Honors English 117
In the abyss of a conforming society, it takes a truly great force to create a ripple. Along with being ferociously difficult to create in the first place, a disruption such as this carried many looming consequences. Change brings with it adversity, and to overcome it takes significant courage and determination. However, once overcome, the benefits are extremely rewarding and many times, life-changing. In the movie The Dead Poets Society, a stiff “Welton Academy” (with pillars of Honor, Tradition, Discipline, and Excellence) is introduced to a new teacher, Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating brings the exact anecdote the school needs to awake from its coma of lock stepping. Change. A new way of thinking. Individuality. Mr. Keating, using all of these elements creates a change that although taxing, is vital.
Life is not forever nor is it particularly long. As singer and rapper Nicki Minaj says, “just to live doesn’t mean you’re alive.” It is important to live life to the fullest for as long as one can before death. In conforming atmospheres, living life, or “sucking the marrow out of life” is very difficult to do. One needs to break away and realize that if they do not start “living” soon, their legacy will be nonexistent. Keating teaches this in the beginning of the movie. He has his students look at pictures in the hallway of students who had been at the school long before. He explains to them that all of these kids had lived and died, with the sole purpose of conforming to the school’s policies and to the restricting society they live in. He says that they must live life to the greatest of their capabilities, and this one lesson begins the great change the students and the school in its entirety, undergoes.
People cannot inwardly express themselves until they do so to others. Humans need other humans in order to understand themselves. In a world of conformity, people are taught to filter their emotions and keep the rest bubbling inside. It is important to express one’s self and it is not always easy to do so in a society like Welton Academy. Mr. Keating teaches his students to show what they feel in multiple ways. He has them preform speeches in front of the class with nearly no preparation in advance and this lets them give themselves a voice. Then, a group of students find out about the “Dead Poets Society.” Poetry is a distinct way to evoke emotion and to expound feelings. It is a way to let inward emotion leak out to the surface. When the students begin to take part in the society they find their voice and become braver in all that they do.
A prime example of the change is Todd. Todd, one of the students, comes to Welton Academy, shadowed by the legacy of his older brother, a valedictorian of the school. This fact and possibly others lead to an acute shyness within Todd. It is to the point where he will not even talk loudly in front of others. When the headmaster says “you have some big shoes to fill” Todd only grumbles inaudibly. Being the younger sibling of a great success can be challenging. One may feel neglected, unappreciated and inferior. He or she may need a large role model to eek out all of the possibilities that he or she may keep inside. It takes someone who is determined and facile to preform this feat. Mr. Keating was just that man. Keating sensed Todd’s uneasiness and exploited it. He announced to the class that a speech he assigned “scared the hell” out of Todd. All of this was part of a scheme for Todd to embrace his fears. It worked. Todd, by the end of the movie, was just as vocal as anyone else at the school.
However there is always a bad with some good. Change, as stated before, does not come without adversity. Things can be taken too much to heart and instead of “sucking the marrow out of life” people “choke on the bone”. As important as it is to live life to the fullest, it is important to be somewhat reasonable and level-minded to protect oneself from harm. Sadly, one student “Neil” did not have this filter. Neil was extremely interested in acting however had one large problem: his dad would have none of it. Neil’s father was obsessed with the idea of Neil becoming a doctor and, through his narrow-mindedness, he rejected the acting. This brought Neil to make juristic decisions. He stood up to his father, although for only a second, long enough to realize that his dad would not be persuaded. Neil decided that if he could not live life to its core, he would not live it at all. Neil, soon after, shot himself dead. Overreaction can lead to idiotic decisions and it is one thing to express oneself, quite another to make life changing, or ending, decisions.
Despite the negative, it is easy to see that change can bring great things. Life is to short to spend under a
rock, following the mob, and doing as expected. However, doing the contrary by oneself isn’t easy. It takes a great person, like Mr. Keating, to bring out the best in everyone.
Welton Academy is a typical boys’ school that follows four pillars that apparently lead to success, once you have completed four years there. While following the staircase to success for many years, its monotonous students are being drowned by hardships brought on by school work and their strict parents. When the light at the end of the tunnel appears and Mr. Keating teaches the scholars to live life, it opens a whole new world for them, one that breaks away from discipline, excellence, tradition and honor. By breaking away, Neil and Todd both live life to the fullest, and squeeze every ounce out of it despite the best efforts of their parents and the school.
With all teachers setting the ground rules, the boys are ready for the typical class at Welton. Walking into the classroom and preaching how the textbook won’t help them, Mr. Keating orders his students to tear up the introduction from their book. With a slight hesitation, the boys rip it out. Unaware of what lies ahead, they already like their future in Mr. Keating’s class. Teaching them morals, different types of literature, he opens theirs minds and inspires them. He teaches them that literature can be used to teach -- or it can be merely a boring benchmark. His philosophy is to teach students good morals and to use what they learned to inspire creative thinking, to find a new talent and pursue it no matter what people think, and if they disagree, to explain to them why they want to do what they are pursuing . Mr. Keating pushed every kid to his potential, and by doing so slowly molded them into men and transformed them into people who look at the bright side of every situation, people who are wise, people who are looked up to. It is obvious that Mr.Keating’s methods are largely accepted by the members of the Dead Poets Society, a group of students who meet in a dark cave to smoke, look at explicit magazines and read poems to each other. The last doesn’t sound like it fits, but it is actually the reason for the entire gathering. After countless hours in class and doing homework, they continue to try to find morals in pieces of writing to inspire one another with Mr. Keating’s “carpe diem” philosophy. They all try to motivate each other to accomplish whatever is on their minds, whether it be acting or chasing girls. The band of brothers go through a major transition, with help from Mr. Keating.
The uphill climb for all of the boys is completed. Every one succeeds in something they wanted to do by following the Mr. Keating rule. When everything seems like it is good, all goes bad. Neil ultimately kills himself after he comes to the realization that his life is already planned without any of his own input. The death of Neil Perry is blamed on Mr. Keating and his style of teaching. However, his mentality has worked for the whole class, with the exception of two people. Embracing the carpe diem philosophy, Neil had become a role model for Todd and other younger students, fulfilling Mr. Keating’s goal. The entire school community is shocked about the death of Neil, but no one is more shocked than the members of the Dead Poets Society, who are wrecked from the inside out by the loss of their leader and friend. The more the traumatized friends look back on their fallen classmate, the more they learn from his life. He leaves the same handprint on them that Mr. Keating did: don’t let anything stop you from pursuing your dreams.
The lessons Mr. Keating taught the boys transformed and molded them into men. He used poems, short stories and quotes to inspire their intellectual growth. He transformed them into role models and leaders – making them a copy of himself, their “captain my captain.”
“Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, ‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.’ Don't be resigned to that. Break out!”- John Keating
Dec. 21 2012
Literary Analysis- Dead Poet’s Society
In life there are many defining moments, you can either let the moment define you or define the moment. The chances in life can change your self completely and change where you’re headed in life. These chances and risks were not being taking by the boys at Welton Academy. The boys at Welton focused on the four strict policies of tradition, excellence, honor, and discipline. They were letting their life pass by, instead of living in the moment. Mr. Keating told the boys they must lie by the saying “carpe diem” which means seize the day. Seizing the day was exactly what these boys hadn’t been doing. Though it would appear that Mr. Keating gave Neill the power to take his own life through his carpe diem philosophy, he in fact gave him the positive ability to live your life to the fullest and then Neill was to stand up to his father.
Mr. Perry was the stereotypical dad. Pressuring Neil to succeed in what he thought was best but not what Neil loved and wanted for his own self. The pressure continued out of the house into Welton. Welton Academy demanded the boys enrolled to fulfill their idea of perfect, by achieving the four expectations of greatness. Mr. Perry’s militaristic goals for his son pushed Neil off the edge. Mr. Perry wanted his son to succeed in life as a graduate from Harvard as a doctor after 10 years at military school. Neil wanted to continue his enrollment at Welton. He was interested in poetry and drama, which did not follow his father’s plan. Neil’s mother was over powered in the family. Her word did nothing against Mr. Perry’s strict demands. Neil tried so hardly to listen to his father showing respect. He reached the point where he couldn’t suffer anymore.
The first day in Mr. Keating’s class he told the boys the Greek saying “carpe diem”. This expression meant seize the day. The boys at Welton did exactly the opposite of what Mr. Keating believed in. The boys at Welton were too focused on meeting the high expectations from the headmaster. Without taking risks and chances, they made their way through school. Mr. Keating changed the views of the boys class by class. Each of his lessons were different from all other professors. He was trying to prove to the boys that your life will not be what you want it to be, unless you make it what you want it.
Neil was always pushed the opposite way of his dreams. His father was always preventing him from doing the activities he wanted. He went behind his father’s back and auditioned for the play. Once Mr. Perry found out what his son did, he was furious. Neil had no one to turn to in his family because his mother’s opinion meant nothing against Mr. Perry’s harsh demands. Mr. Keating was the only one who Neil could go to and be him self. Mr. Keating focused on teaching the boys on taking charge of your life and doing something that will change it. After Neil performed in the play, Mr. Perry told Neil he was being sent to military school and then applying to Harvard. Neill did not want to leave Welton or continue on to be a doctor. His dreams and wishes in life meant nothing to his father’s demanding charges, but Neil’s actions did. Neil stood up to his father through his actions not his words. He took his own life because his father was taking away his dreams.
Neil has been muted by his family his whole life. His words mean nothing to his father. Mr. Perry set the bar so high for his son and Neil did not want to continue on in his life. Everything in life had been chosen for Neil. Mr. Keating changed Neil’s view of not only his life, but also himself. He was given the strength to make a decision for himself. The unique teaching styles of Mr. Keating changed the boys view on life and gave them the power to live their life to the fullest and gave Neil the courage to overcome his father’s strict demands.
21 December 2012
Dead Poets’ Society – Understanding the Opposing Viewpoint
Water. Its flow is unmistakable. It conforms to all solid objects in its path, molding itself around them, going in a uniform downwards direction. What if there was a strong enough force to push this stream into other paths, other tributaries? If that force could remove all the obstacles, would the water take on a different form? In the Dead Poets’ Society, directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams as Mr. Keating, this water is manifested in the form of the students at Welton Academy. This academy is a strict prep school, stressing tradition, honor, discipline, and excellence. All of the enrolled students have either aspirations or expectations to be accepted into highly ranked colleges and take up high-paying positions. Each of the classes in this school is extremely rote and old-fashioned – the books are thick, the teachers are dull, and the workload is huge. However, a certain English teacher, Mr. Keating, dramatically changes the ebb and flow of three students with his radical teachings of romanticism from within an ocean of realism.
Love is almost impossible in Welton Academy. The rule against girls in the school prevents almost any interaction with the opposite sex for the boys. Knox Overstreet, however, is struck by Chris, who is dating the son of one of his family friends. Keating’s teachings of romanticism and carpe diem shape Knox’s mind to think only of Chris. He vows to seize the day “even if it kills [him].” Overstreet can be said to have taken Mr. Keating’s teachings the most literally. He acts on impulse and writes romantic poems for the girl of his dreams. In the name of “love”, Knox embarrasses Chris in front of her peers without ever giving a thought to the man to whom she is practically engaged. However, the most resounding point of this arguably awkward relationship is the blatant reference to the Midsummer’s Night Dream play that is currently playing at the school. In the Shakespearean play, four lovers are sent into chaos when each is made to love another without reason besides magic. The romantic implications of that situation, namely loving as an impulse and allowing fantasy to engulf reality, can be found in Knox and Chris’s interactions. Knox, clouded by his own fantasy of “a girl named Chris, with hair and skin of gold”, acts without really thinking over what he is doing. Chris, on the other hand, is inexplicably drawn to Knox – she holds hands with him for the duration of the ending play. The image of love here is evident, but the effects of Mr. Keating’s carpe diem teachings on Knox are even more prominent. The reason that Knox is one of those who stand up at the end of the movie is due solely to the fact that he took Keating’s teachings to heart – he sacrifices the relationship that his family had with the Dansburrys for Chris. Unfortunately, not many of the boys had the “happily-ever-after” ending that Overstreet could boast.
As one of the most important characters in the movie, Neil Perry stands almost like a mentor to Todd, yet, due to a variety of reasons, cannot speak for himself and commits suicide. Mr. Keating tries his best to help Neil, as Neil is obviously struggling under the pressures implemented by his overbearing father. He seems to not heed much of Keating’s advice, however. Perry does not find his voice, which is arguably the most important lesson that Keating teaches. Neil can only truly speak when he is acting, where he can be somebody else for a short period of time, and when he is reading his poems. The fact that he is the one who questions Keating on the Dead Poets’ Society, he is the one who starts the meetings, and he is the one with the most important role in Midsummer’s Night Dream shows his irreplaceable role as a paradox. He can be said to be one of the only few people of Keating’s class who understands the lessons that should be taken away, but he also does not speak up to his father, even when Mr. Keating directly addresses this problem. This inability leads into his decision to commit suicide. Unlike what many people think, even though his father pushes him over the limit in his studies, and even though Mr. Keating puts the “extreme” romantic notions into his mind, the final decision was that of his own. He commits his own suicide – it is Neil’s own choice. Thus, his position as a martyr might be slightly off. Keating, who sacrifices his job of teaching, an occupation that he values just as much as his life, for the students, can be described as a martyr. There is evidence pointing to the fact that suicide was already forming at the back of Neil’s mind throughout the book, and his last scene with his father was only the breaking point, and his only soli
There is evidence pointing to the fact that suicide was already forming at the back of Neil’s mind throughout the book, and his last scene with his father was only the breaking point, and his only solid decision (besides acting in the play). Neil is like the reverse personality of Todd. Where Todd is meek and helpless, Neil expresses himself. Where Todd expresses himself, Neil is meek and helpless. A major way in which we can see into Neil’s thought process is during the Dead Poets’ Society meetings. One of the stories that he read especially stood out, as it greatly reflected on his own life:
“It was a dark and rainy night. And this old lady who had a passion for jigsaw puzzles
sat by herself in her house at her table to complete a new jigsaw puzzle. As she pieced
the puzzle together, she realized to her astonishment that the image that was formed was
her very own room, and the figure in the center of the puzzle, as she completed it, was
herself. And with trembling hands she placed the last four pieces and stared in horror at
the face of the demented madman at the window. The last thing that this old lady ever
heard was the sound of breaking glass.”
If the old lady is Neil and the puzzle is his life, then the madman, death, only breaks through when Neil realizes that the whole life he was building up to this point was an act. Reality was at the door, and as he could not deal with the fact that he did not seize the day for the past few years, he accepts death. Obviously, as he is dead, he could not stand up at the ending scene – he makes too many mistakes, and it convinces him to take his own life. His roommate, however, took a drastically different path with Keating’s teachings.
Todd Anderson. A young man whose brother took the spots of valedictorian and national merit scholar. The main character of Dead Poets’ Society. As one who is expected to “have big shoes to fill”, our protagonist seems to neither meet the audience’s expectation nor the teachers’ expectations. Todd is shy and awkward talking to others. He is deathly afraid of reading aloud in front of his peers. This Anderson can barely put on his brother’s socks, much less fill his shoes. Yet, the most profound impact of Keating and his teachings on the students can be found in Todd. Keating assigned each of the students to write a poem to present to the class at some point near the beginning of the movie. Todd, who may or may not have written the poem, tells Mr. Keating that he did not do the assignment. Keating recognizes Todd’s potential, and he brings out Todd’s voice in front of the class, however short that lasts. Nevertheless, Todd stays a very reserved and quiet child for the duration of the movie. After the climax, the death of Neil Perry, Todd becomes a man. His interpretation of Keating’s messages keeps him from overreacting, but also allows him some freedom to find both his heart and his voice. Neil’s death, as a key is to a door, unlocks Todd’s true self. Todd is the first to stand up at the ending scene, showing that at least one in the class understands what Keating taught. Keating is visibly moved – Todd is the one stream that created its own path.
Each of the three main students in the movie had their own story. Each chose their own path, and Keating was instrumental in each. If Keating is deleted form the equation, the force that pushed each of those in the class would disappear. It is quite possible that the students would then be able to pursue a better life – one with a highly ranked college, one with a high paying job. However, what is the point of monetary gain? Is it for “happiness”? It is. These materialistic views of enrolling into, say, Harvard Medical School to become a renowned neurologist, will serve no purpose but as a replacement for happiness. However, all of Keating’s’ students took their own route to happiness. Neil may not have been happy his whole life, but at the moment that the trigger was pulled, he was at peace. Knox is obviously happy with the love of his life, Chris. And Todd. Todd does not quite live up to his parents expectations (yet), but he takes something away from Keating’s classes. He realizes this, and uses it to the best of his abilities. His future is probably the most clouded of those in his class – he paves way for a completely new outcome to happiness. Thus, the streams of water flow on, whether it is along the river of conformity or Robert Frost’s “road less travelled by”.
13 December 2012
For some, poetry is just rhyming verse to be memorized and graphed. For others, it is a gateway to the soul, to life itself, and even to what lies beyond. The realists look to the future, and what lies in the middle of that path is swept away, while the romantics cling on, and “suck the marrow out of life”. In Dead Poets Society, Welton Academy, the stuck-up school of ‘discipline, tradition, honor, and excellence’ gets a hard jolt as the new English teacher, Mr. Keating, strives to give the boys of the future a taste of intellectual challenge, real happiness and success. With the barbaric Yawp, his rejection of conformity, and the idea of Carpe Dium, Keating becomes the father many of the students never had. Through the teachings of Mr. Keating, a group of Welton boys break through the shroud of lies and tradition and ‘Seize the Day’.
Keating’s first convert to the beauty of poetry is Neal Perry, whose family is about as loving and caring as a pack of wolves. With his father deciding his entire life for him, Neal walks through his life as a shadow, “playing the part of the dutiful son.” When he first finds out about the Dead Poets Society, Neal joins, not out of interest as much as a way to get back at his father. Even when he kills himself, staining his father’s perfect home with blood, he does it to preserve himself, and to defy the oppressive leader of his ruined family. Neal did exactly that, leaving his body to the dark forces beyond. As Puck, his final soliloquy is his way of opening his soul up into the beauty of poetry, asking for forgiveness, even when he has done nothing to wrong anyone. Keating showed him the beauty of Carpe Dium; that life only comes once, and you should live it how you want to live it. One quote by Robert Frost said, “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference”. Neal proved this, going down the Road of Death and to the road walked only by the brave, the daring, the mighty. Neal had grown from a weak, sniveling boy into a strong young man. To the end, he was the actor. He carved his own path through the field of oblivion.
One of the first to follow the spirit of Carpe Diem, but one of the last to believe in it, Knox Overstreet is the kind of boy that many people would overlook at Welton. He isn’t as smart as Neal, as famous as Todd, or as rebellious as Charlie. He is an all-rounder. That doesn’t make his hopes, dreams, and expectations any more or less important that anyone else’s. When he first meets the lovely but off-limits young woman named Chris, he is instantly in love, but dismisses it as a hopeless venture. Then he meets Keating, and suddenly everything seems, not only achievable, but also worthwhile. He puts down the banner of discipline and goes on a quest to find his true love. This truly shows when he makes a call to Chris, after overcoming his self-doubt, “My parents will kill me. All right, goddam it. You’re right. Carpe Diem, even if it kills me”. He truly took Carpe Diem to heart more than all the other Dead Poet Society members. In the end, he is a true romantic. He gets the girl, some new friends, and a happy ending. And he would always stand by his mentor Mr. Keating, on “Dead poet’s Honor”.
