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Hannah Weiss
Mrs. Baker
Literary Analysis
December 12, 2014
A Changing Society
We often face times in life where the opportunity to rebel comes about. It is usually
difficult to go against the grain and just rebel because, growing up, the principle of conformity is
taught, rather than rebellion. In the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and in the movie
Dead Poets Society the concept of rebellion and conformity was present because the main
characters from both stories face the thought and temptation to rebel, it was difficult for them to
retain their beliefs in the faces of others, and they went through many transformations to become
who they were in the end.
Neil Perry from Dead Poets Society and Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451 face the
thought to rebel at some point in their lifetime. The reason the thought of rebellion was existent
was because there was someone there to put the ideas into their thoughts. Neil Perrys strong
influence was Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating pushed Neil to embrace carpe diem. Carpe diem
means to seize the day, step outside of the box and be different, enjoy the pleasures of the
moment without concern for the future. Clarisse McCellan from Fahrenheit 451 was the
beginning to Guy Montags rebellion; she questioned him on things that he had never been
questioned on before. Are You Happy? she said (Bradbury 10). That was a question that
really hit Guy Montag hard. He didnt really even know the answer to that question. Clarisse

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and Mr. Keating were not to blame for Guy and Neils rebellion, but they did light that spark in
their imaginations to rebel against what was normal.
Neil and Guy really struggled to retain their beliefs in the face of others. Neil Perry from
Dead Poets Society never wanted to stick up for himself to his parents. He was always afraid to
do something that was different than his parents expectations because he was afraid of the
consequences. If Neil did something that his parents did not approve of then his parents would
become furious and pull him out of his boarding school and force him to attend Harvard. Guy
Montag from Fahrenheit 451 had his own beliefs that differed from those who live in his society.
He wanted to know the reasons why books were not allowed. He also wanted to know why
emotions could not be shown towards one another. If he were to express his differences, and
question the way the society does things, he would get in a large amount of trouble with the
government, and possible get kicked out of his own society. When Neil Perry and Guy Montag
couldnt express how they truly felt in the face of others, it was very hard for them to find
happiness because they had to follow the strict rules of others and they couldnt express
themselves.
Throughout life people will be faced with several obstacles to become a better person.
Guy Montag and Neil Perry go through a number of obstacles through a very short period of
time, and in the end they learned so much more about the people around them and themselves. It
is said that Most men lead lives of quiet desperation (Dead Poets Society). Most men stay
quiet about what they really want, but they dream of what they wish they could have. Neil and
Guy both lived lives of quiet desperation. Neil Perry, from Dead Poets Society, had a dream to
become an actor. His parents insisted that he went to Harvard to become a doctor. He couldnt
do what he wanted, even if he tried. He decided to follow his dreams anyways and played a lead

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role in a school play, even though his father told him not to, or else he would be pulled out of his
boarding school. When Neil decided to do that, it showed that he was becoming a stronger and
more independent person. The ultimate consequence that Neil faced was that his father pulled
him out of boarding school and they were going to make him attend a military school. That was
not what Neil wanted to do with his life, and he felt no way out of the situation, so he committed
suicide. Guy Montag, from Fahrenheit 451, wanted to uncover the mystery behind why books
were banned in his society. He knew that if he were to show his curiosity towards certain
members of his society then he would be banned from the city. He went against all of the rules of
society and started stashing books in his attic. Guy was caught and the firefighters burnt his
house down, and his wife left him. Guy ran away and was in hiding because the police were
looking for him so they could kill him. Guy had learned a very valuable lesson, and in the end
he found a group of hoboes that took him in and accepted him for who he was. If Guy wouldnt
have rebelled then he never would have found people that think the same way he does. Both
Guy and Neil had to face their fears and bite the bullet, and just go for it. There were
consequences for Guy and he learned from those consequences. Neil had different consequences
that he faced, and in the end he ended up taking his own life.
Throughout life we will be faced with the opportunity to either rebel or follow the
principle of conformity. There will always be downfalls and positive effect for each road taken,
but the right one has to be chosen. In the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and the movie
Dead Poets Society the ways of rebellion and conformity are present. Both Neil Perry and Guy
Montag throughout their story lines had to face the temptation to rebel, it was difficult for them
to retain their beliefs in the faces of others, and they went through many transformations along
the way to become who they were in the end.

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Works Cited
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: The Ballantine Publishing Group, 1953. Print.
Dead Poets Society. Dir. Peter Weir. Perf. Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, and Ethan
Hawke. Buena Vista Pictures, 1989. DVD.

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