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“Dead Poets Society” Review and Application to the Conflict Theory

“Carpe Diem, lads! Seize the day! Make your lives extraordinary. ” New teacher John Keating told his students. Keating, an outgoing and insurrectionary professor, motivates his students to follow their passions, pursue their dreams, and to think for themselves. The scene is from the movie “Dead Poets Society” directed by Peter Weir in 1989. The movie won an Oscar in 1990 for Best Screenplay and was nominated for Best Actor in a Lead Role, Best Director and Best Picture. The movie also won numerous awards from all over the world including Best Foreign Film from the Guild of German Art House Cinemas.

This paper will examine the movie and use the Conflict Theory as basis. The following paragraphs will provide a summary of the movie, a discussion of the Conflict Theory, how the Conflict Theory was applied to the movie and the importance of understanding the Conflict Theory. Body The film stars Robin Williams as John Keating, a sort of rebellious poetry professor, who teaches using his own way, disregarding the existing curriculum in Welton Academy. As said in the introduction, Keating encourages his students to follow their true desires and ambitions.

As a result, some of his students re-organized the Dead Poets Society, a secret poetry reading society which primarily aims to make girls swoon on its members. The movie shows the several conflicts like between the authoritarian head of the academy and Keating regarding Keating’s method of teaching. Another one is the clash of Keating’s advice to one of his students, Neil Perry, and the student’s stubborn father who mostly planned what Neil should do. This conflict of ideas leaves Neil whether to choose to pursue his obsession or to obey his father. Dead Poets Society is basically about the conflicts that we see on our everyday lives.

A recurrent resistance occurs among different pieces of society, this is what conflict theorists argue. Conflict theory originated from the ideas on how Karl Marx (1818-1883) views the social world. However, several forms of Conflict Structionalism emerged, the most important of these being Weberian sociology, named after its founder Max Weber (1864-1920). The theory stresses the function that every person or group’s ability has to apply influence and control others. Conflict is a form of disagreement rooted by the definite or perceived disagreement of needs, values, and interests.

It can be through one’s self (internal) or between two or more individuals (external). A collision of ideas, interests and actions frequently ignites conflict. That is why conflict means an existence of collision or clash. There are several types of conflict such as ideological conflict, interpersonal conflict, community conflict, intrapersonal conflict and many others. There are ways of dealing with conflict: 1) Avoiding (Lose-Lose); 2) Accommodating (Lose-Win); 3) Collaborating (Win-Win); 4) Compromising (Partial Lose-Lose); and 5) Competing (Win-Lose that may degenerate to Lose-Lose).

Choosing which way will be best in addressing conflict can be affected by one’s gender and culture, and the situation of the conflict. “Dead Poets Society” shows a number of conflicts, as I have stated earlier. The movie also showed some ways of dealing with a conflict and what will be the result of taking such actions. One instance is the conflict between Neil Perry and his obstinate father. “After you’ve finished medical school and you’re on your own you can do as you damn well please! ” the merciless Mr. Perry sermons his son, one of Keating’s prized students.

“But until then, you do as I tell you to! ” In this particular scene we can see that Neil’s father wants to be dominant always. Mr. Perry always assumes that he is right and what he does is the best for his son, not giving any respect to his son’s feelings and decisions. Neil neither wants to give up on his acting career nor contest his father’s decisions that resulted to him committing suicide. This action Neil did falls under the “avoidance” way of confronting conflict. As a result, Mr. Perry, Neil’s father lost his son as well as Neil losing his life. Another one is between Keating and Mr.

Nolan (the strict headmaster). The headmaster insists that Keating should teach based on the established curriculum of the academy. Keating, condemning by-wrote brainwashing system of so much traditional book learning, teaches using his own way, encourages his students to pursue their dreams and be more independent. Mr. Keating competes with Mr. Nolan on his beliefs. Keating appears the victorious one on this conflict since most of his students go well on their academics and they seem to be successful. At one point Mr. Keating looks as if he is the winner when suddenly, a tragic incident happened.

Neil Perry committed suicide, leaving both Mr. Keating and the headmaster losers. A lose-lose situation which resulted from competing with the other person’s idea or beliefs. Conclusion As I have stated, “Dead Poets Society” showed some of the conflicts that we encounter on our everyday lives. It also demonstrated ways on how to deal with them and illustrated what can be the results of taking actions to a particular conflict situation. Conflict theory insists that every society will always have conflicts, whether small ones like some minor disagreements of beliefs to another larger one.

Conflict is relational in the sense that emotional communication expresses relational classifications that contacts with the conflict, power and social status being the most important relational factors. Conflict is relational — “conflict is relational in the sense that emotional communication conveys relational definitions that impact conflict. ” “Key relational elements are power and social status. ” Works Cited Adler, Ronald B. , and Russell F. Proctor II. Looking Out, Looking In. California: Wadsworth Publishing. 2006.

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