Of all the boys under the care of Mr. Keating, the one that showed the greatest development, and the boy who needed the spirit of the romantics most, was Todd Anderson. He started off facing many challenges. In an environment where his parents controlled every aspect of his life, he had become a yes-man; a quiet, shy boy who finds expressing his own individuality as easy as eating stone. In the face of the big shoes he had to fill, and of the indifference thrust upon him by his family and school staff, he had retreated into his shell, like an oyster hiding from a hungry starfish. Keating drew him out with his can-do attitude, and challenged Todd to be himself, for what is life if you are living it for the benefit of someone else? Todd’s ‘sweaty toothed madman’ and ‘blanket of truth that always leaves your feet cold’ seem to be his interpretations of his own life. That he must be a madman to allow others to rule his life, and that the truth of that statement does nothing to keep his feet warm. And it isn’t as much the verse that matters most. It is his willingness to express himself to the world. Even as he tests “the world’s first un-manned flying desk set,” he is learning to decide his own life. He is the first to salute Keating, the great romantic, and the last to be forced to send him away. He might get expelled. However, he has learned that he doesn’t care. He intends to suck the marrow out of life, not caring if he chokes on the bone.
Mr. Keating had a huge influence on the intellectual and emotional development of these boys. He didn’t as much tell them what to do, but rather gave them advice on what they think they should do, in the face of those that sought to oppress them. More than anything, though, he gave them the actual “Dead Poets Society,” as well as the tools to decide things for themselves. As pointed out by a skeptical Knox, “You mean it’s just a couple of guys reading poetry”? But it was more than that. In letting “the poetry drip off their tongues like honey,” the boy’s risked expulsion for their own beliefs and with every new piece they wrote or shared a new piece of them came into view. They not only discovered themselves. They embraced their new identities. The Dead Poets had awoken the kindred spirits of young men like Neal, Todd, and Knox, as well as Charlie, Meeks, and Pitts. One quote by Mahmoud Darvish says, “Had I two Roads, I would have taken their third.” This was the greatest lesson Keating taught them. “Seize the Day, boys, and make your lives extraordinary.”
Mr. Brocato- English 117
15 December 2012
A bamboo stalk is one of the sturdiest plants alive. Its beautiful greenery and natural calming effect associated with zen gardens is just one of its many purposes. In previous centuries, bamboo was used as a form of torture. Victims were chained on top of bamboo seedlings, and as the bamboo began to grow stronger and thicker every day at an alarming rate, it would eventually pierce through the prisoner chained over it and break free into the sunlight, killing its own oppressor until it was free and the domination that was pressing down on it was eliminated. In the acclaimed film the Dead Poets Society, Neil Perry, a senior at the elite Walton Prep School for boys, would be able to relate strongly to the strong-willed bamboo. His own wish is to be free of the web that his father has spun for him, a web so tightly made that it seems impossible to break away. Neil desires a future he can choose, despite the fact his father has created high expectations for him. As Neil makes the decision to take his own life, the blame falls on Mr. Keating, Neil’s beloved English teacher and mentor, instead of his demanding father. Neil’s father is to be blamed for Neil Perry’s death because of his under appreciation for Neil’s talents and choices, and his extreme attempt to control Neil’s life.
Neil Perry’s death can be blamed on his father, a demanding man who has extremely high expectations of his son Neil. Mr. Perry, though overbearing, wanted his son to have a better life than he had, and showed his love by sending his son to the best school to get an education that would lead him into a promising career in medicine. However, Neil wanted to take on a career in acting, which was a profession looked upon with uttermost disgust by Mr. Perry. Mr. Perry’s disdain in Neil’s choice when he chooses to perform in a performance of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” leads Neil to begin to realize that he has been acting as a person apart from himself. The way Neil acts in front of Mr. Perry is an illusion, and Neil’s acting is in truth, Neil’s real personality. When Mr. Perry fails to understand Neil’s ambitions to become an actor, it causes Neil to question his what he wants for himself, and what his father wants for himself. What Mr. Perry sees as love, Neil takes for selfishness and demanding nature. Neil is living a double life, when he is with his friends and doing what he enjoys, and when he is around his father. This first becomes evident when Neil is in his dorm, being rowdy and rambunctious, and his father comes in. Neil’s relaxed demeanor and playful attitude immediately disappear. Neil becomes an obedient dog, doing everything his father tells him without opposition. This is one of the main reasons that Mr. Perry fails to understand his son’s ambitions to become an actor. Mr. Perry has never been opposed by his son, leaving him to believe that Neil is supportive of his father’s decisions in sending him to medical school and controlling his future. If Mr. Perry had been a more open father, and had asked Neil’s opinion about some of his choices, then Neil would not have committed suicide to due the fact that his father had belittled his opinions and choices.
Mr. Perry plans out Neil’s whole life down to the last detail. There is no room for comfort, for imagination or creativity. To Neil, his life seems like an noose that his father has made, and there is no escaping it. In Neil’s eyes, his life isn’t worth living because his whole life has been a lie, an act, just to please his demanding father. Neil’s major realization of how much he has been lying to himself and the people around him occurs when he is performing in the play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” When Neil Perry sees his father walk in, and he recites his lines, he feels his first drop of freedom because he is indirectly telling his father how he feels, even though his father doesn’t understand. Mr. Perry’s closed mind things that matter to Neil are a major cause of Neil committing suicide. Mr. Perry plans out Neil’s whole life, and never stops to consider what is important to Neil, and not important to himself. Mr. Perry even picks out Neil’s personal belongings, his pajamas are neatly folded on his bed when he walks into his room. As Neil matures, he wishes for his freedom of his choices and freedom of his life. He is ready to break free of his father’s grip on his life and choose his career and paths in life. Neil’s choice to become an actor is deeply opposed by his father, and this is one of the reasons Neil commits suicide. The base fact that Neil is not able to do what he wants with his life is becoming a fact that is too much for Neil to deal with, so he escapes from his father
so he escapes from his father forever by killing himself. Neil sees this as the only escape from his over controlling dad, and sees himself as the saviour of his friends because he hopes his suicide will open his father’s eyes as well as the parents of his friends to what they have been putting their children through.
Neil Perry’s suicide is the direct effect of Mr. Perry’s insistent demand of controlling Neil’s life as well as the scorn he has looking at Neil’s choices. Mr. Perry continually belittles Neil’s achievements and refuses to let Neil make his own choices in life, causing Neil to believe the only escape he has from this infinite prison is killing himself. Though Neil does this to make his father open his eyes to all the pain he has caused Neil, Mr. Perry’s eyes remain blind as ever. Neil’s sacrifice goes unseen by the person that matters most. Mr. Perry is an over demanding father, and he criticizes his sons choices, making Neil feel as though he is a dog on a leash, being led wherever his father wants him to go but never able to make his own choices in life. Yet Neil continues to mature, and under the guidance of Mr Keating, sees the world in a different way, a way his father does not approve of. Mr Perry immediately pulls Neil away from the gentle guidance of Mr. Keating, whom Mr. Perry blames for the death of his son. In reality, Mr. Perry only has himself to blame because he was pushing his son too hard in a direction that Neil didn’t want to go. Neil, like bamboo, wanted to break free of his oppressor, and did so by killing himself to leave his father one final message. A message that was left unnoticed.
Conformity of Society
Why do people be rebellious? Is it to make themselves feel “tough” or is it the urge to be free from the rigorous daily life routine. Rebellious people start trends once someone goes against society, others start to do the same thing. In the movie Dead Poets Society the student at Welton are in strict orders and are bound to their school code of Tradition, Honor, Discipline, and Excellence. The students at Welton are introduced to the man who will change their lives forever, Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating is the students’ savior and is the only one with the key to free the students from the prison of Welton. Mr. Keating provides a new way of thought process to the students at Welton and strikes an everlasting change into them.
Welton School is filled with the teachings of romantics, Mr. Keating on the other hand brings a new sense of realism to Welton and teaches the students to look at life in a “larger way.” Mr. Keating’s new teaching style is a surprise to Welton students and they are nervous to react to it. Mr. Keating teaches his students the phrase “carpe diem” which in Latin means ‘seize the day’, he shows them that they don’t have to live life with a day by day routine, they can go against society and be proactive in different ways. In the movie Charlie Dalton takes Mr. Keating’s lesson into a whole different context and calls out the dean on not allowing girls into Welton. Charlie took the phrase “carpe diem” into a whole different perspective. Mr. Keating explains to Charlie that you can be individual and live freely, but you can’t be disrespectful. Mr. Keating quotes “I said sucking the marrow out of life, but not choking on the bone.”
Mr. Keating changed a lot of students’ lives through his teaching, but the most noticeable change happens to Todd Anderson. Todd Anderson is a quite kid who is trapped behind his brother’s legacy at Welton. Mr. Keating helps Todd find his voice and periodically it comes to life. Todd is shown his barbaric “yawp” by Mr. Keating and his poetry shared with the class is remarkable. Todd realizes he actually can write poetry and reveals his life in his lines. During this scene Todd quotes “truth, like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.” This quote shows Todd’s agony from leaving in his brother’s shadow, he looks for an escape but is always caught. Mr. Keating exposed a side to Todd he never knew he had, Todd was on his way out of his brother’s shadow, he just needed a little push to get there. Mr. Keating refused to believe Todd was a quite kid and never stopped pushing him to be loud, and to share his ideas.
Mr. Keating had provided much change to Welton, but also started a rage in Neil Perry. Neil Perry is a high achieving who is ‘suffocated’ by his father to do great things. Neil seems to be stuck in life and can’t seem to be able to make his own choices, as his father has done them all already. Neil is put in stressful situations and is looking for a way out. Neil wants to set an example and to get back at his dad for ‘suffocating’ him. Neil has had his whole life controlled and is now making his own choice, suicide. Neil is sick and tired of the conformity and being ushered around like a prized horse. Neil later after attempting to stand up to his father and unsuccessfully persuading him to let Neil make his own choices, shot himself. Neil had shown his colleagues that you don’t have to conform, you can be an individual. Neil Perry escaped his life and did not life his life to the full capability, he found a quick escape and took it. Neil did not think of the experiences he would miss in life. Neil thinking he would get back at his Dad didn’t work as intended. Instead of feeling responsible and realizing he was the cause of his son’s death, he was provoked to go after Mr. Keating. That’s right Mr. Keating, the man who had taught the importance of being an individual and achieving the goals you want to achieve.
In the days leading up to Neil’s death Todd Anderson had just been coming out of his ‘shell’ he now had a voice in decisions, he could speak for himself and do the things he wanted to do. Todd now was beginning to lose his voice again after Neil’s death. All the work Neil had done to escape the pressure on him and finding his voice was suddenly all taken away from him by Neil’s death. Keating had done what was intended, to change the conformity of Welton students, he had taught people to be an individual. Through example Mr. Keating showed the students at Welton to be a leader not a follower. Mr. Keating set an example and gave the students of Welton a phrase they truly took to heart “carpe diem.” The students live by this saying and always w
will even it if kills them.
17 December 2012
Dead Poet’s Society Literary Analysis
No one remains the same. Every day people change, molding and evolving until they change who they are completely and there is no going back. Most attempt to modify their appearance, some attempt to modify their personality, but very few succeed in modifying their way of thinking. In the 1989 movie, Dead Poet’s Society, directed by Peter Weir, one of the main boys that attend Welton academy is Todd Anderson. Throughout the entire movie Todd drastically changes. When he first arrives at the academy, Todd is an introverted, outspoken follower, due to the pressure of living up to his older brother’s standards. As the movie progresses, Todd learns from the teachings of his English professor, the teachings that teach him the true meaning of Carpe Diem and its necessities. Through many experiences and scenes throughout the book, Mr. Keating, his professor, teaches Todd how to truly “seize the day,” up until the point where he has become a charismatic leader. After experiencing firsthand the teachings of Carpe Diem by Mr. Keating, Todd Anderson evolves from being a timid boy pressured with expectations into a passionate character that finally finds his voice and pursues his true desires.
At the beginning of the movie, Todd is introduced as a bashful student that cannot seem to put into words what he truly thinks. When confronted by headmaster, Mr. Nolan, who says, “You seem to have some very big shoes to fill,” Todd is at a loss for what to say and beings to stutter, demonstrating his shyness and the high expectations of his family balancing on his shoulders. As if being in a school where excellence and honor is expected of everyone is not enough, Todd also has to cope with the pressures of living up to his brother’s reign as stress slowly eats away at him. This large, prestigious school emphasizes Todd’s starting point as a timid character, but he will begin to learn how to “seize the day” through the teachings of Mr. Keating.
Todd’s evolution as a character is also in part impacted by the teachings of Mr. Keating and the setting of severe discipline. One of the first lessons Mr. Keating teaches Todd is that of Carpe diem, when he is forced to deliver a barbaric YAWP and a poem to the class, on demand and blindfolded. Although this was, yes, a successful exercise for Todd, it indeed served a bigger purpose. This is also considered to be Todd’s epiphany of acknowledging that he has a voice meant to be heard. It is his first of many baby steps that Todd took in the movie to find himself, molding him into a character that pursues his desires and uses his words to achieve those goals. He accomplishes this despite the forces opposing him, specifically Welton Academy. This elite boarding school focuses on the pillars of honor, excellence, tradition, and discipline. A teacher like Mr. Keating, who decides to rip out the pages of the introduction and has his students march in the courtyard, is not this academy’s average teacher. In these actions, not only demonstrates his passion, but also how much his teachings go against everything the school stands for. At the beginning of the movie, Todd can be considered someone of discipline, who never speaks against those who have superiority. By the end of the movie, he has developed into a character that rebels against the rules set before him when he stands up to Mr. Nolan, seizing both the day and the moment. Overall, Todd has changed from a Welton student into a fervent individual ready to express his true feelings.
The very end of the novel proves to be Todd’s biggest moment of glory. It serves as the moment when, after chipping away at his own surface, baring himself to the outside world, and searching the core of who he truly is, Todd finally breaks free from his old persona completely. During the very end of the movie, Todd’s drastic change is exposed through his numerous actions. After the tragic death of his best friend Neil Perry, Todd dashed outside into the snow and gently murmured, “It’s so beautiful” then threw up from the tragedy of it all. In such an emotional and unstable state, the reader is suspended in not knowing if this event will force Todd into the bashful and reserved young child who stutters on his words, or if he is too far down the path towards becoming his own independent leader that this tragic event has provided an opportunity for a major breakthrough. The reader’s questions are answered by his later actions. After Neil’s death, all boys are brought into questioning as to their involvement in the secret meetings of the Dead Poet’s Society and Mr. Keating is then fired for his unruly teachings. Knowing this, Todd so desperately wanted Mr. Keating to know that he didn’t say anything against him. As he comes back into the ro
After Neil’s death, all boys are brought into questioning as to their involvement in the secret meetings of the Dead Poet’s Society and Mr. Keating is then fired for his unruly teachings. Knowing this, Todd so desperately wanted Mr. Keating to know that he didn’t say anything against him. As he comes back into the room, Todd cannot resist but make his first significant act of rebellion in this final scene. After rudely interrupting Mr. Nolan’s teachings and being told to stop, Todd finally proves to have found his voice when he stands up on his desk, disobeying the headmaster. This is the point where no trace of the obedient Welton student Todd once was can be found as he uses what he learned from Mr. Keating and puts those ideas into action, truly seizing the day. This is the point where he becomes a passionate leader ready to defy those who want to take away his voice.
All in all, this movie clearly portrays the growth of Todd as a character and the importance of the theme Carpe diem throughout the story, which is made possible because of the astute philosophies taught by Mr. Keating. From being a boy whose voice was drowned by the pressure associated with being a younger sibling that needs to live up to his older brother’s expectations, Todd Anderson finds a new path that teaches him the joys of leading a life of your own. A life when there is everything left to conquer. It is so clear by the end of the movie that Todd has learnt the importance of speaking up and standing up for yourself in society and has pushed himself out of his comfort zone to chase his true wishes. Change is an important element not only of this a story, but also of life. This movie accentuates this in Todd Anderson, yet it also teaches the audience a valuable moral—to let yourself be molded, but distinguish between the wishes of others and your own desires in order to never lose sight of your dreams. Many characters throughout this movie prove the significance of variation and change, yet it is now clear that none have proved this as much as Todd Anderson through his evolvement as a character.
Analysis, less plot
English 117 Honors
15 December 2012
DPS Literary Analysis
In our lives, we often focus on tangible accomplishments that provide a successful lifestyle. However, we generally overlook the true beauty that is present all around us. There are two brands of people in this world: those who fixate on the big picture, known as the realists, and those who revel in the minute details and feelings of life, like poetry, art, music, and human emotion, known as the romantics. Though these two types of people create a harmony amongst our society; the realists bringing structure and romantics bringing enjoyment; there is often unneeded oppression towards the romantics brought on by the realists. It is sometimes difficult for them to express themselves if there is too much of this order and configuration. In the movie Dead Poets Society, directed by Peter Weir, Neil Perry, a student at Welton Academy, is an oppressed romantic with hopes and dreams. He desires to become an actor, though his visions are disheartened by a rather controlling idealistic father, never to be accomplished. However, the spirit of Romanticism in this young man still manages to shine through, even through its darkest stages. This idea, though present throughout the storyline, is most powerful when Neil presents the finishing line during a Midsummer Night’s Dream, through the symbolic elements leading up to Neil’s suicide, and through the scene in which the students of Mr. Keating’s class stand atop their desks and utter, “my captain, oh my captain”.
“If we shadows have offended/Think but this, and all is mended…So, good night unto you all/Give me your hands, if we be friends/And Robin shall restore amends.” The ending quote, presented by Neil (Robin) at the ending line of the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, refers to the play itself, meaning that if one did not like the play, he shall pretend it was a dream and all would be resolved. As Neil presents this line, the viewer infers, through the intensity of his expression, he directs his voice towards his father who had forbade him from acting and had unexpectedly been watching in the audience. It reveals the true fiery soul present within Neil. Though his father continues to control him, he urges Romanticism forward. He lets rebellion rise and his better instinct sink back. Though he may never have the freedom to live out his true fantasies, he must still strive to fill the empty void inside of himself, even at the risk of admonishment from his father. True Romanticism does not yield to small hindrances. It strives and grows through art, music, emotion, and in Neil’s case, acting.
Even the smallest details shown leading up to Neil’s death are that of the utmost significance in representing the struggles he is faced with, but how he manages to remain spiritual. One can see it on the eerie, smirky face of Neil after his father states he is going to military school and his mother attempts to comfort him, that something is about to happen. He is about to do something rebellious against the force of Realism. That night, his mannerisms may seem odd, but very much intertwined. He strips of his clothes. He strips of all the layers of his life. All the layers of stress. The layers of clothing provided by his father. He strips to his natural being. He begins to walk throughout the rooms of his home, his parents’ home. He stares into all of the organized, structured rooms of his parents’ home. His bed, lain with neat, folded clothing. The beliefs of his father. Organized, structured, his life being planned out for him. He is a puppet on strings, his father the puppeteer. Everything he does, everywhere he goes, dictated by his father. He continues throughout the house. He opens a window, letting the cold, crisp air of nature engulf him. He is about to become one with nature, one with beauty. He wears the thorn crown of Robin from A Midsummer Night’s Dream upon his head. A crown much the same to that worn by Jesus at his crucifixion, Neil’s sacrifice for his beliefs. He sacrifices himself for his followers, his friends. He finally walks to his father’s study. His father’s neat, organized, perfect study. He pulls out his father’s revolver, wrapped ever so perfectly in a clean cloth. He kills himself with this weapon, falling in a pool of blood in his father’s perfect study. An act of rebellion, an act of hatred for his father’s flawless room. The strings have been cut. He is free. He is free from his father and from the pressures of society. He ends his life in hopes of his father changing his mindset, of others changing their ways and believing in following one’s dreams before it is too late to try.
“Carpe diem” means to “seize the day”. Todd Anderson (a fellow classmate of Neil), a shy boy with seemingly no voice is broke
no voice is broken from his shell with the help of Neil Perry. Though Neil kills himself, the belief of Romanticism present in Neil Perry remains within Todd Anderson. On a day in which Mr. Keating, a remarkable English teacher, is forced to leave Welton Academy. As Mr. Keating grabs his things and begins to leave the classroom, Todd stands on top of his desk and declares “my captain, oh my captain”, even at the discretion of the strict, traditional headmaster who had temporarily filled Mr. Keating’s place. It is a sign of respect towards their former teacher. Eventually, the entire class joins in. It is through the spirit of “carpe diem”, Romanticism, and Neil Perry’s death that leads him to stand up. It may be a spark of pure longing to connect to Neil through this spirit and power. Todd has not lost his voice gained with the help of Neil, but in reality, it has become so much stronger. Todd realizes he does not wish to remain a robot controlled by realists. He wants hopes and dreams to cling on to. He longs to make something of himself and stand up for something he feels strongly for. He does not want to be led to a dead end, where the only choice is suicide, like Neil. Todd learns from Neil and keeps the spirit of Romanticism alive.
