Dead poets society romanticism vs realism
Dead Poets Society romanticism vs. realism
First and foremost, to realize the difference between romanticism and realism, one has to get the meaning of the two terms independent of how they are applied in the movie and how the characters in the same movie have explicitly made them come out. (Dictionary and Thesaurus/Merriam-Webster) Describes romanticism as the aspect of emphasis put on the individual as the emotional, imaginative, the illogical, the intuitive, personal, subjective, the transcendental and the visionary. It is characterized by stressing on originality, individual expressions of emotions, freedom and experimenting form. On the other hand, realism is defined as the pragmatic process and positive posture of facing a situation, embracing the way it is and dealing with it accordingly in a manner that is in tandem with the reality of life. Looking at the movie Dead Poets Society, this treatise will use the characters in the play to explicate the difference between romanticism and realism.
The film Dead Poets Society counterpoints the thoughts of romanticism and realism. The thought of realism addresses aspects of practical, physical and what happens at the current moment. Conversely, themes of romanticism are predicated on individuality, expression of self, earnestness, spontaneity, and originality (Collins 20). Most characters and places in the film exemplify either of the two thoughts. The first illustration of this is hinged on the location of the school, where, romanticism is reflected in the immense area of nature palisading the school. Realism, on the other hand, is exemplified in the construction of the school with stone and concrete. The school corresponded with order and tradition where all thoughts of expression of self and individuality are crushed once one is inside. This is illustrated in its intentional look of a monastery that instills discipline and submission to customs (Washington 447).
The film is about the conflict between the two extreme sides, and the manner that every character in addresses it. For starters, Knox, Newanda and Neil are all extreme romanticists, on the other hand, Cameron is inflexibly on the other opposite of realism. The only character who takes a middle ground of being neither a romanticist nor a realist is Todd. Nevertheless, by the time the movie comes to an end, he (Todd) is in a position to convey his passions but unlike the others, he is not living in the ideal world of his vision. He does not attempt to adopt for himself an exclusively new persona the way Neil took Puck; Knox went for Mutt Sander’s brother, and Newanda took Dalton (Collins 22).
One has to understand that the shift in Knox, Newanda and Neil was after the introduction of Keating in the school. As a matter of fact, Neil was an idealist-realist before transforming himself into an unfeigned romantic. Initially, he was taking the world in full throttle, an endeavor that was frustrated by his strictly realist dad. However, he grew confident and audacious following his meeting with Keating. He ultimately prevailed upon his father to permit him to perform in the play. There was also a distinctively romantic attribute in the cause of his (Neil) suicide since it was impulsive and informed by the fact that he could not allow his individuality and expression of self to be discomfited (Collins 24).
In analyzing the difference between romanticism and realism, it is imperative to note the dynamism of the principal character while elaborating the role of the other characters in the movie. They are inert and only reinforce the transformation in the main character. The other characters are pushed to convince Todd (the main character) to buy into their world view-either realism or romanticism. Since they are obstacle characters, they think that their point of view is the most ideal. Granted that, they try to prevail upon Todd to conform to their philosophy as a way of surmounting his challenges. An attribute of romanticism is vouching for new paths of learning rather than being a disciple of the norms and traditions of school (Washington 455). To exhibit how each character brought out the difference in romanticism and realism, Keating, a romantic applied a revolutionary style of teaching where he tempered fun and learning. This provoked a new way of thinking among the children as each believed that they could reach high heavens in whatever they did. Each had to follow his dreams and actualize it. Neil actualized his dreams when he defied his father to perform in a play. This is the highest level of romanticism. Another point worth mentioning is that even the choice of music slotted for specific scenes contributed to bringing out the difference through its mood and setting. Example include the song Keating whistled as he led the kids out of class to play soccer (Washington 457).
In summary, based on the analysis of the characters in the movie, the essay can deduce that romanticism frees the mind from the shackles of the law and tradition (realism). As a result, romanticism empowers an individual -Neil and Newanda- to have dreams and actualize them. As such, belief is key.
Collins, Mark. “Instructional Materials: Make-Believe in “Dead Poets Society.”” The English Journal 78.8 (1989): 74. Print.
“Romanticism.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/romanticism>.
Washington, Chris. “Romanticism and Speculative Realism.” Literature Compass 12.9 (2015): 448-460. Print.
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