘Dead Poets Society’ by Peter Weir and ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry complement each other in the sense that they both successfully provide the audience with diverse concepts and ideas of discovery. Whether they may be negative or positive, each educates viewers in having varying ideas about the consequences that may be caused by ones decision after they access new, original understandings and perceptions of themselves.