In what ways is Dead Poets Society about the conflict between realism and idealism?

Essay by donnytucoJunior High, 9th grade June 2004

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Society as we know, has been shaped by numerous conflicts in the past, some between nations, some between races, and some between the interests and issues of certain people. Dead Poets Society in particular, is about the conflict between realism and idealism. For example Welton Academy is a school that is deep-rooted in realism, the teachers are all realists and in turn did not allow the students to think for themselves, but taught them what they thought was necessary. The students, being young, have ideals but were never able to realise them. All it took was Keating with his idealism to show the students to think for themselves. This set off a massive chain reaction. Neil's death in particular was a example of the conflict between realism and idealism. Knox Overstreet's infatuation with Chris was also an example between realism and idealism, but to a lesser extent.

Firstly, Neil's conflict between realism and idealism was between his acting and his fathers interests.

In Neil's views, acting was all he wanted to do. He did not want to go to Harvard, become a doctor, or anything his father wants him to do. That was his ideal reality. In his father's view, he only wanted Neil to succeed in school, to go to Harvard, and to become a doctor, so he would not let Neil be distracted from his main becoming a doctor. That was Neil's reality. But even though his ideals were forbidden by his father, he still went after it, against his father's wishes. But when his father found out, and was denied any further chances to act as a result of him transferring to another school, he could not take his current reality. He could not handle his conflict between his reality and his ideals, so he...