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The Influence and Importance of Free will or Free Choice in Career Selection of Students as

Seen on the Movie Dead Poets Society

Ramon Jonathan P. Sapalaran

On the movie Dead Poets Society, viewers were taken back to Wellton Academy in
Vermont. The story were set during the 1960s where much of the United States were aristocratic
and conservative. The story revolves around a new English teacher in the academy, John Keating
(Robin Williams) and his students: Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard), Todd Anderson (Ethan
Hawke), Knox Overstreet (Josh Charles), Charlie Dalton (Gale Hansen), Richard Cameron
(Dylan Kussman), Steven Meeks (Allelon Ruggiero), and Gerard Pitts (James Waterston).
("Dead poet's society," 1989)
The conflict of the story revolves around the unorthodox teaching methods of Keating
and his exercise and introduction of Free Will or Free choice to his students especially on
their life choices. This eventually led to the death by suicide of Neil Perry upon having a conflict
with his parents on his career choice. The said events forced the school management to remove
the teacher from the academy.
The factor of Free Will has been a debate for many years. It has been defined as the
ability to freely choose one of several possible alternatives, to make decisions the outcome of
which is and cannot be known in advance. It rules over the concept that human future cannot be
determined and that human choice is not pre-determined. Thus, it is the doctrine that dictates that

human choices are based on individual, self-will and not on the will or authority of others. It is
the concept of thinking for oneself. ("Nature of free," )
The factor of free will influences our life choices. And as seen on the movie, it greatly
affects the students and their career choice thus creating one of the movies conflicts. How does
Free Will influence the choice of career of students? And why it is important to have Free Will in
career selection?
Without free will, there can be no responsibility. As with any power or right given with
any human being, it should be handled with responsibility. Teaching a person to have Free Will
will also teach him to handle his choices more responsibly. It will be reflected upon choosing a
career path as persons who have access to Free Will tends to succeed more in their chosen field
in comparison with their deprived constituents. ("Is free will," 2008)
Having Free Will reduces anxiety and aggression among individuals. As people tend to
make their own individual choices based on their own personality, it reduces the risk of
developing anxiety and aggression that becomes present when presented with decisions or
actions not of their preference. It is an important factor as anxiety and aggression has been
shown to lower performance among individuals.
And finally, individuals that have access to Free Will is shown to have greater ethical and
moral standards than their deprived peers as people with high respect for their own opinion or
thinking is shown to have great respect for opinions of other people especially in their chosen
line of work.
So with the presence of the statements mentioned above, we can safely say that having a
Free Will or Free choice is influences and is important for our life choices most importantly on

our career choice. Having Free Will is essential in developing a well-rounded individual; an
individual that is moral, ethical, responsible and stable. Exercising Free Will on life choices will
help create a harmonious society, free from deprivations of the basic human privilege that a
person should enjoy.

Nature of free will. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[Web log message]. (2008, Dec 24). Retrieved from
Dead poet's society. (1989, June 9). Retrieved from