Though romantics and realists retain two separate beliefs in life, they, together, provide structure for society. However, in the case of Neil Perry, this harmony has been broken when his realist father oppresses his dreams. However, Neil is not so phased as to let his father condemn his beliefs. It is through Romanticism that Neil stands up to his father when performing in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, commits suicide in a spiritual manner, and affects those around him, like Todd Anderson, changing their lives for the better.
19 December 2012
A Dead Poet
Born in shackles, trapped, scared, and alone.
Born without a voice, unable to speak,
Unable to state his opinion,
Unable to say “that’s not what I want”.
Born to live a life already set for him,
Nothing but pencils, desks, and uniforms.
But a caged bird can still sing, if taught how
And a mute, a quiet man his whole life
Will sing along with his inner birdie
And when that man’s long lost voice is found
His tears will fall upon those rusty shackles
And break the bounds holding back true beauty
The bird will fly and sing its melody
The mute will find his voice and say to us
“The snow, the snow is so beautiful”
The caged man, free of his rusty shackles
Will run among the flowers, the roses and say
This is the tale of a man given the job to teach those birds how to sing, to teach a group of lost and confused students the ways of romanticism, that a person should never have their inner poet, their inner voice suppressed. This is the tale of those students taking in his teachings and finding what the term “Carpe Diem” truly means. This is the tale of The Dead Poets Society a movie by Peter Weir, and Todd Anderson, a young boy whose voice is shackled in chains, and he has yet to find someone who can teach his bird to sing, until he attends Welton Private School, where he meets Mr. Keating and Neil Perry. These two are responsible breaking the iron shackles transforming him from a young boy who was only capable of saying “Yes sir” while the rest of his thoughts were unsure and the rest of his words shaky, to a man capable of standing up for himself and his good friends. This is the tale of his transformation of a caged bird to a man free of his bindings, his transformation into a dead poet.
Todd Anderson has been put into a cage, a cage that restricts his freedom to think on his own, one that binds his voice until it shrivels up and is nearly gone. It’s the first day of school, and all the students of Welton prepare for opening ceremony, with Todd and Neil holding up traditional flags, Todd with discipline and Neil with excellence. Later, after the ceremony Todd is greeted by the headmaster, with him saying “Your brother was one of our best, I hope you live up to expectations” with Todd replying a shaky “Y-yes sir” and looking at the floor, while his parents look over his shoulder. Todd Anderson is still trapped, still caged, like his family taught him and his brother to be. He is disciplined and does what told on command, that is, if it comes from his father’s mouth. The shaky and unsure voice he held when talking to the headmaster shows his unsure nature, his fear of speaking. Also when he looks down at the floor it shows his unsure nature because he is not able to face the headmaster eye to eye. The flag of discipline he holds is not a coincidence, it is to show how his parents want to perceive him to be, and disciplined he was, up until Mr. Keating came by. The little birdie won’t sing a single note.
When Todd meets Mr. Keating, his little caged bird is given his first lesson in learning how to sing, just a few notes, but it keeps patiently waiting to be fed the full melody. Mr. Keating, leading the kids out of their desks and into the hall, slowly whistles, while the confused and stunned students follow. He leads them outside having one read “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may/ Old time is still a-flying/and this same flower that smiles today/Tomorrow will be dying.” His teachings center on his motto, “Carpe Diem” Seize the day. Later Todd goes to his notebook and writes in big bold letters “SEIZE THE DAY” but it was quickly ripped out and thrown away. Todd’s melody is starting to play, but unfortunately he has yet to start to accept it. After all, a caged man’s first steps into freedom are always uneven, unsure, and his hands are always set upon his prison door looking back into the times of darkness. Todd’s first lesson, Carpe Diem, has a strong impact on him and his thoughts. Gone are the days where anybody had a strong grip on Todd Anderson, because he has just adopted a philosophy that does not let others control, one that does not allow for a prison. While he might have rejected it at first, he will learn to hold it, to embrace this philosophy of Carpe Diem. The little birdie is learning its song.
After the bird’s patient wait, it is finally taught the rest of its long awaited melody, and this time, Todd learns to accept the pretty little song, but he has yet to sing it. Its presentation day, where the students have to read off their poems to the rest of the class, and Todd is scared as hell. When it is his turn to present, he stands awkwardly as he says he hasn’t done the assignment. Mr. Keating steps up to him and tells him to yawp, to scream the
the battle cry of a barbarian. He grabs his student and the camera then starts spinning like a tornado, as he forces Todd to recite his own unique poem, and it is here through the words of the poem, that Todd’s voice stops shaking, even if only for a moment. The little birdie has learnt his song, at that very moment Todd starts to speak without stuttering, with his heart, the bird is given the cue to start singing. And sing it does. As the bird starts to sing, the teacher’s role is over, and Mr. Keating stands back as Todd’s poem finishes with astounding beauty. The rest of the class applauds and Mr. Keating grabs his student and says “Don’t you forget this” and forget Todd shall not, for the most important lesson in life has just been taught to him. The bird is singing with a heart and soul comparable to no other.
As the bird’s melody caresses the air, the mute begins to listen, and as magic is worked, he begins to sing along, finally finding his voice. One of Todd’s mentors, Neil Perry, the one who wielded excellence, kills himself in hopes of getting back at his strict father for controlling his life, for not giving Neil a voice, just like Todd. As he and the rest of the dead poets step outside into the fallen snow, Todd looks among the trees, amongst the skies, and at the fallen snow. “It’s so beautiful” says he, as he loses composure and drops to the ground, his friends rushing to support him. He breaks away from the rest and his barbaric yawp is found as he mourns his fallen ally, “NEIL!” There is tragedy in what Neil did, but as Todd stated, there is also beauty. Neil, one who had just found his own voice, killed himself, almost like a martyr, for the sake of his friends, and Todd sees this, and becomes confused. The thoughts “Why would you do this? How could you do this? You had just gotten your life!” and “Thank you” bounce around in his head as the mute starts to cry. As the shackles break apart piece by piece Todd has transforms into a dead poet.
This is Todd Anderson’s story, his change from a shackled and scared little boy to a man larger than the cage he was left in. Todd was taught how to live life not by listening, but by making his own path as a dead poet. He adapts to this Carpe Diem philosophy that Mr. Keating teaches him, and, though completely rejecting it at first, he slowly begins to take it as a way of life. As Todd grows more and more able to say things without falter, he begins to see the true beauty in life, and this reflects in him when Neil dies. He doesn’t get completely overwhelmed and scared like the old Todd would’ve acted, but instead he does the opposite, calling his name like a hero who died in the midst of war, which is a very accurate description of Neil. Todd’s transformation is comparable to a caterpillar into a butterfly, at first, ugly and small, but slowly, the caterpillar turns into a hardened cocoon, and then a butterfly, capable soaring high above the Earth, and touching the sky.
Often we as human beings look for that one moment, to release us from the handcuffs of life. The world hopes and dreams of that moment. We want the real person inside us to emerge, put on shoes, and just walk around. Our dreams at night become our intended reality. In the Dead Poets Society, directed by Peter Weir, the characters Knox Overstreet, Todd Anderson, and Neil Perry undergo drastic changes, when Mr. Keating introduces them the philosophy of “carpe diem.” Throughout the Dead Poets Society the “carpe diem” philosophy sways Knox Overstreet, Todd Anderson, and Neil Perry in a way that will change their visualization on existence forever.
The sweat, dripping down, as you get closer and closer to that one special person. The feeling and reaction of most adolescence of that age. Knox Overstreet is the first to endure and put “carpe diem” into action. The first test for him was to ask out the girl who puts him in sweat. After he did this he became full of life and very confident. The source of all this come from Mr. Keating as he teaches them to “seize the day and never hold back on anything. As the movie progressed Knox, comes out of his middle of the road character ways and does a courageous act. He goes to his sweetheart’s high school, and delivers his poem about her to the whole class with her in it. Knox Overstreet is still starting to show his true colors and the philosophy of carpe diem is starting to arise out of him.
Todd Anderson is a transfer, who has the expectations of his brother, who graduated from Welton being a star student. Todd Anderson, looks as if he never talked to someone before in his life, starts his reign at Welton Academy off to a shaky start. In the beginning of the Dead Poets Society, is a mess and shy of his new surroundings. When Todd was introduced to the headmaster of Welton, Mr. Nolan Todd was very hesitant to meet him for the first time. The first words ever to come out of Mr., Nolan’s mouth to Todd were “Mr. Anderson, you have some big shoes to fill, young man. Your brother was one of our finest.” As they shook hands Mr. Nolan was very serious and upright, showing what the school is like and how prestigious it is. The first words out of Mr. Nolan’s voice, intimidated Todd, and put even more pressure on him than there already was. The response back to the statement of Mr. Nolan showed that Todd was not yet ready fpr the pressure put on him by his brother, and that he has still not found his voice yet. Soon to come though, one man would help him find his voice. This one man is named Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating uses unique and bizarre tactics to help kids grow out of there shell. The one scene that sticks out is when Mr. Keating makes Todd yell a barbaric yawp. This yawp symbolizes the spark that will help find his voice, and at this exact moment Todd Anderson starts to show a little of his voice.
Neil Perry, the golden boy. The kid everyone wants to be. Good grades and even good looking. Neil is the third and final character to experience the transfer of the philosophy of “carpe diem.” Neil is the roommate of Todd. Neil is limited from his imaginations because of his uptight father. His father has a whole plan for Neil, and in the fathers mind the plan should be the priority. The first action that Neil makes, that shows the philosophy of “carpe diem” is when Neil goes to audition for a play. He auditions to be the character Puck in the play a Midsummer’s Night Dream. Neil is quickly squashed by the wrath of his father. The pressure of his father begins to catch up to him and sadly Neil commits suicide. Though before the suicide, Neil shows great braveness and courage to try to pursue his acting career. The reality of life though is when it’s the Romantics verse the Realists, the realist always come up on top.
From beginning of the Dead Poets Society the class of kids were startled at first, but soon adjusted and eventually bought into the idea of “seize the day.” Knox Overstreet, Todd Anderson, and Neil Perry were all affected by “carpe diem” and Mr. Keating’s teachings. All three characters were transformed and molded from boring teenagers into the great minds that live in the world today.
Dead Poets Society Analysis
Each student at Welton was effected differently by the idea of “Carpe Diem”. Seizing the day had a different meaning in each young man’s mind, and changed their lives in a variety of ways. Neil’s changes versus Todd’s changes had, in some ways, the same look on life, however, they both started at two completely different ends of the spectrum.
Neil Perry was a young, prosperous boy who comes from an overpowering, affluent family. His entire life was a constant game of what he loved against what his father was forcing him to do. Mr. Perry had an enormous, negative, psychological impact on Neil, ultimately leading to Neil’s suicide. When Mr. Keating arrive at the Academy, Neil’s future spun out of control. He all of a sudden was disobeying his father and the rules of the headmaster at Welton, not to mention, doing what he loved. The struggle that Neil faced was incredibly difficult, as Neil was constantly being pushed and pulled between choosing the path to follow his dreams, and the path that his father had already paved for him. “For the first time in my whole life, I know what I want to do! And for the first time, I’m gonna do it! Whether my father wants me to or not. Carpe Diem!” His decision, in the end, was to follow his dreams, and when he was declined that chance, he killed himself. The path of “Carpe Diem” ultimately lead Neil down towards his death, however, he became at one with himself throughout his journey. Not only did he learn that one needs to be true and follow ones heart, but to also not care what others think or tell you. It’s your life and you only get one, so do not waste it living someone else’s dream.
A true transformation, a naïve Todd Anderson goes through many remarkable changes over the course of events. Originally sucked up by his brother’s reputation, he was constantly trying to fill his sibling’s shoes. He, however, did not want this for his life. A timid young man who always did what he was told, underwent the transformation of a lifetime when he, above all his classmates, stood up for Mr. Keating, literally. “Oh captain, my captain,” were the wise words spoken to this remarkable teacher each and everyday, showing how much they truly cared about him. Mr. Keating helped Todd become his own person. A person who could barely get his words out, was aided in becoming a leader by his teacher. While letting out his vicious grunts of his monster-like side, he discovered that he did indeed have a voice, and he wanted it to be heard. By the end of the story, Todd is a true leader, with followers looking up to him, showing that he did indeed accomplish something that year. He found himself.
Neil and Todd were practically brothers. Neil warmly welcomed Todd into his group of friends and showed him the ropes of Welton. Todd looked up to Neil, and was in many ways, inspired by him. When Todd heard of Neil’s death, he instantly felt his old self rise up to the surface. Although he was in a state of panic at that time, he regained composure and didn’t loose sight of all that he had worked for, and for that, he was extremely thankful. The boys at the academy almost viewed Neil as a sort of martyr because his actions could potentially lead them to break free of their puppet lives, constantly controlled and manipulated by authorities.
Neil and Todd underwent great changes throughout the story, greatly influence by seizing the day. They both showed their families and friends that with confidence, persistence, and the right dream, you can accomplish just about anything. “There’ s a time for daring, and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.” Mr. Keating understood how to deal with the troubles of life, and he helped each and every boy discover their true passion.
11 December 2012
Working on Literary Analysis
Why don't you ask that girl to the movies or stand up to the bully? Is it because of fear or shame? As they would say, carpe diem. But what does that mean? In the movie, Dead Poets Society the students learn the idea of carpe diem from their new English teacher, Mr. Keating. The majority of the students listen to this philosophy. This philosophy causes the students to do things that they would have never done before. Mr. Keating taught the idea of carpe diem to all of his students, but Knox, Neil, and Todd lived by it the most.
Knox decides to get the girl of his dreams. Knox has loved this girl, Chris, for a long time but has never called her. He never even tried to get the girl of his dreams and she meant everything to him. He decided that it was his time, he seized the day. He made his decision to call her, and then, he was invited to a party. During the party, when Chris is passed out, he kisses her on her forehead. After he does this, her boyfriend beats him up. This truly shows how much Mr. Keating and the strong idea of carpe diem has influenced Knox. He would not even call her, and then once he finally does, he goes to a party and kisses her on her forehead. Knox has learned that he has to make the best of every opportunity that he is given. He has always wanted to ask her out but has never had the guts. It is as if he came out from the shadows and finally revealed himself. After all of the teachings, he finally knew what he had to do. Even after he kissed her, he knew he made a mistake. Then, once he sees her again he says, “C'mon, Chris, just give me one chance. If you don't like me after tonight I'll stay away forever.” This shows that even after he makes the mistake he tries to get her to like him again. Knox will do anything to get Chris to like him. He wants to make the best of every moment, just as carpe
diem says. Now, he has the courage and confidence to finally say,”I’m going to do it. I’m going to ask her out.” Knox thrives off of Mr. Keating’s teachings. Knox is much more loose and free ever since John Keating has been his teacher.
Neil makes a very hard and bold decision. He does something that a lot of kids might not have the courage to do. He stands up to his dad. Neil decides that he wants to be in the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. In the play, Neil plays the role of Puck. He goes into this play against his father's will. His dad always tells him what to do, and he is sick of it. Neil stands up to his dad.When Neil was talking to Keating he says, “I just talked to my father. He's making me quit the play at Henley Hall. Acting's everything to me. I- But he doesn't know! He- I can see his point; we're not a rich family, like Charlie's. We- But he's planning the rest of my life for me, and I- He's never asked me what I want!” After this Keating replied,” Have you ever told your father what you just told me? About your passion for acting? You ever showed him that?” This conversation almost finalizes Neil’s decision. He is very passionate about acting and would really like to act in the play. He decides to stand up to his father. The decision is a result of Mr. Keating's teaching of carpe diem. As he says, “For the first time in my whole life, I know what I wanna do! And for the first time, I'm gonna do it! Whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe diem!” Neil knows he has a great opportunity here and he doesn’t want anyone to take it away from him. He knows it is his time. His whole life, he has never stood up to his dad and he is almost a man now. In the beginning of the movie, Neil did not stand up to his dad when he told him that he was doing too many extracurricular activities and needed to quit them. Towards the end of the movie, Neil stands up to his dad and acts in the play. He knows that he should do what he wants to do. It is his life, not his father’s. This bold decision was influenced by Mr. Keating.
Todd Anderson is a very tight kid, who even has a stutter. In the beginning of the movie, Todd did not even want to speak in front of the class. When he is talking to Neil he says,”Keating said that
everybody took turns reading and I don't wanna do that.” When Neil replied, “Gosh, you really have a problem with that don't you?” he says, “N-No, I don't have a problem, Neil. I just - I don't wanna do it, okay!” This shows how much Todd hates speaking in front of everyone. He gets very worried and worked up when he has to be in front of a group of people. It seems as if when Todd thinks about public speaking, he kind of throws up in his mouth. When he replied to Neil there was even a stutter. Another example of Todd being uptight and anxious is when he says, “The point is, that there's nothing you can
“The point is, that there's nothing you can do about it. So you can just butt out. I can take care of myself just fine. Alright?” This shows that Todd does not want any interactions with anyone and wants them to mind their own business. He wants to curl up in his little corner and be isolated from everybody. Mr. Keating is trying to loosen him up. He does this when he makes Todd create a poem in front of the whole class. This experience shows Todd that public speaking is not that bad and if he doesn't think too much, he can create a great poem. After Keating finishes his “ poem event” with Todd he tells him, “Don’t you forget this.” He wants Todd to remember how simple talking in front of people, and making a poem really is. Mr. Keating changes Todd into a completely new kid. This is evident towards the end of the movie, when Todd stands up to the head of the school and stands on his desk and says,"O captain, my captain!" to Mr. Keating. In this scene, Todd learns to think freely and to do what you want to. Do what you think is right. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says. Towards the beginning of the movie, Todd would not even talk to anyone, and then towards the end, he stands up on his desk. Mr. Keating made Todd into a completely different person.
Mr. Keating's teachings influenced the kids to make very tough decisions. Knox decides to call the girl of his dreams. He gets invited to a party and then kisses her on her forehead. Neil's father is very strict and controls what he can and can't do. In the end of the movie, Neil stands up to his father and performs in the play. During the beginning of the movie, Todd was scared to talk in front of everyone and then, towards the end, he stands up to the head of the school and stands on his desk.
These bold decisions were influenced by the teaching of carpe diem or " seize the day." As John Keating says, “Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." Don't be resigned to that. Break out!”
Brocato – English 117
15 December 2012
Dead Poet Society analysis
Each parent-child relationship is extraordinary in its very own unique way, but is always abundant in love and care. Parents have a tough job. There are numerous things to consider while raising a child, but the most important controversy is choice. “Is my daughter ready to go out on her own yet? Can I trust my son to do his homework without being asked?” are the types of questions every parent asks him/herself. With each of these examples, there can be bad consequences if the child is granted the freedom, so parents are reluctant to hand over the independence. Mr. Perry in “Dead Poets Society,” worries constantly about his son Neil. He grants very little choices to Neil because he is afraid of him failing and just wants nothing but the best for him. It’s not because he doesn’t love him, it’s because he loves him too much.
Welton Academy, the boarding school where the movie takes place, is a strict school obsessed with tradition, honor, excellence, and discipline. It is a school of success, so of course, many parents desire for their children to attend, but do not have the money, like in the Perry family’s case. With Mr. Perry showing signs of being in the military, one can infer that the family isn’t very rich. He actually worked his ass off to send Neil, his only child, to a place where greatness can be achieved through superior academic opportunities. The fact that Mr. Perry dropped one of Neil’s extracurricular activities in order to maintain top-notch grades shows his deep ambition for Neil’s success and well-being at the school. He dreads what would happen if Neil had to struggle with time-management or be focused on other matters besides academics. If his attention is shifted away from grades, it is completely unknown how extreme or little a transcript plummet would be. Mr. Perry, as realist thinker and a loving father, decides to play it safe and do everything in his power to drive Neil to academic success, which includes sending him to “Hellton,” and dropping an extracurricular so he can push his brain power, buried beneath homework, studying, and extra credit, to an eleven on a wee scale of ten.
