Transcendentalist Essay

995 words - 4 pages

“Carpe Diem”, live life to the fullest. Dead Poet’s Society by Tom Schulman illustrates visually the Transcendentalist ideas through a private boarding school in the 1950’s. The movie conveys a school that is strictly based on conformity and frowns upon those who do not value it as well. While Dead Poets Society illustrates the “importance” of conformity through the school, writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau depict through their works that one should not conform to society in anyway, but one should become their own person. Schulman’s Dead Poets Society portrays the positive and negative aspects of living Transcendentally through his unique and independent characters that differ from the cultural norm. Schulman’s work alludes to famous Transcendental writers through his diverse characters illustrating how these Transcendental ideas can be expressed in a modern society.
Throughout the movie the mantra of the students inspiring them not to let anything stand in their way came from Mr. Keating, the schools poetry teacher. He inspired his students to, “make [their] lives extraordinary” (Schulman, Dead Poets Society). Some of the students at first do not understand the extent of this statement however at different points in the movie each one finds their niche. Neil Perry takes to heart what Mr. Keating says and, “seize[s] the day” despite what his father pushes upon him (Schulman, Dead Poets Society). In Emerson’s “Self Reliance”, he illustrates his point with the idea that, “we but half express ourselves”. Neil exemplifies this as he conceals himself from his father and his true passion, acting. Once Neil defies his father he makes the decision that it is better to live his life to the fullest and pursue his acting than live a dishonest, unsatisfying life. Neil’s father attends the play he stars in and regardless of the performance his son displayed, he feels the only route is for him to become a drone in the society. Neil is not, “ashamed of that divine idea which [everyone] represents” however his father would rather have him conform to the ideal (Emerson, “Self Reliance” 391). With the ultimate future Neil has in store he, “did not wish to live what was not life” because he wanted to do what he pleased not what pleased his father (Thoreau, Walden 406). Since Neil could not pursue his dream he decided that life was not worth living and he did not, “wish to practice resignation”, soforthe he took his own life. (Thoreau, Walden 406). Teens today feel this pressure as ultimately every child or teenager wants to please their parents. However in the search to please ones parents and oneself, one may be distracted and create more problems than originally withstanding. Neil’s Transcendental lifestyle enables him to pursue his dream and, “live deliberately” for a short time...

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