Dead Poets Society Essay

1589 words - 7 pages

Dead Poets Society a movie released in 1989 represents the problems with privet education in the late 1950’s. John Keating a new Teacher at Welton Academy, a private school for boys challenges the “the four pillars of; tradition, honor, discipline, and excellence” (Schulman) Welton has instilled in their students for one hundred years. Keating dares his students not to conform, but rather “to find their own voice before it is lost forever” (Schulman). Dead Poets Society points out the conformity many male students faced in private schools as well as in their personal lives during the late 1950’s. The main student character Neil Perry, along with Mr. Keating’s character shows the challenges those who dared to be different faced.
John Keating a former student of Welton is well aware of the expectations and traditions set forth by the Welton administration. However we see on the first day of class his teaching methods are very different from what Welton expects. While other teachers have students reciting Latin phrases over and over or impressing upon the students just how important the course work is, Keating takes his class on a trip to show them the students who came before them. He tells his students how these men seized the day and urged them to do the same “Here, Keating explained his core philosophy to his students – to contribute a meaningful verse, so that when it came time for them to die they would not discover they had not lived” (Dead Poets Society: The Death of a Romantic ). During the next class meeting Keating one of his students read the introduction to the textbook, which tells students how the use the Prichard Scale to rate poetry. By using two questions which rate the poems perfection and importance, plotting them on the graph, then calculate the total area and the poems greatness is revealed. Keating has his students rip the entire introduction out of their book and throw it away. Keating’s request though odd to his students, shows his deep love of poetry and his belief that pomes cannot be rated on a scale but must be considered in every way. What may not make impact to one person may make a big impact on a different person. Because Keating’s methods are different than those of the other teacher he is able to make bonds with his students that surpass that of a normal student teacher relationship at Welton.
Todd Anderson and Neil Perry are two of the students whose lives were deeply impacted by Keating. Todd is a very shy boy who feels like he has nothing to offer to anyone, Keating however sees Todd in a very different way he thinks Todd has a lot to offer and wants Todd to see that. “The turning point in this film is when Todd must write his own poem for Mr. Keating’s class. The thought of having to express his feelings in public fills Todd with intense fear” (White). Keating pulls Todd in front of the class after learning he did not write a poem and shows him a picture. He asks Todd what the man looks like, tells him to...

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