Mr. Perry also has enormous dreams for Neil, like becoming a doctor, that require ultimate determination. Unfortunately, Neil has never had and will never have that strive to go through that extensive process because he has dreams of his own of becoming an actor. To Mr. Perry, that is unacceptable because the vast majority of actors make very little money and are ill respected, at least in his opinion. As Neil attempts fearfully to stand up for himself, Mr. Perry fires back at him, “We're trying very hard to understand why it is that you insist on defying us. Whatever the reason, we're not gonna let you ruin your life.” Again, Mr. Perry has a realist way of thinking. In his mind, the only way Neil can have a good life is by obeying his wishes for academic achievement, because that’s all Mr. Perry knows about success. He contains no knowledge of another way to excel in life, so he is, again, setting the bar high only in the ways he knows are possible. He wants the best and nothing less than the best for Neil, because he just loves him so, so much.
When Neil shoots himself, Mr. Perry wakes up instantly and shoots up into a sitting position. Meanwhile, Neil’s mother is still fast asleep, possibly dreaming of flowers and rainbows, revealing exactly how much Mr. Perry loves and cares for Neil. A mother-child relationship is indescribable, but in every case, a mother would, without a doubt, gladly take a bullet for her children. However, the gunshot did not even arise Mrs. Perry. She wouldn’t have woken without her husband’s disturbance. The fact that Neil’s father woke up and his mother didn’t can prove that his father loves him even more than his mother, which is already as high as the sky. Once both parents are awake, they search the house with both caution and concern. When Mr. Perry sees smoke sailing from a spot behind his desk, whiffs the stench of death, and notices Neil’s limp feet, it is the first time in the entire film that you see any emotion coming from him. Once he is running to his dead son, the director put it in slow motion to emphasize the horror and grief on his face. That moment is the ultimate proof of love for Neil in Mr. Perry’s seemingly cold heart. Cradling Neil in his arms, Mr. Perry is absolutely devastated at what happened because of his deep love for his only child, and now Neil’s gone forever. He never even got a chance to say goodbye and tell Neil that he really did love him.
Because Mr. Perry loved Neil so extensively, he has no idea that the suicide was actually his fault. He begins to blame others, which is natural for humans because
we always want to blame someone else, saving ourselves from internal shame and torture. Mr. Perry needs to get mad at someone else so he can mourn in the only way he knows, which is ranting and yelling and just being angry. Once he vents and time goes by, the epiphany will come to him that it’s actually his fault. Mr. Perry will still love him then and forever, but also wish he had given more freedom and choices to Neil. “He’s better off a happy actor than a dead doctor,” is what he might tell himself years from when the film ends.
Mr. Perry has an interesting way of showing it, but in truth loves Neil as far as that sunrise on the horizon. Only after Neil’s death does the sun come up, when Mr. Perry realizes his cold actions, were actually results of love. From start to finish, Neil’s father has loved him unconditionally, but in his military customs, has expressed his love in the wrong ways. Depending on how one looks at it, Neil’s death is a horrible event, but some good has come out of it, which was exactly Neil’s intent. His roommate, Todd, finally found a voice. His friends all stood up to the realist teachers at school. Neil’s death was a cause for humanity, but it is too bad he’ll never know just how strong his father’s love for him actually was.
I procrastinated for the whole week on this essay, thinking it’d be extremely difficult. But once I was through the middle of the second paragraph, the words just flowed from my brain to my fingertips. I also think I had some good words sprinkled in here to express my thoughts.
December 20, 2012
Working on not repeating myself
Dead Poets Society Literary Analysis
Throughout all of human life there has been change for the better, or worse. From the Romans deciding to kill Caesar to myriad of revolutions happening now around the globe, the people always create change. In the case of killing Caesar the patricians wanted to eliminate the creation of a dictator leading Rome. They were unsuccessful and after a bloody civil war Caesar’s nephew Octavian emerged as the first true Roman dictator. In many of the revolutions today against dictators people have been successful in installing democracy. Change is a fundamental part of life and it is something that will always be happening ubiquitously around us. Change also happens on a smaller scale, in the life of a person. At the beginning of the movie Dead Poets Society, Todd Anderson, was a timid boy that wasn’t capable of having a voice. He was to shy to respond audibly to his headmaster when addressed. Throughout the movie Todd was transformed by the teachings of Mr. Keating the most out of all of the other students at Welton Academy.
At the beginning of Dead Poets Society Todd Anderson is a very shy and timid voice that isn’t capable of having his own voice. When the headmaster of Welton Mr. Nolan tells Todd “Your brother was one of our finest, and you have some big shoes to fill.” This is at the very beginning of the movie and Todd isn’t capable of uttering an audible response, and mumbles to himself. This is because for his entire life Todd has been living in the shadow of his brother, who was the valedictorian of his class at Welton. By never emerging as his own person, Todd has never really developed a voice of his own due to his parents trying to make him a carbon copy of his brother. Todd is probably continually pressured by his parents to live up to his brother’s legacy at Welton and in life. Another case of Todd being to shy to express himself is when Neil Perry, his roommate asks him if he wants to join them for a study group, and Todd is too shy to go. The reason that Todd decides not to go is that his parents are pressuring him to achieve valedictorian like his brother. His parents have been trying to transform him into his brother, and Todd has probably never really been allowed to hang around unsupervised with other kids. This leads him to decline the invitation to the study group because Todd has never learned to voice his opinion among others, for fear of it not living up to his brother. Todd however doesn’t stay this way forever, and he is morphed into an entirely new person by the end of the movie through the teachings of Mr. Keating.
Mr. Keating, teaches Todd to have his own voice throughout the course of the movie. Mr. Keating assigns his class to write a poem and then present it in class. When called upon first to share his Todd says that he didn’t write one to avoid having to speak in front of others. Instead of just moving onto the next student, like every other teacher Todd has had, Mr. Keating calls him up to the front of the class and makes Todd sound his inner barbaric yawp. At first when Todd tries his voice inaudible, but when Mr. Keating persists in making his continue, Todd is able to shout his barbaric yawp to the rest of the class. This is when Todd first finds out that you can speak aloud to others and that it’s okay to voice his opinions. The process of getting up and yawping in front of everyone makes Todd realize that it’s actually not that hard to get up and speak in front of others. Once Mr. Keating opens the door of speaking in front of others to Todd, it allows him to grow in leaps and bounds throughout the course of the movie because Todd has finally realized that he has a voice. Todd has just changed a huge amount because he realizes that he can speak in front of others and they will listen to what he has to say without making fun of him.
The last part of Todd’s transformation is the result of it all. On his birthday Todd receives the same desk set as last year from his parents. Instead of accepting it like the old and timid Todd would he went up to the roof with his roommate Neil and threw the desk se off the roof. This is a huge turning point for Todd, as he finally realizes that he doesn’t need to go along with everything that people want him to. By throwing the desk set off the roof, Todd is voicing his opinion that he really doesn’t like the desk set and he isn’t going to just go along with it anymore. He has an outburst of courage and in this moment he throws the desk set off the roof. The concluding moment where Todd displays his change is after Mr. Keating is fired because of the suicide of Neil Perry. After Mr. Keating collects his belongings from his office he is walking out the door and Todd displays his dramatic transformation in front of everyo
December 20, 2012
Working on not repeating myself
Dead Poets Society Literary Analysis
Throughout all of human life there has been change for the better, or worse. From the Romans deciding to kill Caesar to the myriad of revolutions happening now around the globe, people always create change. In the case of killing Caesar the patricians wanted to eliminate the creation of a dictator leading Rome. They were unsuccessful and after a bloody civil war Caesar’s nephew Octavian emerged as the first true Roman dictator. In many of the revolutions today against dictators people have been successful in installing democracy. Change is a fundamental part of life and it is something that will always be happening ubiquitously around us. Change also happens on a smaller scale, in the life of a person. Throughout the movie Dead Poets Society, Todd Anderson, a timid boy wasn’t capable of finding his voice. He was too shy to respond audibly to his headmaster when addressed. Over time Todd was transformed by the teachings of Mr. Keating, more so than any other student at Welton Academy.
At the beginning of Dead Poets Society Todd Anderson is a very shy and timid voice that isn’t capable of having his own voice. When the headmaster of Welton, Mr. Nolan tells Todd, “Your brother was one of our finest, and you have some big shoes to fill.” and Todd isn’t capable of uttering an audible response, and mumbles to himself. This is because, for his entire life, Todd has been living in the shadow of his brother, who was the valedictorian of his class at Welton. By never emerging as his own person, Todd has never really developed a voice of his own due to his parents trying to make him a carbon copy of his brother. Todd is probably continually pressured by his parents to live up to his brother’s legacy at Welton and in life. Another case of Todd being to shy to express himself is when Neil Perry, his roommate, asks him if he wants to join them for a study group. Todd is too shy and unsure of himself to go. His parents have been trying to transform him into his brother, and Todd has probably never really been allowed to hang around unsupervised with other kids. This leads him to decline the invitation to the study group because Todd has never learned to voice his opinion among others, for fear of it not living up to his brother. Todd however doesn’t stay this way forever, and he is morphed into an entirely new person by the end of the movie through the teachings of Mr. Keating.
Mr. Keating teaches Todd to have his own voice throughout the story. Mr. Keating assigns his class to write a poem and then present it in class. When called upon, first, to share his, Todd says that he didn’t write one to avoid having to speak in front of others. Instead of just moving onto the next student, like every other teacher Todd has had, Mr. Keating calls him up to the front of the class and makes Todd sound his inner barbaric yawp. At first when Todd tries, his voice is inaudible. Mr. Keating persists in making Todd continue. Todd finds his barbaric yawp and shouts it to the rest of the class. This is how Todd first finds out that you can speak aloud to others and that it’s okay to voice ones own opinions. The process of getting up and yawping in front of everyone makes Todd realize that it’s actually not that hard to get up and speak in front of others. Once Mr. Keating opens the door of public speaking to Todd, it allows him to grow in leaps and bounds, throughout the course of the movie, because Todd has finally realized that “he has a voice”. Todd’s transformation is huge because he realizes that he can speak in front of others, they will listen to what he has to say, and won’t make fun of him.
The last part of Todd’s transformation is the result of it all. On his birthday Todd receives the same desk set as last year from his parents. Instead of accepting it like the old and timid Todd, he went up to the roof with his roommate Neil and threw the desk set off the roof. This is a huge turning point for Todd, as he finally realizes that he doesn’t need to go along with everything that people want him to. By throwing the desk set off the roof, Todd is voicing his opinion that he really doesn’t like the desk set and he isn’t going to just go along with it anymore. He has an outburst of courage in this moment that he throws the desk set off the roof. The concluding moment where Todd displays his change is after Mr. Keating is fired because of the suicide of Neil Perry. After Mr. Keating collects his belongings from his office and he is walking out the door, Todd stands on his desk and says to Mr. Keating “Oh captain, my captain.” Soon after, his friends follow him in the calling. This shows that Todd is no longer the timid follower that he used to be. He stands up and leads his fr
Todd goes from being a timid boy, who couldn’t even talk to his headmaster, to someone who led his friends in a public tribute to Mr. Keating after he was fired. No other character even came close to it and the change gave Todd the voice he needed to become his own person.
14 December 2012
Sticking to the main idea
Stand up, wherever you are, and let out a barbaric “yawp”. No, dont just say it, really put some emotion and volume into it. Better, but it is hard, right? In order to really let out a barbaric “yawp”, it requires a person to have a tremendous amount of confidence as well as a strong inner voice; two things that Todd Anderson does not have at the beginning of the movie Dead Poets Society. Todd is a boy who attends Welton prep school and is following up his brother who was a great student. He encounters several challenging moments that test him and eventually change him for the good. Todd Anderson, with Mr. Keating's teaching of “carpe diem”, is able to find his voice in the movie Dead Poets Society as he progresses from a timid and shy individual to a confident and vocal leader.
On Todd’s first day at Welton, he is confronted by the headmaster, who tells him “you have some big shoes to fill”. He replied with a mumble and a very frightened look. Todd is clearly unsure of himself and not ready to live up to what is expected of him. This is because Todd has been living his whole life in his older brother’s shadow. His brother was someone who was marveled at and attention was rarely sprinkled down on to Todd. This resulted in people always expecting Todd to do as well as or better than his brother, and they were often disappointed in him because he could not fulfil this demand. These demands were always in the back of Todd’s mind, and they eventually overtook him. When Todd is confronted by the headmaster, all of these thoughts struggle against each other in a turmoil and cause his voice to sulk away as if it were wounded. At this point in the movie, Todd has little confidence in himself and a very small voice and is not ready to meet the expectations set upon him.
After a few weeks at school, Todd is still trying to find his voice. In english class with Mr. Keating's, the students are asked to write and present a poem to the class. Todd comes to class without a poem and is told to let out a barbaric “yawp” and then has to make up a poem on the spot. After this, it seems like Todd might have found his voice since he is able to yawp and make up a poem, but he has not. Todd is still too scared to simply voice a poem to his class. Even the yawp he does isn't real because Mr. Keatings makes him do it. Todd is good student and one would think that he would do any assignment given to him. Odds are that he wrote a poem but was too scared so he didn't bring it to class. It is in this way that Todd has very little confidence in himself. Although it may seem differently, Todd still hasn't found his voice.
At this point in the story, Neil has been helping Todd out a lot. Todd seems to begin to relaxing a bit with Neil at his side and he is an important role model for him. But, Todd is abruptly awaken to the news of Neil’s suicide. When Todd is told about the incident, he is nearly speechless, only muttering imperceivable words. This is a crucial moment for Todd. He had finally begun to crawl out of his shell and act as an individual when BAM, he is right back to square one. It is in moments like these where people either break down or are able to recover. Todd makes a lot of progress towards becoming independent and it seems to lose all of the momentum that it had when he hears the bad news of Neil’s death.
With Neil dead, Todd makes a final realization while outside in the snow. He runs down the hill and emits a barbaric ‘yawp”. After this, it is evident that Todd hasn't lost the progress he made towards his independence. He is able to vocalize his thoughts and emotions successfully. Todd returns with a vengeance, no longer is he quiet and subdued, he is fully confident in himself and his inner voice. This is even more evident when Todd is the first one to stand up on his desk and say “oh captain, my captain”. Here, Todd’s change is clearly evident. He leads the class in remembering their old teacher and goes against what the new teacher says to do. Todd has basked in the glory of Mr. Keating's teaching of “carpe diem”. He not only becomes more confident in himself, but he is able to act independently and act as a leader.
Todd Anderson undergoes a drastic change throughout the movie Dead Poets Society while living by Mr. Keating's teaching of “carpe diem”. In the beginning of the movie, Todd has trouble responding to the simplest of questions and has very little confidence and inner voice. As he and the movie progress, it seems as if he might have made some progress when he is asked to make a speech in english class, but he unexpectedly shows up unprepared. Later on, Todd almost retreats back to his old, sluggish ways when he hears about Neil’s death, but is able to recover and le
lead the class in honoring Mr. Keating. Todd began the movie as a shy, timid, and self centered individual and, with Mr. Keating's help, is able to transition to a strong leader with a unique inner voice.
Honors English – 117
12 December 2012
Dead Poet Society Literary Analysis
In this essay I will work on sentence structure
Inside of every person, there is a passion that struggles for years to be freed, even if it is only to be experienced for a moment. This passion gives their life meaning. Neil Perry, who carries the banner of excellence in the movie, “The Dead Poet Society,” has the world at his fingertips. With exemplary grades from a top-tier school, his future looks undoubtably bright; that is, if his father has anything to say about it. Neil is lucky enough to find his passion in the theater, but his father does not approve of anything so frivolous. Neil's teacher, John Keating, supports Neil and encourages him to pursue his passion, but when his father threatens to take that passion away from him Neil takes his own life. While some might say that Mr. Keating is responsible for the death of Neil Perry, he is not; rather, he is responsible for giving Neil life.
Everyone who has experienced John Keating's unusual teaching style undergoes many changes and is greatly effected by his lessons. Keating believes, “Carpe diem, boys, carpe diem.” (Dead Poet Society). Seize the day. Since the beginning of the school term, it was obvious that Keating saw great potential in Neil, but not in the same way Neil's father did. Keating taught Neil about voice and passion and love. Through these lessons, Neil unlocked a part of himself that he didn't always know was there. Neil could have taken the easy predestined way and done exactly what his father wanted him to do: Go to college and become a lawyer, but instead Neil pursued a different approach. By choosing the life of a romantic in theater, Neil shows the battle between romantics and realists. If he had chosen to become a lawyer, Neil's whole life would be planned out for him, and he would feel secure. But when Neil chooses to become an actor, he has no security. The life he chooses is a mystery, a journey, that he is excited to begin. The entire movie of the “Dead Poet Society” shows the contrast between the romantic and the realist. Neil, by choosing the path of the romantics, after Keating, becomes enthralled in a passion so life-altering that when the realists, his father, threaten to take it away, Neil can not bear it and he takes his own life. William Shakespeare's Cassius says that “the fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” It's the stars that give hope and inspire those as lost as Neil, it's the stars who allow dreams to fly through the night, it's the stars that illuminate hidden possibilities. It is in humans themselves that self-hatred, fear, and anger bubble, simmering under the surface of the facades they put on to keep fear at bay. It is not in the stars, the romantics, where Neil finds misery enough to kill himself, but in himself, and in those around him. His suicide is not the fault of those who gave him hope, but those who so cruelly snatched it away.
Neil's entire life was an act. To his father, to Keating, even to himself. But when he wasn’t acting, he thought he had nothing to contribute – he was just as lost as Todd is when Todd first comes to Welton. Neil could not cope with the notion of, not only giving up the role in the play, but giving up the act of the confident boy with a bright future that he played every day. Neil killed himself because he “realized that he had not lived” (Dead Poet Society). He only acts, as he had acted for his entire life, and when that capstone of his existence is taken away from him, his whole self-image, his whole life, crumbles without its support. Neil's life is an illusion, a facade. He takes on a different roles to fit the circumstances, he adapts to his environment, whatever will help him survive and excel. He never is upfront and honest about his passions to anyone because he is not sure what the outcome will be. He wants to please everyone, but by pleasing everyone else, he never can find how to truly please himself. When Neil takes Keating's' class, he begins to discover things about himself: He finds that his passion lies in acting. From Keating's lessons, Neil obtains a voice, one that was strong enough to stand up to his father in the ultimate act of rebellion, killing himself. He says, “Think about it, most people, if they’re lucky, get to lead half an exciting life, right? If I get the parts I could live dozens of great lives” (Dead Poet Society). Neil means that he wanted to be someone else – a person who could express his passions whenever and however he wants. When the passion that Mr. Keating gave to Neil was threatened by his father, Neil knows that he will no longer have the chance to act and become someone else, and suddenly nothing, not even life itself, is worth it any longer. Without acting, Neil knows that he will be little more than a shadow of wha
what he can be, a puppet of his father's, an automaton that cannot act without orders. His father's orders. Neil finds his passion in acting, and has the opportunity to live his dream for at least a little while. Some people live more in one year than others do in thirty – it isn't about the time, it's about the person. And Neil knows that he has lived just enough, Keating has given him just enough life, that to live on as a machine controlled by his father, is worse than death itself. Keating gives Neil more life in one school semester than one may live in their lifetime.
Neil Perry's whole life has been planned for him, his school, his grades, his hobbies, his career. Everything is neatly tied together, topped with a little bow. But when Neil comes under the tutelage of John Keating, his new English teacher, his whole life changes. Neil is infused with new ideas, new dreams, new life. Keating is responsible for speaking for the stars and inspiring Neil to be the romantic that he wants to be in his heart of hearts. But Neil's father, an over-controlling, hyper-realistic man, will do anything in his power to keep his son's dream from becoming a reality. Neil, unable to bear losing the newfound passion that has come to him, kills himself to keep from being controlled by his father. In only one school term, Neil follows his dreams and lives more than some do in their entire lives. It is not Keating that should be blamed for Neil's death, but his father, for as Shakespeare said “the fault is not in our stars.”
