Essay Comparing Dead Poets Society And A Separate Peace

Words: 460
Pages: 2

Everywhere, people struggle to try and meet the expectations set by society. A prominent theme in both the Dead Poets Society and A Separate Peace is how the pressure to conform to society can corrupt a person, expressed through the development of the characters in each work.

In the novel A Separate Peace, we see Gene, the narrator of the novel, telling the story as an adult, where he reflects upon his time at Devon 15 years ago. He admits that the reason for his visit is to see a flight of marble stairs and a tree by the river. Initially, Gene’s friendship with Finny is presented as innocent and carefree, with nothing to suggest otherwise. However, as the story progresses, we see how Gene’s competitiveness escalates, driven by the pressure
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As soon as they enter Welton Academy, the boys are ordered to recite (it is an all boys school) the four pillars in which they live by: tradition, honor, discipline, and excellence. Failure to live by these pillars will result in serious consequences. The boys are also put under pressure by the school and their parents, as they are expected to get good grades, so that they are able to attend good universities, especially those in the ivy league. Although many of the boys have other aspirations, they have no choice but to comply with their parents. A major example of this is Neil, one of the main characters in the movie. As Neil’s father quotes: “Son, I am trying very hard to understand why you insist on defying us, but whatever the reason, I am not going to let you ruin your life. Tomorrow I am withdrawing you from Welton and enrolling you in Braden Military School. You are going to Harvard and you are going to be a doctor.” Neil’s father exerts a huge amount of pressure over Neil, when all Neil desires is a career in acting. This eventually leads up to Neil’s suicide, as Neil’s father demands that Neil does everything his way rather than what Neil wants to