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Though he lost everything in the process, suicide was the only way for Neil to stand up to his father and live life to the fullest (ala “Carpe Diem”).
When Neil Perry decides to pursue a career in the performing arts, rather than in medicine, his father, Mr. Unmoved by Neil’s extraordinary performance in the play , Mr.
Perry continues to insist on controlling his son’s life and dictating his every move. Perry’s efforts were in vain; Neil had already experienced freedom—a privilege not easily relinquished.
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explores the concept of individualism in great depth.
Neil’s clearly existential actions were a necessary step in his process of self-discovery and individual growth.
On the complete other side of the spectrum is Knox Overstreet, the poster child of transcendentalism—and romanticism, in general.Knox recognizes the vital importance of individualism when he becomes infatuated with “Chris”—a girl that he has never actually met before.Knox, like Neil, recognizes the importance of individual intuition in guiding him through life and helping him make decisions.Knox decides to risk his life by standing up to Chet, Chris’s boyfriend, in a romantic attempt to win Chris’ heart.His numerous attempts do prove to be somewhat effective; Chris does goes to the play with Knox and even holds his hand.In both cases, characters assume individual authority for their choices and stop obeying traditional authority figures; they embark on a trip of self-discovery and individual growth that will have a lasting impact on their futures.One obvious example of existentialism is Neil Perry’s unfortunate suicide.On the other hand, however, the triumph of the individual spirit may sometimes have a positive outcome—as in the case of Knox Overstreet, an example of transcendentalism.When Knox becomes obsessed with a certain girl named “Chris”—without actually meeting her—he ends up risking his life to win her heart.The numerous conflicts that the characters face throughout the movie demonstrate the fundamental principles of existentialism and transcendentalism.Neil Perry’s suicide, for instance, illustrates the disturbing existential consequences that can transpire when an individual’s authority is allowed to prevail against tradition.