21 December 2012
Working on More Analysis Than Plot
Change. As life progresses, every individual changes, whether big or small. It is the natural process of life and no one can escape it. Some individuals need help with that change or someone to help guide them through the process. In the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society directed by Peter Weir, Todd Anderson receives guidance from his English teacher Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating teaches much differently than most of the teachers at Welton Academy. He teaches by the philosophy of carpe diem, or seize the day. Most of the students accept and embrace this way of teaching as it is such a contrast to the traditional strict ways of the all-boys school they attend. Many students change from this new outlook on life, but no one changes more than one of the main characters, Todd Anderson. From the philosophy of carpe diem taught by Mr. Keating, Todd Anderson changes dramatically throughout the course of the movie Dead Poets Society and goes from a quiet, reserved follower to a more vocal, assertive leader.
Todd Anderson is introduced to the audience as a quiet, somewhat awkward boy. He is attending Welton Academy’s mass of welcome. His brother went to Welton and was hugely successful. While exiting the mass, he is approached by the headmaster. The headmaster, Mr. Nolan, tells him “ Mr. Anderson, you have some big shoes to fill, young man. Your brother was one of our finest.” In response, Todd gives an incoherent mumble and walks away. In that scene, Todd is scared of what will come to him in the following years. Would he be successful like his older brother? Or would he end up disappointing his parents and not filling those big shoes left for him? Todd realizes in that moment just what following a successful sibling means. He must be equal, if not better than his brother by the time he finishes at Welton. That is a huge burden for a teenager to have. Todd must do well on every single quiz, every single test, and every single assessment, otherwise he is a failure and will not live up to his expectations. Todd can’t even begin to fathom what it would be like to not live up to the expectations set for him and is speechless because of it. He realizes that if he doesn’t do well in school, he will be the embarrassment of the family, and his brother will be the pride and joy. In this scene in the movie, Todd is that quiet, reserved follower but he will soon be on his way to transforming into a more vocal, assertive leader.
After his encounter with Mr. Nolan, Todd needs a figure in his life at Welton Academy that will help him break out of his shell. That person is his English teacher (and the founder of the Dead Poets Society), Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating tells Todd to read a poem in front of the class, but Todd says he doesn’t have it. Mr. Keating makes Todd give “a demonstration of a barbaric yawp.” Todd hesitates at first, then finds his inner voice and screams “YAWP!” When Todd screamed this, his mind was screaming “Carpe diem!” Todd had to seize the moment. Todd is beginning to not be so quiet anymore, with a nudge from Mr. Keating. Todd yawp loudly not just to quiet Mr. Keating but he does it for himself. He knew that if he didn’t yawp loudly and proudly he would never hear the end of it, from Mr. Keating and his classmates. Todd also had to do it for himself. He needed to be himself for once at his time at Welton. Todd yawps so he can make Mr. Keating proud and embrace his new carpe diem philosophy. When Todd yawps, it is the first time Todd has been himself since attending Welton. The cause of this small epiphany? Mr. Keating. Todd looks at him as a role model. Todd wants to be a romantic, not have a care in the world, and just live in the moment. Todd doesn’t want to be the strict realist his parents brought him up to be. This scene is the first time the viewer sees who Todd really is and who he really wants to be. From the teachings of Mr. Keating, Todd is beginning to transform from a follower to a leader.
Todd has found many friends in his time at Welton, including his roommate Neil Perry. Neil also sees Mr. Keating as a role model. Neil is being suffocated by his parent’s strict ways and ends up committing suicide. Neil’s death takes a great toll on Todd. When Todd hears of Neil’s death, he can’t seem to grasp it. He runs out into the snow and comments on the beauty of it, then a few moments later begins gagging and vomiting into the snow. He runs away from his friends, stumbling and yawping. Todd realizes that his best friend is gone. Forever. Neil wasn’t only one of Todd’s friends, but along with Mr. Keating, he helped Todd finally break out of his shell and develop his voice. Todd realizes that Neil is finally out of his misery of having his life planned out for him by his parents, yet Neil will never b
Todd realizes that Neil is finally out of his misery of having his life planned out for him by his parents, yet Neil will never be able to have a future. Neil’s death can be seen as something he did for the group, he wanted them to finally take a stand for themselves and go against the tradition. He wanted them to embrace carpe diem. With that in mind, Todd finally makes his voice known. Neil’s father blames Mr. Keating for his son’s death, so Mr. Keating is fired from Welton Academy. Mr. Nolan takes over Mr. Keating’s class. One day, Mr. Keating comes in to his class to get some items he left behind and when he is about to leave for good, Todd Anderson, the once quiet reserved boy, stands up on his desk and exclaims to Mr. Keating “ O Captain! My Captain!” About half the class follows Todd’s example and does the same. Mr. Nolan tries to get the boys to sit down, but fails. Todd does this in direct disregard to authority. He has completely become a romantic and is not going to accept the realist ways any longer. Todd does this because he wants to thank Mr. Keating for everything that he did for him. Mr. Keating helped Todd find the person he was in that moment he stood on his desk. Mr. Keating is the one who guided Todd in developing his voice. The least Todd could do for Mr. Keating in that moment, was thank him, and Todd sparked a movement. He was the leader now, not the follower. Todd has finally developed as a character and will now live his life according to the teachings of Mr. Keating, carpe diem. Todd is no longer quiet and reserved, but the vocal and assertive person he was striving to become.
It took Todd Anderson some time to break out of his shy, uncertain shell, but he did. By the end of the movie Dead Poets Society, Todd is a bold, leader. In the beginning, Todd is shown as a mumbling and shy kid when the headmaster of Welton Academy greets him. But when his English teacher, Mr. Keating, makes him yawp in front of his class, a Todd no one ever knew, was exposed. Then when his best friend, Neil, commits suicide, the Todd that Mr. Keating helped bring out, is introduced. Todd becomes the person who starts a movement and stands on his desk in a way of thanks to Mr. Keating when he is about to leave Welton for good. Todd Anderson is a prime example of how change can be good, and it may be hard to accept at first but the rewards at the end make the whole process all worth it.
Mini Reflection: I thought this essay ended up working for me. It was a bit difficult to start, but once I got more into the topic, it got easier to write, and I think I did well on this essay.
Dead Poet Society Analysis
Most people do not use all of the wonderful gifts in life that they have. In fact, many people ignore them because they are taught by society that these gifts are not important. It is the wise people that can help others to achieve success. They can help one “seize the day” and receive the fullness out of life. Mr. Keating is one of these wise people. In the movie the Dead Poet Society, Mr. Keating taught his students the philosophy of carpe diem and to think for oneself. Carpe diem greatly influenced and forever changed the lives of Knox Overstreet, Todd Anderson and Neil Perry.
In Dead Poets Society, Mr. Keating’s philosophy of carpe diem intensified Knox’s emotions. For example, he becomes more obsessive. He obsesses over a girl named Chris, whom he wrote a poem for, “The heavens made a girl named Chris with hair and skin of gold…” Chris later falls for Knox, a victory for him that he fought for throughout the movie. Knox throughout Dead Poets Society yearns to be a leader. He wants to do something different from everyone else, and for others to follow him. Knox may also have inner fears or pressures for himself that he couldn’t face anymore. He lets go of these things by living by the phrase “carpe diem.” He goes after what he wants, mainly, Chris. When Mr. Keating says, “Carpe. Carpe Diem. Seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary,” at first, Knox doesn’t think of anything. When he meets Chris though, he understands, and very much he “seizes the day.”
Todd Anderson doesn’t know who he is. He lives under his older brother’s shadow. In the beginning of the book, while with his parents, Mr. Nolan says to him “Mr. Anderson, you have some big shoes to fill… Your brother was one of our finest.” Todd just responds with “Thank you” and quickly walks away. Todd is very reserved. He is new to Welton Academy, and luckily, Neil Perry brings him in. This was the best thing that ever happened to Todd. Todd looked up to Neil. He was like an older brother to him, only more inspiring, and he wasn’t pressured to be like Neill, unlike his older brother. Todd does not have they courage to speak what is on his mind. That’s why when he has to read a poem for Mr. Keating, he is very hesitant. Mr. Keating brings out the life in Todd by making him YOLP. Mr. Keating’s confidence in Todd helps him overcome his shyness.
In life, there are controlling people. Some of these people only want the best for themselves. Neil Perry’s father in The Dead Poets Society is one of those people. Mr. Perry invested into Neill’s education so much that he wants to decide his path in life. With Mr. Keating’s guidance and support, Neil tells his dad about his dream of being an actor. Just like Neil thought, his dad shuts him down with, “Tomorrow I'm withdrawing you from Welton and enrolling you in Braighton Military School. You're going to Harvard, and you're gonna be a doctor.” Neil then seizes the day. He decides to take control and torture his father just like his father did to him all these years. Neil chooses what will hurt his father the most. He decides to take his own life and devises a plan to crush his father. He will kill himself. He will “seize the day” and take control for the first time in his life. Neil has inner wrath because of his father and believes his death will ultimately destroy his father. Unfortunately, Neil’s father doesn’t learn the lesson that Neil had meant for him to learn. His father still continues his ways of pushing people around.
The philosophy of carpe diem had a strong affect on all three of Mr. Keating’s students, Knox Overstreet, Todd Anderson, and Neil Perry. Even though they each took away something different from carpe diem, one thing that they all had in common was living a more meaningful life. Knox seized the chance to pursue a new love interest. He was no longer letting his fear controlling him. Todd Anderson also defeated his fear of having to be like his successful older brother. Carpe diem taught Todd how to live his own life. Carpe diem inspired Neil Perry to take charge of his life. Even though this resulted in him killing himself, Neil felt like he had to do this in order to truly be free of his father’s control. From minor to drastic, carpe diem affected each of these boys’ lives. Mr. Keating’s philosophy instilled a sense of empowerment that the students had never experienced before. Carpe diem has forever impacted the students of Welton Academy.
I enjoyed writing this essay. I worked on selecting stronger vocabulary and the structure of my essay. I feel like I did use the 75% analysis and 25% plot.
18 December 2012
Mr. Brocato – English 117
Dead Poet Society Analysis
“Y.O.L.O.!” This commonly used phrase today often is used in a way that does not properly reflect its meaning. It is often used for an excuse to get drunk at a party, or try to jump 11 garbage cans on your bike, or play tag with the cars driving by on the highway. Sadly, these people are all using this phrase incorrectly. It stands for “You Only Live Once,” but many use it as “Let’s make sure we barely live at all!” When this phrase was first used by whoever made it up, many people saw this as some amazing new thing, never seen before. Many would be surprised to find out that the Latin language has a phrase that is almost the exact same thing. The Latin phrase, “carpe diam,” means “seize the day.” Also, it may not seem like it, but Y.O.L.O. means the same thing. Both mean that you only get one chance at life, so you should live it without any regrets. They both mean that you should make something of your life. In the movie, The Dead Poet’s Society, directed by Peter Weir, the group of main characters are boys at a private school that is known for its deep regard for tradition, discipline, and excellence. That year, a new English teacher is brought in, Mr. Keating, and he changes the lives of all the boys with his carpe diam philosophy. Although all the boys were greatly changed by the teachings of Mr. Keating, a few were changed more than others. The two boys that changed the greatest amount throughout the movie were Neil Perry and Todd Anderson.
One of the characters who change the most during the movie is Neil Perry. Neil Perry starts out as the perfect son, always listening to what his parents say, getting amazing grades, the leader of his group of friends, and all-around talented. Even in the opening scene of the movie, as the banner-bearing students are walking in, he’s the student carrying the banner of honor, proud and tall. This scene is, though nonchalant, a major foreshadowing of events to come. As he carries this banner in, his parents and he see a long school career ahead followed by a life-long career as a doctor. Although they have all taken the proper precautions to practically guarantee Neil’s entry into medical school, the teachings of Mr. Keating are what eventually lead to a change in his plans for the future that cause him to pursue acting and, eventually, commit suicide to escape the prison that the life his parents planned for him would become. As these events slowly and surely come to pass, it becomes obvious to those around him that he is changing. Regardless of this change, his friends still continue to support him, like friends should. Neil’s change throughout the movie is also very important because it is his influence, along with Keating’s, that sparks the change in the rest of the boys. After receiving word about the notorious Dead Poet’s Society, Neil is the one to lead his group of friends into the woods that fateful night. Also, it is Neil’s leader personality that allows him to lead Todd Anderson out of his shell to embrace the carpe diam philosophy and life itself.
The student of Welton Academy that changes the most due to Mr. Keating’s teachings, out of all the major characters in the movie, is Todd Anderson. As shy old Todd walked into the school on the first day, he and his family were greeted by the headmaster saying, “You’ve got big shoes to fill.” Todd’s brother had gone to this school and had left one of the school’s most successful students in history, so this headmaster expected nothing less from Todd. One could tell, though, that this was not something that he wanted to hear. This scene makes it clear that Todd had been compared to his brother for most of his life. ‘Todd’s brother was so talented and successful, so Todd must be just as good.’ Constantly being compared, Todd is looking for some way out, some way to avoid that constant comparison. Thankfully for him, Keating’s teachings are the perfect way for him to make something of himself, something new and different from his brother. One major scene that shows a change in Todd is when he forgot his poem for class, so Mr. Keating made this quiet, stuttering boy stand up before the whole class and give them a barbaric yawp. A yawp is basically a loud yell. At first, Todd showed very little desire to follow this request, but with great encouragement from Keating, he managed to release a loud and bellowing yawp for the whole class! This scene is very important in sparking the fire that is the change in Todd Anderson. In this scene, Mr. Keating forces Todd to make a barbaric yawp because he knows he is a timid, quiet boy who just needs a little encouragement. Once he receives this encouragement, he can do anything. Also, along with being quiet, To
Todd also has somewhat of a stuttering problem. This is probably because, being constantly compared to his brother, he has always been told what to do, so he is not confident enough to speak strongly and do or say what he wants. With the influence of Mr. Keating and his barbaric yawp, Todd gains the confidence to do what he wants and speak out without stuttering. The yawp makes one last appearance at the very end of the film. After hearing of Neil’s tragic death, Todd, followed by his friends, heads outside into the snowy field. Once out there, he comments on how beautiful the whole scene is, and then runs out into the field, bellowing his barbaric yawp in frustration. Neil was a very important part of Todd’s life and his change at the school. He was the leader, and, in many ways, Todd’s mentor. He was a mentor that taught him how to seize the day.
It is the change that is brought to the boys at Wilton Academy by Mr. Keating’s carpe diam philosophy that compels almost all of his students to stand on their desks and salute him, each calling out, “Oh captain, my captain!” His teachings taught them to seize the day and make something of themselves, and this is what changed them all. Most of all, it changed Neil, encouraging him to pursue what he wanted, not his father, and it also changed Todd the most as well, giving him the courage to speak to be heard. Carpe diam, Y.O.L.O., they both turn out to mean the same thing: don’t waste your life just following the crowd and die with regrets. Instead, seize the day and make something of yourself.
December 21, 2012
Mr. Brocato- English 117
Freedom is unparalleled
Shipped to America with iron shackles circling their wrists and chains binding their scarred limbs, Africans entered a dark life, a pitch black tunnel with no end. Sold as property and thrust into labor, these neglected beings had no choice but to surrender to the firm hands of greedy colonists. Their only objective in life was to work from dawn to dusk, pleasing their master while inside their own hearts, they felt only despair at the impossibility of a happy life. Believe it or not, two centuries later, people still lack true freedom. Many are trapped, encased in a jail cell because of their inability to control their own lives. In the movie, Dead Poets Society, a teenager, Neil Perry, is a slave, trapped by the clash between the dreams of himself and his father. Until he meets Mr. Keating, his new English teacher at Welton Academy. This Romantic rebels against everything Neil knows and sets him free from the pressures of the overwhelming Realist society. Neil Perry’s entire life is in his father’s hands, until the unorthodox teachings of Mr. Keating relinquish these chains that bind him, altering his life forever.
Before Mr. Keating comes into Neil Perry’s life, it cannot even be called his because his father so strictly commands it. He traps Neil in his tight grip, giving him no way of escaping and developing into his own, unique self. When he protests against his father’s orders, Mr. Perry retorts, "After you finish medical school and you’re on your own, you can do as you please. But until then you do as I tell you, is that clear?” Neil’s father makes it seem as if the only option is medical school. With his own dream for him, he wards off any other thoughts that might sway Neil. He explains to Keating that his father is “planning the rest of [his] life for [him]” and has “never asked [him] what [he] [wants].” Keating stresses that he is “not an indentured servant,” though Neil believes his father ensnares him. Slaves are never supposed to consider what they want for themselves. The perfect son in Mr. Perry’s mind focuses only on taking orders from others. He molds Neil to be this flawless student who listens and obeys, holding up the school banner for the pillar of excellence. Neil’s life is in a prison cell because of his father, until Mr. Keating’s ways set him free.
After Keating stresses the resistance of conformity, unlike everyone else at Welton, Neil’s perception of everything transforms. The teacher enlightens the boys with the saying “Carpe Diem”, advising them to “seize the day” and “make [their] lives extraordinary.” Neil embraces his different way of teaching, and learns to favor it over the unchanging, rigorous mindset that dominates the other classes. He starts exhibiting rebellion by deliberately disobeying his father’s orders when he finally pursues his dream of acting. He exclaims enthusiastically, “I'm going to be an actor! Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to try this. I even tried to go to summer stock auditions last year, but of course, my father wouldn't let me. For the first time in my whole life I know what I want to do, and for the first time I'm going to do it whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe diem!” The extent of Mr. Keating’s influence is more than enough to allow Neil to reach inside of himself and consider his own feelings, instead of succumbing to his father’s relentless power. In truth, Neil has a bright light burning inside of him. He glows, with the radiance of carpe diem and is unstoppable. Even when his father tries to smother this fire by ordering him to abandon the play he is in. When faced with this conflict, Neil turns to Mr. Keating, who explains to Neil that his “passion for acting” should weigh more than “playing the part of the dutiful son.” Keating’s methods kindle the inferno within his heart, sparking the renewed inspiration. This outburst of fire expels the chains in which he was so tightly bound. His new attitude, filled with liberty and rebellion, is all because of Mr. Keating, and plays a major part in his life.
With this revived spirit, Neil strives to rid of the iron shackles that keep him firmly in place, and does so by embarking on his own, life-changing journey. He decides to lie to his father and act in the play, unleashing the exuberant fire inside him when he is in the spotlight. He is finally free. This fire ignites, and has the power to burn away any form of conformity. But any fire can swallow up into ashes. His protest enrages his father, watching in the audience with resentment burning in his eyes. Right after the play, he believes it is his duty to set him straight by enrolling him in a ten-year military school. He declar
He declares authoritatively “You’re going to Harvard and you’re going to be a doctor.” Neil argues back that these “ten more years” is basically “a lifetime” of bowing down to his father, to which Mr. Perry retorts, “Oh, stop it...You make it sound like a prison term.” He may not see it behind the curtain of his dream for Neil, but he really is locking his jail door and discarding the key. By limiting his son to a tiny space, with no room for him to think for himself, Mr. Perry is suffocating him, whisking away the air so crucial to the survival of that flame. When Neil’s mother tells him to sleep, he realizes that is the solution. As Mr. Keating once said, “Only in their dreams can men be truly free.” If Neil is enslaved when living, he will have to seek freedom in his dreams. To ensure that he will never have to wake up into this living nightmare again, he decides that eternal sleep is the only cure to his pain. He commits suicide, allowing death to liberate him from the pressures of life. The sense of freedom that Mr. Keating provides completely impacts Neil.
