DateCritical Reflection of the Illocutionary Acts in Scene 16 of Dead Poets Society

Paper Type:  Critical thinking
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  560 Words
Date:  2022-11-28

I decided to choose the subject since it was interesting to me. I was eager to learn about speech acts and their significance of adopting the speech act perspective in enhancing the meaning of spoken words and phrases. This is because we get accustomed to our daily conversations not because of the sentences we speak to one another, but to the speech acts that the various utterances are used to perform. The various speech acts include warnings, requests, promises, apologies, invitations, predictions, among others.

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In studying the speech act performed by Mr. Keating in the Dead Poets Society movie, two major questions formed the core of the analysis. One of the questions was about determining the types of illocutions performed by Mr. Keating to his students. The other question was about the most used type of illocution by the English teacher. The two questions are simple and would enhance the understanding of the various speech acts used by the protagonist in the movie. Perhaps, after finding out the most used illocution type, I could find out why Mr. Keating used it most often. From critically study, it emerged that Mr. Keating used the directive method the most number of times while addressing his students. This is an expected eventuality provided teachers act as mentors to their students and pass instructions to them.

The qualitative analysis was appropriate in analyzing Mr. Keating's speech acts from the Dead Poets Society film. The quantitative method was not used since it would be difficult to quantify the information. Speech acts are best analyzed through close observation and reference to theory but not through taking statistical data and running tests. Moreover, the records of spoken words are merely qualitative data but not quantitative data. An advantage of using the qualitative method is the fact that deeper insights into the material are obtained since the study is done from many different perspectives. Another advantage is that qualitative research enables us to understand the human experience in specific settings.

One of the notable disadvantages of the qualitative research method is that it leaves out contextual sensitivities by focusing mainly on experiences and meanings. Scene 16 was short and precise, which made me chose it for my analysis. It was easier to comprehend and analyze provided the protagonist (Mr. Keating) used varying speech acts. There are plenty of speech utterances in books, short stories, poems, and films that can be analyzed meaning that using other material could be possible.

The speech act theory explains the use of spoken words in the presentation of data as well as in the performance of a variety of actions. The theory was chosen due to its simplicity and suitability in deriving meaning from language and spoken phrases. The interesting part about films is their ability to connect to their audiences using language that many people can relate with. This is portrayed from Scene 16 of the Dead Poets Society movie in a clear and concise manner. A person can achieve approximately five illocutionary points, and it was interesting to find out the number of illocutionary points that Mr. Keating, from the Dead Poets Society film, used. Understanding the real intentions of the speaker prevents one from misquoting them or misinterpreting them. Moreover, the speech act theory is an important choice because of its applicability in several other disciplines such as law and medicine.

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DateCritical Reflection of the Illocutionary Acts in Scene 16 of Dead Poets Society. (2022, Nov 28). Retrieved from

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