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A person defines and shapes a personal identity through appreciation of personal history As a teenager the search for self is an extremely crucial step in actualization of our unique attributes Without an identity a person is merely a shell it is each persons unique personality that makes every person different from the other The film Dead Poets Society clearly traces the search for identity and how every individual has a unique identity It is easy to see that each character represents a certain quality Todds individual traits especially his newfound confidence portray Emersonian attributes Charlies fearless character who leads the group represents Thoreaus qualities However Neil is a meld of both qualities through his desires to please himself and not conform to his fathers idealsTodd the initially reclusive member of the group shows Emersonian ideals in that he eventually breaks out of the shell conforming him preventing him from fully interacting with his peers he finally shatters the barrier restricting him from freely being himself by reading his poem to the class finally expressing the Emersonian ideal of nonconformity Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist Emerson 279 At the beginning of the film Todd is too shy to be comfortable with the people around him thus already estranging him from society However as he spends more time in Mr Keatings class he learns to open himself up to people and be comfortable with his own personality Eventually he reaches the breaking point where he must take a complete step out of his comfort zone by reading his poem in order to progress any further Todds continuous demonstration of Emersons ideals is apparent in the situation when he refuses to support Neils decision to break the rules to be in the pay Todd openly displays his disapproval showing that he is not afraid to be a nonconformist and speak his mind just as Emerson writes Else if you would be a man
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