Neil’s confined life from his father is illuminated with Mr. Keating’s teachings that oppose conformity, which drastically influence him. At first, he has no say in his future, and only surrenders to his father’s leverage. He is the equivalent of an African slave, working for the sole purpose of satisfying his master. After learning of carpe diem from Mr. Keating, Neil seeks to direct his own life. He is struggling against the chains that tie him down, until he finally breaks free. This compels him to make significant decisions that can never be undone. Freedom is something that everyone deserves, but only a select few truly attain. Neil is able to live unrestrained for just a moment when he is center stage. Mr. Keating provides that brief, but unforgettable instant, giving his students the courage to burn bright against the surrounding monotonous world.
Mini Reflection: This essay worked pretty well for me. I tried incorporating strong words and used analysis to support my thesis thoroughly.
Mr. Brocato- English 317
21 December 2012
DPS Analysis- Spellbound
As he hypnotized Lysander and Demetrius with his love juice charm, it was as if Puck, the merry wanderer of the midsummer night, had administered it to Knox Understreet’s eyes as well. There Knox stood at the door of the Danberry’s home looking at the beautiful Chris who instantly became the object of his desire. Neil Perry found the courage displayed by Hermia when faced with his own equally oppressive father. Neil risked his father’s wrath as willingly as Hermia risked confinement to a convent and even death to marry the man she loved. Unable to find happiness and meaning in a life decided by others, both Hermia and Neil rejected authority and duty, choosing passion and intuition instead. There exist many parallels between Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the movie, Dead Poets Society, directed by Peter Weir. Parts of the play were actually performed during the movie with Neil cast as the spritely Puck. In Mr. Keating’s classroom at Welton, as in the darkness of the forest, rules were suspended, the natural order of things reversed, and the smoldering embers of passions fanned into flames. Lying beside her lover under the stars, Hermia sensed that things had changed. One sees in Neil the same acknowledgement as he received his standing ovation. Yet, even Puck cannot restore amends at the end of the movie. Neil’s suicide had not been a dream for the boys of Welton, and their sensibilities had been irreparably offended no matter whom one believes was to blame for such an “offense.” Like the romantic Athenian youth of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Knox, Neil, and their classmates threw out the rules, formulas, and dogmas of the established order of things and embraced love, emotion, and instinct as if under a spell, yet theirs was a spell not as easily broken.
Knox was a dutiful son who visited the home of his parents’ friends, the Danberrys, for dinner one night. From that moment forward Knox would “struggle against great odds, meet enemies undaunted, be the ruler of life and not a slave, mount the scaffolds with nonchalance, dance, exalt, shout, skip, roll on, and indeed be a god!” Gone were the “calm” days of his youth as he singlemindedly pursued Chris, the girlfriend of Chet Danberry, the Danberrys’ son. As Lysander and Demetrius battled over Helena and declared their undying love for her, so did Knox seize every opportunity to bestow his feelings upon Chris despite the obvious obstacles. He rode a bicycle to a football game to catch a glimpse of her in her cheerleading outfit. He attended a party thrown by her boyfriend in which he gave in to his desire to kiss her forehead as she lay sleeping in his lap. He wrote poetry for her and delivered his rhymed verses in her classroom in front of her classmates while holding a small bunch of handpicked flowers. Knox was under the spell of love as if Puck had dropped the potion made from the flowers pierced by Cupid’s arrow into his eyes. The reason the young Athenians were so smitten was indeed the spell of Puck’s potion, but Knox was under a potent spell of another sort. He was spellbound by the Romantic notion that passion should be the guiding principle in life as taught to him by his new English teacher, Mr. Keating. The once dutiful son was now wading through the forbidden forest of passion and poetry.
Neil also experienced changes. His desire to act could no longer be denied and he defiantly took the role of Puck in a local production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Neil understood the expectations before him. His father had come to Welton earlier in the semester to oversee Neil’s schedule to ensure his academic success. As Hermia stood before Theseus and her father and pleaded her case, so did Neil attempt to enlighten his father of his wishes. However, neither youth was able to persuade their fathers. Neil decided to take the role clandestinely as Hermia retreated to the forest to run away and elope with Lysander. Neil was spellbound by the theater, and Mr. Keatings’ Romantic teachings fueled Neil’s desire to follow his passions rather than the traditional life his father had set for him. Despite the firm grasp of his father’s guiding hand, Neil, like Hermia, was venturing into the dark forest of his desires.
The forest at night looked, sounded, smelled, and felt differently than any other place known to the young Athenian lovers. So it was with Mr. Keating’s classroom. Mr. Keating suspended the rules as he encouraged the boys to rip essays out of their textbooks, create their own poetry, and walk in their own direction and their own gait. Such Romantic notions were fuel for the changes seen in Knox and Neil. These characters were transformed in Mr. Keating’s classroom as Sh
Oops! I just realized my computer cut off my first three sentences of my introduction. Here they are!
Writers often make use of other works of art or literature to draw deep parallels to their own characters or themes. In fact, many fictional characters are built based on other characters both real and imagined. By comparing such characters indirectly or openly including them in a work, writers help the audience identify with their characters in a more profound way. As he hypnotized Lysander and Demetrius with his love juice charm, it was as if Puck, the merry wanderer of the midsummer night, had administered it to Knox Understreet’s eyes as well.
These characters were transformed in Mr. Keating’s classroom as Shakespeare’s characters were in the shadows of the forest. Passions were awakened, freeing Hermia to spend the night beside Lysander, Knox to lean forward to kiss a beautiful, sleeping Chris, and Neil to place Puck’s crown upon his own head on opening night. Keating’s classroom, like the forest, suspended time, place, and order so one might explore. Nothing was as it once seemed. Possibilities arose and one felt an urgency to live this moment sucking the marrow of out life as if the next moment might be one’s last. The philosophy espoused in this classroom ran counter to the philosophy of Welton just as the freedom of the forest sharply contrasted with the rules of the world beyond its lush greens. The differences were palpable to the boys of Welton and the young Athenians, yet they ventured in deeper.
At the end of Shakespeare’s play, Puck warned the audience that all was not what it seemed and that this may well have all been just a dream. Do not be offended, he encouraged the listener. All was made right, for no harm had come to any, and good fun was had by all. Yet, here is where the parallel ends. For Neil, his family, Mr. Keating, and the boys of Welton, Neil’s suicide ripped them from a dreamlike state into a nightmare. Whether one believes Neil’s actions were in response to an oppressive, overbearing father or an irresponsible teacher, Neil ended his life. One can never know if his suicide was his final act of passion or the mistake of a misguided youth in a dark forest. Yet, with Neil’s death, the spell had been broken for the boys of Welton as it was for the lovers of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, only much more painfully.
I am pleased with this essay. I felt very confident about that the parallels I drew between the two works.
December 19, 2012
English 117- Honors
Death, something that will come to all of us one day, it may come sooner, or it may come later. Death is something that usually causes fear or dismay. So imagine the aggravation, and pain someone must be going through, to take his or her own life, to just end it, forever. Was this how Neil felt? Some might say it was Mr. Keating and his Carpe Diem philosophies that pushed Todd to branch out towards acting, which evidently resulted in his death. But in the movie The Dead Poets Society, Neil’s father, Mr. Perry, is ultimately responsible for Neil’s death due to him pressuring Neil, organizing his life, and taking away the one thing Neil was truly passionate about.
During his academic career, Neil was constantly being pressured by his father to be beyond great. He wants him to succeed in life. But isn’t that what all parents want for their children? Although it may not have seemed it, Mr. Perry deeply cares for his son. He always puts Neil in front of himself. Just like in the picture that sits on Mr. Perry’s bedside table. Neil’s mother is pictured crouching down behind her son and husband, while Mr. Perry stands in the middle, and Neil stands in front standing up straight and tall. Looking further into the picture, one will notice how the mother’s stance reflects her position in the Perry household. She is below her husband, never being heard. She never speaks out, or even gets a chance to voice her opinion. Mr. Perry stands in the middle, almost blocking his wife. He is blocking her out of his life, just as in the picture. For Neil, the way in which he stands indicates that acting is truly in his blood. He acts like the perfect son around his father, which is almost nothing like his true self. He wants to meet his father’s harsh demands, but by doing so he becomes more and more miserable everyday.
After his mother tells him to get some sleep, Neil wanders to his room and laughs slightly at the sight that he sees on his bed. All his clothes, and pajamas are placed there, perfectly folded with not a crease or crinkle in sight. Aren’t these clothes like Neil’s life? His father ultimately rules his life. He has already paved out his sons path, but Neil doesn’t get one say about it. So what if Neil wants so desperately to become an actor? His father wants Neil to study medicine, and nothing will change his mind. Mr. Perry claims that Neil has opportunists that he never had when he was Neil’s age. But the irony of the situation is that because of his father, Neil doesn’t have any opportunities. His father already planned out his life, and career, so he took away all of Neil’s chances.
Mr. Perry even screams at Neil to tell him what he wants that will make him happy. But he adds that if it is anything to do with acting, he won’t have it. He truly does want Neil to be happy, but he doesn’t understand that he just took away the one thing Neil was truly passionate about, acting. Neil has been acting his whole life. He acts like the son his father wants him to be. So when his father forbids acting, Neil gives him what he wants. He stops acting as the “perfect child.” Neil wanted to enlighten his father, but his message goes unseen. Does this mean his father doesn’t care? No. His father cares immensely about his son. Even the night that Neil takes his own life. His father carefully places his shoes right by his bed, almost as if he knows he might have to get up in a hurry that night. Mr. Perry is constantly thinking and worrying about his sons needs. He seems to hear the gun shot in his sleep, almost before it goes off. He wakes with a start and warily gets out of bed, going straight to check on his son. Throughout the night he knows what he will find. He turns on light after light after light. Searching every room, knowing he will find it empty. He turns on the lights to ward off the darkness that will soon engulf him and his wife. But he walks into the room in complete darkness showing that he knows what lays ahead for him, but he doesn’t want to see it.
Neil got out of the tradition. He found his way out. As the other boys tell Todd Anderson, Neil’s friend and roommate, the news of his death, Todd runs about outside but stops suddenly in the middle of the school’s snow covered field. “It’s so beautiful,” he states looking about at the snowy landscape that surrounds him. But Todd was not talking about the nature. He was speaking about Neil. The thought of Neil escaping his father’s constant pressuring and overbearing personality, was beautiful to Todd. It was excellent, just as Neil carried the excellence banner in the first few minutes of the movie.
Mr. Keating’s Carpe Diem philosophy may have sped up the process, but doubtlessly, it is was Mr. Perry who caused Neil’s death with his o
Mr. Keating’s Carpe Diem philosophy may have sped up the process, but doubtlessly, it is was Mr. Perry who caused Neil’s death with his overbearing and pressuring behavior, and his obsession with organizing every detail of Neil’s life. And last but not least, taking away acting from Neil, his true passion. Without Mr. Keating his father was still going to pressure him, and rule his life. Over time, the same outcome may have occurred. Mr. Perry loved Neil, but it was all too much for
him in the end. But sadly, his stand of bravery towards his father; his unwritten message, went completely unnoticed by all but Todd.
Dead Poets Society
Less Plot, more analysis
When a parent first holds their child in their arms they promise to try to give him the best life possible. Of course the baby does nothing, for he knows nothing about the outside world, and the many paths his life can take. As he grows older he learns what he truly wants to do with the rest of his life. If he pursues it, it might not match up with his parents’ “promise.” If he pursues it, he would be throwing his life away and everything for which his parents worked for. In the movie, Dead Poets Society directed by Peter Weir, Neil Perry has his whole life planned out for him. After he graduates from Welton he must go to Harvard, then medical school to become a doctor. His parents are only doing this to him to give him the opportunities they never had. They want to give him the best life he can have, but in reality they are sucking the life out of him so much that it will result in Neil’s death. Neil wants to die a martyr, to make other parents realize their children can end up having the same fate as him because of suffocating them in layers of expectations. Instead his death is blamed on the person who taught him how to make life worth living, and not the true culprit, his father.
After Neil plays Puck in the school play, A Midsummers Night Dream, his father is outraged and says that he will take Neil out of the school, and put him in a military school. He wants to make Neil forget about the Dead Poets Society, and the carpe diem nonsense. When Neil is told this, the camera shoots him from an above making him look small. By doing this the director implies that he’s not intimidating, scary, or cruel like his father. Neil doesn’t want to end up like him. Going to military school will mold Neil into a person similar to his father. He believes he will become demanding, tough, and not care about other’s needs. He can’t let himself turn into that. He wants his life to be filled with laughter, happiness, and friends. He wants to be Puck, the mischievous fairy, and bring love and happiness into other people lives. That goes along with playing some tricks, something Mr. Perry never allows. That’s why he loves the Dead Poets Society so much. He can be himself, the mischievous fairy. He doesn’t have to be that student who holds the excellence banner because he’s the embodiment of excellence. He can just act however he wants to with no expectations to live up to. At the Dead Poet Society, he can finally be free. His father will not let that go on. He will not have his son turn into some happy go lucky character. His father blames it all on Mr. Keating, the teacher who is teaching the boys how to be free spirits. After his father leaves his perfectly organized study, his mother goes over to him, and kneels down to meet his height, showing that they had the same amount of control in the family which is slim to none. All she says to him is, “Go and get some sleep.” Disappointment is running down his face, those are the only words of comfort he receives. This is the moment when Neil decides he will end his life to get back at his father.
Before Neil commits the final act he will ever do in the physical world he strips down to only his underwear. Now he is only his true self, and has nothing to hide. His shadow is lying upon the wall. In his role as Puck one of his lines was, “If we shadows have offended, think of this, and all is mended. That you have but slumber’d here. While these visions did appear.” Neil is thinking that his whole life is just a huge nightmare, and when he kills himself, he will wake up into a better life. If it’s not a nightmare he could show other parents that this is what happens when they push their children too hard. Neil places on his head his crown that he wears for his part as Puck, and bows his head. He is going to be the martyr for his friends, similar to how Jesus is a martyr for the people. They both are wearing a crown of thorns as walk towards their death. As Neil walks down the stairs, there is light. Light is hope for him. Hope that his friends won’t do what he is about to do. Hope that he will finally be free from all expectations in the afterlife. Hope that he will get revenge on his father. Neil unlocks the drawer that holds his father’s precious gun, a drawer into a new life. The gun is locked up, cleaned, and adored by his father. It is the weapon that is used to kill his only son. It leaves Neil lying on the floor, finally able to stand up to his father. The only way Neil is able to stand up to him is by lying down dead, on the pristine floor of his father’s study. Now the room will forever be tarnished by grief and despair, it will be a reminder to Mr. Perry of what he pushes his son to do.
The man who should be blamed for Neil’s death is his fathe
The man who should be blamed for Neil’s death is his father, Mr. Perry. It is because of him that Neil feels so suffocated from all the expectations that he decides to end his life. Mr. Perry takes away the only thing that is able to make Neil truly happy, the Dead Poets Society. That is where Neil learns who he truly is, and that he wants to be actor. That is who he is. He’s an actor. Not a doctor. His father will never let his son become one of those struggling actors trying to get a role they will never land, and end up living the rest of their lives being a waiter. Mr. Perry wants only the best for Neil. What’s “best” for Neil ends up in a death of one of the few people Mr. Perry loves.
Reflection: This essay worked for me because I enjoyed what I was writing about. I really like the movie. It made it easier to write.
16 December 2012
Skills Working On:
"But only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus and always thus will be." Said by Mr. Keating, he demonstrates the true passion for literature and poetry, in the battle between realism and romanticism. Welton Academy displays its four pillars of tradition, honor, discipline, and excellence. Many students undergo many character developments, discovering their true emotions and perceptions as compared to the traditional values of practicality and pragmatism commonly taught as the Academy. As the movie detangles, we observe each character develop their individualism or lack thereof. The Dead Poets Society is a modern day biblical story, whereas, Richard Cameron is Judas, Neil Perry is Jesus, and Todd Anderson is one of Jesus’ disciples.
Richard Cameron betrays Mr. Keating, out of self motivation. He gravitates to the notion that Mr. Keating is responsible for Neil Perry suicide and all that is wrong. When it comes time to confirm the notion of Mr. Keating’s wrong doing, he is the first one to pick up the pen. Due to Cameron disloyalty towards Mr. Keating, Charlie Dalton punches him in the face. Here is another biblical similarity, in the bible, when outsiders came to arrest Jesus, Peter cut off their ear. Cameron’s premonition that, “You can't save Keating, but you can save yourselves!” (Dead Poets Society). Cameron never truly agreed with the Dead Poets Society. He is unsupportive of Keating, and chooses to undermine his own individualism, for the benefit of saving and protecting his educational career. Cameron could not move from doing what he is told, to the concept of free thinking and becoming responsible for ones actions.
“For the first time in my whole life, I know what I wanna do! And for the first time, I'm gonna do it! Whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe diem!” says Neil Perry. Perry successfully followed his dream, stood up for what he believed in ir-regardless of what his father expected of him or anyone else for that matter, and stared in the school play. Upon his father’s discovery, he mandates that Neil enroll in a military school. As a result, Neil commits suicide. It can be construed, that his deliberate death was a message for his peers. His death, like Jesus’, was a sacrifice to his friends they can be free and live a free life. The message was sent to the parents as well "To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived" (Dead Poets Society).
Todd Anderson stood tall, as one of Mr. Keating’s loyalist students, standing up to the accusation made by Richard Cameron. Neil is the one that understood and took to heart the messages that Mr. Keating was teaching, best. As well as Neil understood his teachings, he let his emotions and passions drive him to suicide. Todd related best to Neil, sufficiently grasping Neil’s experience, he could be considered “disciple like”. Moving forward, spreading the wisdom, knowledge, and teachings of Keating’s. Todd and Neil entered the class as insecure boys, evolving into confident, “free-thinking” individuals, thereby leading by example through influence and teachings of their teacher.
A successful, confident leader as seen in Todd’s displayed the achievements and capacity to live a successful, fulfilling life. Despite the occasional embarrassment, Todd gained the confidence out of true inspiration, in his own ability to conquer his timidity, where Neil couldn’t. Neil achieved the same sort of understanding and shared a closeness in capacity to achieve a free-thinking state of mind, he just lack the fortitude and gall it took to live by it and stand up regardless of the consequences.
Neil was Todd’s mentor, friend and confidant. The expectations were high for Todd’s success, as his brother was a triumphant student. He had big shoes to fill, which laid the foundation for mounting pressure. Todd felt he couldn’t meet and in no way exceed the expectations that were set. At the end of the story, however, the differences between the two became the most evident. As Neil gained his “voice,” of free-thinking and romantic individualism, he lost it just as fast. His father took it from him, but he symbolically acquired it back, through his death. Contrarily, Todd gained his voice, by letting his “yawp” out, and maintained it thereby moving further into the proverbial sunlight.
In conclusion, Dead Poets Society is a modern day biblical story, whereas Richard Cameron is Judas, Neil Perry is Jesus, and Todd Anderson is one of Jesus’ disciples. The students had to find themselves throughout the book, finding their voice. Neil Perry died a tragic hero, where his downfall began when his he father told him that he couldn’t peruse his dream of
acting. This silenced his voice, and to Neil the only thing to do was to sacrifice himself for his friends. This proved that Neil’s death could allow his friends to stand up for what they believe and have passion for it. Although, a few students could not fathom varying off the paths, that were laid out for them. Finally, we are left to understand that we are the masters of our destiny. It is said best by James Allen: “Master yourself, then you can master your world. Man is manacled only by himself; thought and action are the jailers of Fate.”
