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Emotion In A Separate Peace and Dead Poet's Society Essay


Emotion in Literature

There are differences in all forms of literature, but there is always one thing constant in all aspects of literature: emotion. All Literature shows us the power of emotion. It is Emotion, not reason, that motivates a character in literature, paraphrased from an interview with Duff Brenna. Writers infuse passion in their works. It is this passion guides a characters actions not rationality, because ones passions are often dreams or ideas and cannot be logically explained. The novel A Separate Peace, by John Knowles and the movie The Dead Poets Society written by Tom Schulman both illustrate this. In A Separate Peace, Gene, a student at Devon, wants to be like Finny, his best friend and roommate, this passion, this emotion, guides him though the story. Much like how Neil, a student at Weldon academy, lets his emotions guide him in the movie, The Dead Poets Society, to tragic consequences. These two stories show how it is emotion and not reason that guides a character to his ultimate fate.

In A Separate Peace, the symbolism in the novel portrays Genes emotions as they guide him though the story. Genes emotional need to be like Finny drives him to jounce the branch which makes Finny fall. He does this not out of jealousy but because deep down he wants to be like Finny, and seeing Finny fall or fail will make Finny more like him. Later, after Finnys first fall, Gene lets Finny train him to be in the Olympics out of guilt for making him fall. Symbolism runs through this novel, the river at Devon starts out clear and becomes foggier. This river is like Genes conscience, at the beginning of the novel, it is clear, but by the end, it is cloudy and dirty. His emotions and passions cause this because they lead him to jounce the branch and train for the Olympics. The story ends with Finny falling for a second time and dying because of it. Gene causes the first fall out of an emotional need to be like Finny and to make Finny seem less like a god. The second fall while not directly Genes fault, was caused by his not wanting Finny to know what he did. The Knowledge of this guilt makes Finny angry and causes him to fall down a flight of stairs as he storms off. It is Genes emotions, which lead him to his fate of killing Finny and finding peace afterward. A Peace, which came from the realization that it was his own funeral because it is his youth, which died with finny.

In The Dead Poets Society ,written by Tom Schulman, Neil Perrys emotions, lead him to tragic consequences. In the movie, Neil lets his emotions guide him and they lead him to acting. Although, in many ways his emotions are fragmented and he is already acting out his life- he acts like a good son for his father, a go-getter for his English teacher and a tough man for his friends- but he never truly finds who he is. His emotions lead him to acting because he knows it is what he wants and needs to find himself. Neil and his fathers conflict is caused by the fact that Neil has finally found something he wants and still cannot have it. Emotionally it breaks Neil completely when his father decides to enroll him in military school. It is Neils emotions of pain and anguish which push him to end his own life. His emotions lead him to acting, then his father breaks him and he falls over the edge to suicide. Throughout this story you can see his emotions leading him to be someone who in the end is lost forever. Neil Perry can be seen as representing meek parts of life. When someone pushes beyond their limits or into an unimaginable future or place humans they trust they often end up wishing they could just end it. However, most realize that it can be changed by pushing through and becoming something else, but it is always emotion that guides that action.

All Literature shows us the power of emotion. It is Emotion, not reason, that motivates a character in literature, paraphrased from an interview with Duff Brenna. Writers use passion to lead characters through a story, not rationality because characters emotions cannot be explained in a logical way. The novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles and the movie The Dead Poets Society written by Tom Schulman, both have characters whose emotions lead them through the story. In A Separate Peace, Gene is led by his guilt and envy to hurt and finally kill his friend because he wants to be more like him and for his friend to feel closer to earth. In The Dead Poet Society, Neil Perrys emotions lead him to find himself only to be broken by his fathers misunderstanding and pushed toward an unthinkable future which leads him to commit suicide in order to escape his own life. In real life people are also led by their emotions. Humans thrive on happiness and other good emotions. It is when they are broken or hurt emotionally in such way that they can no longer find those good emotions that they their passions lead them to tragedy.

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