Dead Poet's Society Essay

4902 Words Jul 3rd, 2013 20 Pages
New England, the 1950s. Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke), a lonely and painfully shy teenager, who is under pressure by his stern parents because he must live up to his older brother's reputation to attend Yale and become a lawyer, arrives for the new semester at the Welton Academy for boys. This semester begins during an orientation gathering with a speech given by the stern Headmaster Nolan (Norman Lloyd), who states the academy's four pillars: Tradition, Honor, Discipline, and Excellence. Todd meets Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard) an ambitious student whom becomes his dorm roommate.

Later in his dorm, Neil is ordered by his grumpy and domineering father (Kurtwood Smith) to drop an extracurricular class in order to maintain good grades so
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These two actions show his difference from the other teachers because no other teacher would commit the actions he does. Also, he tells the boys they may call him "Oh Captain, my Captain", if they dare. These examples of Mr. Keating's teachings show the boys how to think for themselves. Mr. Keating then tells the boys "Carpe Diem", which is Latin for "seize the day".

In addition to Todd and Neil, a small group of other students whom include the lovesick Knox Overstreet (Josh Charles), the flip Charlie Dalton (Gale Hansen), the pragmatic Richard Cameron (Dylan Kussman), liberal Steven Meeks (Allelon Ruggiero) and the moderate Gerard Pitts (James Waterston), also react to the first day's lesson with comments from "that was weird" to "neat".

The next day, Keating, however, starts the class with a traditional teaching approach by having Neil read out loud the introduction to their poetry textbook, which describes how to rate the quality of poetry. Keating finds such mathematical criticism ridiculous and instructs his pupils to rip out the essay which is one of three ways that he demonstrates freedom of expression and non-conformity. When some students hesitate, he tells them "this is not the bible. This is a battle, a war. You will have to learn to think for yourselves." He later has the students stand on his desk as a reminder to look at the world in a different way.

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