*****skills working on: more analysis
20 December 2012
Mr. Brocato—Honors English 117
The Hunter—Dead Poet Society Literary Analysis
I am working on creatively inputting factual information in this essay
A distinct rustle in the bushes echoes through the otherwise soundless night. A short distance away, a hunter whirls his massive frame around in excitement. His enormous, rotund stomach jiggles and bounces in protest as he tramples through the night. His thick, clammy hands grip the gun with astonishing force. He bounds into the clearing, eyes widening at the sight of the most majestic and beautiful deer. The awe in his eyes, however, quickly changes to one of cold victory. “How grand this buck’s head will look on my wall,” he thinks and he calmly, with breath still labored from the short run, aims his gun at the ignorant deer. His fingers wrap around the trigger and he pulls, ending the life of a beautiful creature. In the Dead Poet Society, Robin Williams stars as Mr. Keating, an English teacher at a strict, private, catholic school. Despite the school’s four pillars of tradition, excellence, discipline, and honor, Mr. Keating passionately changes the lives of his students by opening their eyes to world of romanticism. He inspires these children and releases them, temporarily, from their extremely dull workload and crushing world of Atlas-worthy expectations. The students are transformed into loving, passionate, individuals with a love of the fine arts. The students start to truly live. Neil Perry, one of these students, becomes that majestic deer. He blossoms under the leadership and mentoring of Mr. Keating. He grazes on the finest grass and experiences the most wonderful of sensations, including fun, passion, and happiness. Yet while he is grazing, he is shot down from behind by this cold, heartless, hunter seeking only personal gain. However, the man gripping the gun is not a hunter seeking food nor a psychotic lunatic simply searching for blood, he is Neil’s own father. Mr. Perry, the man who raised him, is ultimately most at fault for Neil’s suicide/death.
The very first scene with Mr. Perry clearly exemplifies the relationship between father and son and illuminates Mr. Perry’s personality. One night Neil walks into his dormitory, only to find his father standing in his room. “Neil,” he says, “I just talked to Mr. Anton and I have decided you are taking part in too many extracurriculars. You need to drop the school annual.” The hunter Mr. Perry believes he sees the future. He foresees a future for Neil as a Harvard graduate, then as a doctor. The school annual is not aiding Neil on his quest to follow this plan. Never once does he ask Neil what he wants, where he sees himself in 10 years, who Neil really is. Neil is controlled, a robot of sorts, constantly striving to meet his father’s sky-high expectations and avoid his wrath. This enslavement creates a truly awful relationship between father and son. Mr. Perry thinks that he is acting in Neil’s best interests and dreams of a successful son to boast about and Neil believes that it is impossible to not follow this plan. And it is largely so. Thus, when his father dictates that he quit one of his most beloved activities, Neil reluctantly obeys. Just like the hunter, Mr. Perry is destroying an innocent, young creature for his personal gain. Later in the movie, this relationship is tested. Neil chooses to act in a play without acquiring the consent of his father. Mr. Keating’s teachings have influenced him to “seize the day” and “suck the marrow out of life.” Acting is something that Neil shows real passion for and he doesn’t want his father to ruin it. Yet just as the rustle in the bushes by the deer, the word of a parent of a fellow actor gives Neil away. He is discovered. Naturally, even after Neil finally found his passion, what he wanted to do with his life, Mr. Perry puts a stop to it. It is not part of the preordained life plan to achieve success and make Mr. Perry a wealthy man. Order, it seems, is restored and the enslavement continues. However, this transition back into the world of realists is not as easy for Neil as his father expects.
Neil simply cannot accept his father’s ruling and cannot bear his life being dictated by another man. He is sick of being a slave. He defies his father and continues to act in the play, making the assumption that his father will be in Chicago during the performance. However, he is mistaken. Like clockwork, the hunter catches him in his defiance and brings him down. Mr. Perry is on the prowl. The two take the argument back to the family home, an ironic setting for a coming atrocity. “That’s it,” Mr. Perry cries, “I am withdrawing you from Welton Academy and enrolling you in military school. You are going to Harvard and you ar
e going to study medicine.” Mr. Perry cannot believe that Neil tries to stray from the path, the seemingly perfect plan for his future. In his mind, Neil has had everything set out for him and he has made many sacrifices for Neil, so Neil is simply being rebellious and unreasonable. In Neil’s mind, his father has killed the only remaining source of joy, his acting. Mr. Perry proceeds to scold Neil so harshly that even when Neil is given the chance to express his own feelings, he cannot manage it. He has reached his breaking point. When his father goes to bed, resting from his endless pursuit of excellence and conformity in his son, Neil enacts his plan. He believes that by killing himself, he will release himself from this world of family enslavement and rigid futures. He believes that the only way to exempt himself from his father’s life for him is to leave this earth and take away Mr. Perry’s most sought after prey. He believes that his own death will make a difference. So he kills himself. Just like that. He takes his father’s gun, with almost medical cleanliness and descends the stairs. He leaves the darkness of his house and the world in which Neil’s torment lives and descends into the light of release. The light of freedom. The light that will lead Neil’s world out of its dark times. He kills himself in his father’s study, the haven of Mr. Perry with its astonishing organization and purity. It is Neil’s final act of defiance. Yet this light at the end of the tunnel did not end the darkness.
Some may say that Mr. Keating is responsible for Neil’s death. Indeed, through the cruel misfortunes that our world sometimes offers, Mr. Keating becomes the school’s and society’s scapegoat for Neil’s death. The hunter, Mr. Perry, has reloaded his gun and taken down another figure of innocence. However, Mr. Keating is most certainly not responsible for this horrific tragedy. His entrance into the Welton world changed Neil’s life forever. He teaches Neil how to think for himself, how to be passionate about something, and how to follow one’s aspirations. He was a beacon of light in a sea of darkness known only as Neil Perry’s life. When Mr. Keating kindles his spirits towards the arts, Neil finds and gets involved in a show of Shakespeares’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Acting becomes a haven for Neil and his passion for it grows enormously. He runs around his dormitory, bouncing on the beds exclaiming to Todd, “So, I am gonna act. Yes, yes! I am gonna be an actor! Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to try this. I even tried to go to summer stock auditions last year, but, of course, my father wouldn’t let me. For the first time in my whole life I know what I wanna do, and for the first time I am gonna do it whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe diem!” Carpe diem. Mr. Keating’s philosophy has made Neil truly happy for perhaps the first time in his life. It is as if a weight is lifted from his shoulders and he is finally free to do as he likes. It is Mr. Perry, not Mr. Keating, that picks up that weight and puts it right back on Neil’s shoulders. It is Mr. Perry who annihilates Neil’s dream and ambition. It is Mr. Perry who sets a rigid, preordained plan for Neil’s life that ultimately bends Neil until he breaks. Yes, Mr. Keating’s teachings led to Neil’s involvement in the play that ultimately led to his father’s wrath and his own demise. But is it right to blame the man who only caused happiness, while the source of Neil’s depression walked away clean? People do not kill themselves out of excessive happiness, and neither did Neil. Neil Perry committed suicide to free himself from enslavement to his own father.
We humans spend our entire life trying to be successful. Our childhood is flooded with classes and expectations and rigorous work. Most go to college to take their training to the next level and attempt to set themselves up for prosperous situations later in life. We look upon the wealthy man with envy, wishing that we too could be like him. Money, cars, and professional success are leaped at with enormous ferocity. Yet, what we fail to realize is that every version of success, every shade of its glorious, glamorous rainbow pales in comparison to true happiness. It is happiness that causes us to enjoy our lives, and to want to live another day. This happiness is what John Keating gives Neil Perry. He teaches him the arts of really living, of following your dreams. And for a short time, Neil is an innocent young man who is following his dreams of being an actor and experiencing true happiness. Nonetheless, as Billy Joel lamented, “Only the good die young.” Mr. Perry, Neil’s own father, destroys this gift. He creates a relationship of obedience and tel
ls Neil exactly what he is going to do with his life. Neil is simply his puppet towards achieving greater things. And, in the end, Neil breaks. He kills himself not because of the happiness given to him by Mr. Keating, as the rest of the school thinks, but by the mind-numbing pain of enslavement to his father.
A Work Of Art
A majestic artist, stumbles upon the blank of a white canvas. Sitting himself down, he drowns in the foam sea of dead white, only to find himself wondering how to capture the piece of textile, to turn it into a brilliant masterpiece. Hours pass, and he delicately dabs the naked canvas into a work of art. Captivating colors swirl around the original bore to transition itself into a story of its own. People now stare at the illusion, trying to figure out the depths lying underneath perfection. Alone in a studio with a dull canvas has carried itself into a gallery, with glaring eyes soaking the work in. In the movie Dead Poets Society in 1989, a teacher of Welton Academy strengthens his students just like this painting. The most meaningful painting being the key character is gloriously shaped by the disapproved teachings of Mr. Keating. Todd Anderson is taught to have a voice in certain things, and learns the true meaning of what it is to live through the concept of “Carpe Diem”. In the movie, the lessons taught by Mr. Keating transform Todd Anderson from an outspoken observer into a boy who can do nothing but chase his beliefs and dreams.
Resistant, Todd Anderson grudges along the chosen path his parents had led the way too. Keeping his bulging eyes on the moving ground underneath his feet, Todd took the first couple steps into Welton Academy, a school of excellence. Excellence was one of those words Todd has trouble breathing in. Being expected to take over his victorious brother who had recently graduated from the same school, the pressure on Todd was unbearable. He was overly nervous to take part in the new surroundings he would soon be forced to call home. In taking the towering walls of Welton, at first Todd felt scared, alone, and powerless. Inside of the towering walls, Todd was introduced to the towering Head Master of the new school, Mr. Nolan. Todd stood still in front of him, afraid of the intellectual man and his vicious mouth that could inhale you in but then spit you right back out. “Mr. Anderson. You have some big shoes to fill young man. Your brother was one of our finest,” Nolan spat downwards at Todd. It boomed with the characteristic of excellence. Mr. Nolan overtook Todd and indulged him in the voice he would be stuck with for the next four years. The harshness used in one statement was all Todd needed to hear to understand how delicately this school was ran. What was expected of Todd would have to be reached with great difficulty, even more difficult than having to gulp down Mr. Nolan’s words. The level of achievement Todd saw he had to reach suddenly made sweat build up in his fists, and drip down his face. Failure was a word Todd was used too, and changing that would be a cringe worthy as breaking a bone. Already, it is easily depicted that Todd thinks of himself and shows that he is unable to believe in himself, and how weak he truly is. He is unsure about his future and he neglects wanting to drive towards a future. Todd is already classified as disabled on the first day of his new school, and knowing that he is automatically mentally placed outside of his comfort zone. Todd feels weak in a universe where the men busily around him, are simply not.
Delicately perused days of Todd Anderson pass under the brand new teachings of Mr. Keating, a freshly hired teacher and former Welton Graduate. Adjusting himself under the new experience, Todd quickly adapts to his new lifestyle in boarding school. On one of the first days Mr. Keating already expresses his style of teaching, based off of the concept “Carpe Diem.” Mr. Keating, being more of a rebellious man quickly expressed how his students need to make their lives excellent on their own, not to let the schools shape them into excellence itself. Todd soaked this in, and let it sit in the pit of his stomach. Todd suddenly realized who he wanted to be, even if it meant speaking up for himself. He is shown how to do this when he is asked to recite a poem in front of the whole class. Struggling to recite what was bubbling up inside of his own head, it showed how uneasy he is with letting himself shine through. Todd was pushed outside of his comfort zone, and rapidly makes the effort to sit back down, after being called up to speak. Keating forced him out of his chair, and pushed him to a level of excitement Todd has never reached before. He covered Todd’s eyes and made him shout out an enlightening book of words. The class of students making fun of Todd for not being able to stand up in front of them had finally hushed themselves. Todd was just unleashed into the wrath of Carpe Diem, and broke the rope holding him back from expressing the stunning words that told a beautiful concept of life itself. Todd just gained total self confidence, now he knows he can do anything imaginable. After the poem leaked out of Todd’s mouth, Keating smile, and realized the true man he has fi
and realized the true man he has finally formed. Mr. Keating stated, “The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Todd Anderson has finally contributed his role in life, and has finally had found himself within, sprouting as minutes pass by.
Todd Anderson has finally shown himself who he is, and what he is capable of. And now, Todd shows the world his final destination of independence. After hearing the heart throbbing news of Neil Perry’s death, Todd shows how much of a man he has molted into. Walking down the snow covered field after hearing the alerting news, Todd focuses on the gorgeous scenery and the blanket of white that protects the surrounding world. While in taking the scene, he is suddenly reminded of death. He stops in his tracks and vomits. He discolors the snow. Todd Anderson at first was that ground covered by the blanket of white. He was protected by the real world around him. His own world was a fantasy, where he could change the rules and play the game. Stepping into the teachings of Mr. Keating, and into the campus of Welton Academy, Todd has suddenly transformed. He realized how horrible the world really is, and how society around us will never truly be as safe as the inner core below the cover. In the real world, the cover is dark and black, because the world will never be gone of negative people and their negative actions. Todd is now a man. He knows right from wrong. He knows fantasy from reality. Todd has finally become the man Keating has influenced him to be. Not only did he show how grown up and confident he is after Neil Perry’s death, but another example is when Mr. Keating was fired from Welton due to disapproved teachings. Todd Anderson and many other young men were not pleased to hear this news, and especially not when the substitute teacher comes drilling in. The substitute teacher makes the class read what Keating had taught the boys to rip out. He wanted the boys to be different, to be unique inside a world of normal. Keating being fired just goes to show any person that different is not accepted in our society, yet deep down the truth is that different is good. Todd recognizes this and stood up on his desk and said “Oh captain, my captain,” to Keating as he walked out the door for good. Todd had finally developed into a man who believes in himself, and is himself. All because of the influence of one man, Todd’s life is molded from a fail into the word…excellence. Todd had climbed the ladder. He started off weak at the very bottom, and took many steps upwards to the very top. Todd Anderson is not scared anymore to be himself in a world where everyone else is.
In the movie Dead Poets Society, Todd Anderson has been transformed from the blank bare canvas into a majestic work of pure art. With the event of getting up in front of the whole class and shouting out what he really felt, Todd took a start at breaking through his inner shell using “Carpe Diem” as a main guidance. By letting inner feeling flow by himself after the death of Neil Perry, Todd was able to be himself out loud, breaking even more of his shell. And finally, standing up on the desk and starting a trend, was all Todd needed to do to turn into a full potential man. Todd Anderson has gone from a baby weakling forced into a school that was brand new, changed him into a man who can stick up for himself, believe in what is right, and show who he really is, just because of the single teachings of Mr. Keating. Todd Anderson has changed the whole perspective on the normal masterpiece; he changed the meaning of the work of art, into a story of excellence.
21 December 2012
Gusts of Wind
I am working on sentence structure and depth
Yellow. This one word can provide a million different interpretations and associations. For one, it could be a reminder of a sunset on a hot summers day. For others, a spineless coward, bananas, puppies, pure happiness. The freedom to think for ourselves provides an endless field for our minds in which to frolic. Mr. Keeting, an English teacher at Welton Academy in the movie Dead Poets Society turns his resigned group of students into independent, free, thinkers. He teaches his students “carpe diem,” or to live for the moment. By allowing his students to interpret his carpe diem philosophy in their own ways, Mr. Keeting indirectly influences his students to pursue their desires, chase their dreams, and value their own thoughts and opinions.
One student who seems highly influenced by Keeting’s lessons is Knox Overstreet. He expresses “carpe diem” by going after Chris, a girl he has a crush on. Without Keeting’s inspiration, Knox would never find the courage to demand Chris’ affection. Knox has buried affection towards Chris, and when taught to live for the moment, he expresses his newfound mindset by going after the girl he loves. He demolishes his fear of rejection and embarrassment. Knox associates “carpe diem” with his hidden desire for love. Keeting influenced carpe diem, and left the interpretations up to his student’s individual situations.
An even more evident situation in the movie is Neil Perry’s. Neil wants to act more than anything. He tries out for a musical, against his parents instructions. He knows his parents don’t want him to be an actor, but decides to live for the moment and go after his dreams. He explains to his parents why he wants to act, taking a huge risk and stepping way out of his comfort zone. This is just one way Neil interprets Keeting’s teachings of “carpe diem.” Another is when his parents discover that he is going to disobey them and act in the play. When they say he can’t be an actor, Neil decides that if he can’t live in the moment, then he may as well not even live. He adapted to the “live for the moment” lifestyle, and couldn’t bare living if he couldn’t enjoy his life and do what he wanted. When Neil takes his life, everyone blames Keeting, claiming that he corrupts his students and taught them to be reckless and disobedient. In reality, Keeting has no control over how his students will interpret his lesson to live for the moment, because he taught them to value and express their individuality.
Perhaps the most obvious and most pronounced of all changes occurring within the group of students is Tod Anderson’s. Tod is pathologically shy. Each day his shrinks lower and lower in his chair for fear of being called on and having to speak. For Tod, expressing his feelings and even speaking in general is a challenge. Such as when he is supposed to write a poem, Tod doesn’t want to for fear of the judgement of others, hearing his thoughts. He thinks he isn’t as smart as his older brother, who graduated from the same school and set really high expectations for Tod. He doesn’t think about himself as an individual, but as someone who is supposed to be just like his brother, and as someone whose words mean nothing. Mr. Keeting slowly molds Tod, gradually easing him into the mindset of “carpe diem,” and showing him that he shouldn’t be afraid to speak his mind. In the most memorable and touching part of the movie, Tod shows the audience how far he has progressed by standing up on his chair and yelling “oh captain my captain!” to Mr. Keeting before he left the school for good. Tod combines Keeting’s lessons of “live for the moment” and to be individual thinkers, and shows Mr. Keeting that he appreciates all he did for his class. Tod learns that his opinions matter, and lives for the moment when he faces his fear and uses his voice. Once again, Keeting has no control over Tod, and has no idea that Tod would do this, yet Keeting is yelled at to leave the room by an awe-struck substitute teacher. Tod utilizes Keeting’s lessons and applies it to a real-life situation. When Tod learns carpe diem, he uses it to give him the courage to speak for something he cares about. Keeting’s lessons are taught the same way to his students, yet each takes it in their own direction because Keeting teaches the appreciation of oneself, and the thoughts that are your own.
Knox, Neil, Tod, and all of Mr. Keeting’s students were affected by Keeting’s teachings. The philosophy “carpe diem” is introduced, as well as the idea of individuality. When combined, these two ideas cause the students to do things they never imagined. Each student has molded the idea
Each student has molded the idea of “carpe diem” to their own individual situations, causing a slew of changes throughout the movie. Knox goes after his dream girl, even though he has a high chance for rejection. Neil chases his dreams of being an actor, even though his parents forbid him. Tod learns not to be afraid to voice his opinions, even though he thinks he isn’t living up to the high expectations set by his brother. All of this was because of Mr. Keeting, who encouraged his students to appreciate themselves and aim for their goals. Mr. Keeting may be the captain of the ship, directing each student in the right direction through his lessons, but his students are the wind. You never know which way each gust of wind will blow.
English 117- Dead Poets Society Literary Analysis Rough Draft
19 December 2012
Elimination of “to be” forms of verbs.
“It is only in their dreams where men can be free.” As the process of dreaming occurs, the thoughts of everyday life become distant to the human mind. In dreaming, a man’s ability to judge another dies. The death of this ability, allows the absolute freedom of a human being. Freedom felt only in the world, in which man calls a dream. This freedom saves the heart and soul of a man each night. However, as one exits this beautiful place, his ability to grasp this freedom diminishes. As Neil Perry, in the movie Dead Poets Society, exits the stage after playing Puck, a mischievous fairy, he too exits the fantasy world of dreaming. As soon as his foot leaves the stage, his soul becomes crushed by the strong and firm disapproval of his father. The strength of the deprecation leaves Neil unable to function as himself. Neil Perry takes his own life as a result of the epiphany he has about his life, after his performance.
Originality comes with experience. As one experiences the odd ways of life, he and his life, become more original to the rest of the world. Neil Perry never becomes able to grasp the concept of originality. His father in the beginning of the movie states his clear dreams for Neil, “After you've finished medical school and you're on your own, then you can do as you damn well please. But until then, you do as I tell you. Is that clear?” His father’s stern mentality and dreams for him leave him caught in a web, in which he becomes entangled, like a spider’s prey in its web. As the web wraps Neil in tighter and tighter, his inner self slowly deteriorates, leaving him as a mere robot, under the almighty ruling of his father. This endless cycle of abuse slowly continues, until Neil discovers his passion for the theater. When Neil discovers his love for acting, a fire ignites inside of him. A fire that burns on, a fire that only burns brighter as the attempts to extinguish it greaten. This fire shines at its brightest when Neil is on stage as Puck, in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night Dream.
Following the performance, Neil’s father immediately rushes him out of the theater and home. No congratulations, just a strong smack of disapproval and disgust. When he and his father return home immediate disciplinary actions result. However, for once in his life Neil nearly stands up to his father. When Neil shouts with distress, “I've got to tell you what I feel.” His father replies in a cruel tone, “What? What? Tell me what you feel. What is it? Is it more of this, this acting business? Because you can forget that. What?” Neil squeaks back with the voice of a mouse, “Nothing.” Here, Neil’s sadness and depression reach their lowest point. Years and years of stern rule enforcement, and pressure, bubble to the surface. After his father and mother exit, the great epiphany occurs. Neil realizes that he never will lead his own life and that even though his ability to save himself does not exist, he can still save his friends. He kills himself to get back at his father. He shows him that years and years of oppression have led up to this. All at once dangerous emotions Neil keeps hidden rise up to his brain. When these emotions reach his mind, that moment, Neil reaches the true point of no return. Not only was Neil’s suicide a way for him to save himself, but he saves his friends too.
When Neil commits suicide he wears the crown which he wore during his performance as Puck. This symbolizes his act of a martyr, very similar to that of Christ. Neil’s life on earth ends, however his reign in the physical world still rules. The fire Neil’s heart contains ignites in the hearts of all his friends. They know the true Neil, the reason he takes his life. However, they live with Neil in their heart every day. Neil dies for the world. Not as a way to simply save himself, but as a way to save all of mankind. His heart stops, his mind shuts down, but he rules from the after world forever and ever. Neil and Christ leave behind legacy and fires in the hearts of their followers that never diminish. This noble act contains enough love and power to conquer all oppression that exists in the world. Neil kills that oppression. He kills the oppression that kills him, the oppression that kills his friends. The life of Neil Perry ceases, but the power of his reign never dies.
Life faces one with many challenges. Some large some small, however how a man reacts to the challenges of life truly defines him. Nobility and power go hand in hand. As Neil realizes the need for his death, he leaves behind a reign that no power in the physical world contains the ability to cease.
Reflection: I did enjoy writing this piece, I felt as though I was able to have a voice of power in
***Title should read "Dead Poets Society Literary Analysis Final Draft." Sorry!!
title should read Final Draft!!
December 18, 2012
Mr. Brocato – English 117
A Teacher of Life
How strong is each link in the chain connecting teacher to student? How many people can really say a teacher of theirs drastically changed their lives for the better? In the Dead Poets Society, directed by Peter Weir, Mr. Keating, a new teacher in an old, traditional school brings change and new perspective to Welton Preparatory Academy. Mr. Keating had a large influence on all his students, by introducing them to the carpe diem philosophy, but the most influenced were Neil Perry and Todd Anderson.
One young man greatly influenced by Mr. Keating’s great teachings was Neil Perry. At first Neil was a sage, respectful young man, with a bright future planned out ahead of him. Neil’s father was a strict man because of his love for Neil. He only let him do things that would lead him to a promising future such as being a doctor. Neil’s father doesn’t let him follow his passion for acting, because he believes it wont lead to as promising a future as being a doctor. Mr. Keating teaches Neil to seize the3 day, so Neil decides to audition for a play without his father’s consent, so he can get a small taste of what he is missing. This is a giant leap for Neil because he is so used to obeying his father, and this is the first time that he goes against him. In this quick burst of spontaneous disobedience, Neil gets the part in the play and realizes that his real love is for acting. Unfortunately for Neil, his father finds out and immediately orders Neil to withdraw from the performance, to assert his authority. Neil then informs Mr. Keating of the situation, who then convinces him to follow his heart and do what he desires. Neil looks up to Mr. Keating because of his wise teachings and positive advice. Because of this Neil listens to Mr. Keating and follows his heart, but disobeys his father. This causes Mr. Perry to take rash actions to try to preserve his son’s future and potential. He takes Neil out of Welton Academy, for he believes it is the cause of his unacceptable actions, and enrolls him into military school, while also planning out his future, telling him that he will go to Harvard to become a doctor. In doing so, Mr. Perry takes everything Neil enjoys out of his life, leaving him with nothing. This marks the end of an era for Neil as he decides life is no longer worth living without these special things. Neil decides to take his own life to show his father what he has done, but in utter shock and terror, his father sees Mr. Keating as the cause. To himself, Mr. Perry was nothing but a loving, caring parent that wanted to ensure that his son’s future was bright. He blames Mr. Keating because he can’t bring it upon himself to think that he could have been in any way responsible for his son’s death. Although Neil was greatly affected, Todd also received a strong influence by Mr. Keating.
Todd Anderson was changed immensely as well due to Mr. Keating’s Philosophy of “seizing the day.” When he first arrived to the school, Todd was greeted with nothing but elderly headmasters and high expectations. His brother was one of the school’s finest students, and Todd is expected to do the same. This is quite a load to put on the back of a new student, but Todd accepts it with dignity and courage. Luckily for Todd, Mr. Keating is there to help him live up to these mountainous expectations. His solution: Seize the day. It may not seem very effective at first, but Mr. Keating works it into his teachings, ever so slowly changing Todd along the way. Todd begins with a fear of public speaking, quickly healed by Mr. Keating and his technique of the “Barbaric YAWP.” Mr. Keating assigned his class with the task of writing a unique poem to read to the class fully knowing that it would scare Todd, but intending to rid him of him of his fear of public speaking. Todd doesn’t do the assignment to avoid his fear, but Mr. Keating has a solution. He tells Todd to come to the front of the class and preform a barbaric yawp. This is a lot simpler than reading an entire self-composed poem in front of a class, so after some persuasion from Mr. Keating, Todd preforms his yawp, taking a leap of faith in doing so, and staring his fear in the eye. Todd only did the yawp because of what was at stake. Todd needed to step over this obstacle if he wanted t be remembered as more than just a brother, so he faced his fear in an attempt to make a name for himself. This was big because if he hadn’t done this, he would have fallen victim to his fear and not accomplished his goal. Another big step by Todd fueled by his will to be remembered and by Mr. Keating’s philosophy was the scene on the bridge with him and Neil. He is disappointed that his parents gave him another desk set for his birthday, even though they should have known that he wouldn’t lik
He is disappointed that his parents gave him another desk set for his birthday, even though they should have known that he wouldn’t like it. Without Neil there, he would have simply accepted the desk set, despite the fact that he didn’t like it. Neil boosts his transformation by getting some fun out of the desk set. They then throw the desk set off the bridge. This is huge action in the transformation of Todd because he crawls out of his shell and acts spontaneously, something he never could have done without the help of his friends and Mr. Keating. Finally, Mr. Keating’s influence on Todd is ultimately reflected in the final scene of the movie, when Todd preforms an action not only promising to get him remembered at the school, but especially by Mr. Keating as well. He stands up on his desk, risking his future at Welton Academy, but at that time, his future doesn’t matter, because he has to seize the day. As his teacher who helped him combat his fears and become who he is walks out of the English class for the last time, he stand on his desk, an action unheard of, and proudly speaks the words, “Oh Captain, my Captain,” giving his teacher the thanks he deserves, and showing the completion of his transformation, as he seizes the day and plows through his fears, to be what he has become.
Throughout this movie, Mr. Keating is a very influential character introducing his class to the idea of “seizing the day,” but the most influenced students were Neil Perry and Todd Anderson. Neil Perry uses carpe diem to follow his heart and enjoy his last day on Earth, spending it doing what he wants to do. He goes against his father to really claim his life as his own. Todd, on the other hand, takes carpe diem as the answer to his questions and the cure to his fears. He finally finds a way to be remembered at the school and by his beloved teacher who was there when he needed him the most. Some may have thought of Mr. Keating as the cause for Neil Perry’s death, but he was ultimately the key to unlocking the door to happiness for his students.
English 115- Literary Analysis
20 December, 2012
Connections, Fluent Transitions, and Flowing:
Private schooling has always been a route driven by certain qualities public schools can’t provide. Qualities such as religion, strict education, and tradition encourage parents to avoid the common life of public schools in order to secure their children as young adults in lab coats on their way to Harvard. Yet wherever there is glass, there’s sure to be stones. In a school sworn by customs and a firm education, the curriculum calls for someone, or something to break the system. In the film directed by Peter Weir, The Dead Poet’s Society, students that are part of a strict boarding school known as Welton Academy, are crafted into the ideal obedient clones dedicated to books and studies, or are they? As a result of a new teacher at the boarding school, Mr. Keating, the students lose sight of trips to Harvard and their academic destinations, but begin to make life itself the most important journey, as the students recreate a poetry club, valuing everything in different terms. Mr. Keating, a man of hands-on learning and the romantic world, wakes up the sleepy eyed boys with their heads stuck in textbooks, and splashes water in their eyes, refreshing their outlook in existence. In the movie, The Dead Poet’s Society, Mr. Keating transforms the schoolboys more into men than the school could have, because he encourages his students to view things from a different perspective and to express their feelings through romanticism.
Through the constant cycle of waking up in the morning, going to class, after class, after class and so on, the boys are used to the pleasant surprise of a pop quiz or an exam, yet never the same cycle seen from a different angle. After a couple of sessions of Mr. Keating’s English class, it became clear to boys that this class wasn’t about scanning over the works of every poet under the sun, but embracing poetry as life’s gifts presented though stanzas. Keating’s efforts to educate his students weren’t quite the orthodox way of instructing, but revealing the feelings and emotions concealed within every little corner of the universe. In order to get the boys to receive and revive this feeling, Mr. Keating had to make tweaks to their physical worlds in order to enter the psychological world. As an exercise of enforcing a change in perspective, Keating influenced the boys to hop aboard on top of a desk and no longer settle for looking at things eye to eye. The students wondering why this exercise has to do with poetry, Keating claims, “I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way”. Perspective is considered key in his class, considering that words don’t just translate to words, and if the boys took the time to explore the world with a little more depth, they might just be at a place of absolute bliss. As a result of Mr. Keating’s untraditional ways of distributing knowledge, this catches the tradition favoring eye of the principal, Mr. Nolan. Unlike Keating, Nolan views this as a fraud’s method, and the easy way out of a traditional education. When interrogated for his methods, Mr. Keating tries to prove his standpoint as something of perspective. In response to Nolan Keating states, “I always thought the idea of educating was to learn to think for yourself”. Through the practice of writing and the recital of poetry, slowly but effectively the horizons ahead of the young men begin to broaden. In remark to how many ways life can be seen, Keating speaks of the world as a play, asking the boys one simple question, “What will your role be?”. The unconventional ways of Mr. Keating persuades the young men to ask their selves these questions soon to come up later on in life, maybe take a chance once in a while and change their angles here and there.
Thinking through the same head with entirely different outlooks can be like borrowing the brain of someone else’s, especially when making the change from realism to romanticism. Like the poetry he reads, Mr. Keating has so many ways to express his ideals, and most importantly, nothing is ever just normal, as he believes there are thousands of ways to educate, but just a couple ways to have his students truly comprehend. “And medicine, law, business, engineering -- these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love -- these are what we stay alive for”, says Keating, swearing by his belief in the romantic world, defying the world of factual intent. In reference to the old fellow romantics Keating was acquainted with, Keating informs his students of the world of opportunity from the romantic perspective. This lesson opens up the eyes of the young men, making them feel, “Invincible, just like you feel. The world is the
ir oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you”. Adjoining the boys, Keating shows a desire and charisma to succeed, even when faced with the odds of defying customs, but soon enough this tactic becomes worth something. Like romantics did, Keating begs the boys to empty their brains before their hearts, encouraging them to disregard useless facts and utilize the power of emotion and tenderness, changing these young men, into the most well prepared men than ever, much out of the school’s control.
The more Keating expresses his ways, the influence he has becomes more of a chain reaction, turning the stiff schoolboys into flexible men ready to face the world to greet them at the death of tradition. Unlike the techniques gone by the school, Keating had taught these men not to remorse in the world of tradition and the past, but to prosper in the present, entitling themselves as compassionate seekers of livelihood. In the movie, The Dead Poet’s Society, Mr. Keating transforms the schoolboys more into men than the school could have, because he encourages his students to view things from a different perspective and to express their feelings through romanticism. Off these men go, not to the world of Harvard, discipline, and medicine, but into the world of words, out into the open, men each with their own stride.
Mini Reflection: Overall I enjoyed writing this assignment. One I had started I found transitions easy and overall it became a much smoother piece.
20 December 2012
I am working on making my transitions more fluent.
Seize the Moment
We are scavengers. Look beneath the countless layers of physical advancements and inconceivable technologies, and what are you left with? Our primal selves. When animals and plants ran rampant, and long extinct animals roamed the earth, humans were not hunters, they were scavengers. They survived only because of there brilliance compared to other animals. They could craft tools, they could create and manipulate fire. Such brilliance enabled them to do things such as crack open bones, and eat the marrow. Humans could communicate knowledge and help each other. Those men lived everyday like it was their last, because there was a good possibility it would be. Present day, we still must treat everyday like it is our last, but stray away from things that would darken our future. Too many people think too much, and focus on their future so much, that they forget themselves. Their yearn for greatness and prosperity veils their need for entertainment, for calamity, for love. People should think about their present selves, not their futures. It is like chess. A good chess player plays five moves ahead, but a great chess player plays one move ahead. Not only are the boys at Whelton Academy clouded by goals, they’re playing fifty moves ahead. This all changes when Whelton Academy decides they want a new English teacher. In the movie Dead Poets Society, Mr. Keatings becomes that teacher. He’s from a well respected school in London, and has different viewpoints with his teacher. Even though his teaching style is totally different at Whelton, he is an old fashion teacher. Like back when we were scavengers, he teaches Carpe Diem. He teaches them to “Seize the day” and for the first time in their lives, live their own life. During Mr. Keatings stay at Whelton he teaches Carpe Diem to three main people, Knox Todd, and Neil, but forgot to tell them the most important part of it, with it comes responsibility.
“Carpe Diem,” Knox whispers as he leans over to kiss Chrissta. Carpe Diem is more of an inspiration than a way of life, but for Knox, it isn’t. If Knox had continued on his path, he could have gone anywhere. He could be a serial killer, whispering “Carpe Diem” before every victim. It is a great thing to seize each day, but it needs some control and responsibility. Carpe Diem is a diamond. If it is not reformed, it is little better than a rock, but when you add a little bit of control, you unlock the pure beauty of it. The pure beauty of life. Knox does not discover this until after he kisses Chrissta. At first, Knox was an elephant at a peanut gallery. Unbound and untrained, he was living for the first time. But reality hits him with a punch to the face. With that punch, he learned the secret that most idealists hide away like an abhorrent scar.
The words, “Why do I have to be here?” resound in Todd’s head, louder than a splitting headache. Mumbling something incoherent, and looking down, he hopes that the everyone will take the hint and stop talking to him, but then he heres the words that have been haunting him from the day he was born. The headmaster comes up to him and tells him, “He has big shoes to fill.” From the moment Todd Anderson was born, his life was planned out for him. He was going to Whelton, and then on to the Ivy League. For the first time, Mr. Keatings made Todd live. He made him crawl out of his shell, and lets loose his bestial yawp. His fury at his parents, at the school, and especially at his life fueled his yawp. Being the quiet watcher that he is, he learned the responsibilities of Carpe Diem from others. He saw the pain of Knox, the suspension of Nuwanda, the death of Neil, and he understood. It can be either a gift or a disease. It will save you from yourself, or ultimately kill them.
Some of Neil’s last thoughts must have been Carpe Diem, because that became his life. They inspired him to do things that he would never do before. He stood up to his dad for the first time, and it felt great. In the end, he became, like Mr. Keating, an idealist. Different from the teacher however, Neil was an extreme idealist, and they cannot be contained. He became a bird, free in the sky, in his own dream like land, but his father did the absolute worst thing he could. He caged him. Neil was living among the clouds, untouchable, and infinite, oblivious to responsibility. To the laws of Carpe Diem. To late however, he learned the rules, when his dad punished him by separating him from his friends, from acting, and most importantly, from Mr. Keatings. Neil crashed into a wall, and that wall was his dad.
Mr. Keatings transformed into a sort of god to Neil. He showed him the true meaning of life. To live everyday to its fullest. Then his dad took it all away. Neil did not die by gun. He died the mom
ent his dad took away his acting, and his friends. During that conversation in his dad’s office, “What? What? Tell me what you feel! What is it? Is it more of this, this *acting* business? Because you can forget that! What? [pauses] Nothing.” At that point, you could see the light in his eyes leave. His only reason to continue living, is to make an example of himself, to make sure that this never happened to anyone else. Mr. Keatings didn’t teach English class, he taught magic. He taught life. But sadly, he did not teach the responsibilities. Carpe Diem is not an idealist thing. It is the fine line between idealism and realism. It has the freedom of idealists, but the reform and control of realists. Sadly, his students became the reciprocal of McAllister. They became too free. Why did Mr. Keatings teach those things? He knew kids like them could not live the life that he described. So the real question is, why did he not teach the responsibilities, and who was the real reason Neil killed himself? Mr. Keatings, or his dad, Mr Perry?
20 December 2012
Life itself can be a confusing matter. Just when we think we know who we are, we are faced with another decision, another choice. Like putting together a puzzle, we have to look closely at our life. We have to build up our qualities and strength to be who we truly want to be. Throughout The Dead Poets Society, Todd Anderson is faced with the problem of his own fear. Yet, little by little, he manages to overcome his fears and understand life along the way. Mr. Keating’s firm beliefs and teachings transform Todd from a meek follower into a bold young man, willing to lead his friends for what he knew was right.
Imagine having to live up to an expectation from your parents. They mold your life for you. They decide where you go to school, what you are going to do, and most importantly, who you are. Todd Anderson is forced to live up to the expectations of his older brother Andrew, the valedictorian of his class. From the beginning it is clear that Todd doesn’t like his expectation, as he appears as a little voice trapped in a body of someone who he isn’t. Shirt tucked in and a blue blazer on, Todd shows emotions of both discomfort and fear. He is uncomfortable of being in a place where he is nothing but another student roaming the big halls lined with portraits of alumni and awards. Hands shaking, Todd walks up the steps to Welton Academy, and is greeted by the headmaster. “You have some big shows to fill, young man”, Mr. Nolan says to him as he shakes his hand. Todd quickly looks down, shocked about how fast he has been thrust into this society. Todd walks to his room being shoved around by students who are much bigger than he is. Flustered, Todd stands alone, unsure about who he is and who he is going to become.
Over the next few days, Todd is thrown into a new life of tradition, discipline, honor and excellence, overwhelming compared to the quiet and humble life that he experienced before. Todd meets a new teacher named Mr. Keating, a unique man who has no difficulty finding his own voice. Mr. Keating already knows who he is and is very comfortable with his beliefs. Rather than follow the firm beliefs held at Welton, Mr. Keating forces himself out of the “norm” and into a world where he lives every day to its fullest. Mr. Keating seems like a strange man to most of the students. In fact, on the first day of class, he takes them out in the halls for their lesson. Pictures of students just like the boys line the walls. Boys with straight faces and perfectly groomed hair seem to stare straight back at them. It seems as if they never spoke a single word of their own. Yet, Mr. Keating gives the boys the voices that they never had. “Seize the day, seize the day boys…” he whispers. “Carpe diem.” The boys are filled with shock and wonderment. They aren’t used to this strange way of teaching and are fearful and excited of what is to come.
With the words of Mr. Keating looming in Todd’s open mind, Todd beings to regain his confidence. Like a puzzle, Todd remains unfinished, waiting for the patience and kindness of someone special. That someone is Mr. Keating. During class one day, Todd is asked to recite a poem in front of the class. Self conscious, he says that he doesn't have one. Mr. Keating forces Todd to think of words the roam through is head, creating his own poem. It was amazing to see how Todd expressed his emotions in his words. This shows that he has a voice, but he was just afraid to let it out. After this, Todd seems to be more sure of himself. He begins to talk with his friends and form himself into the person he wants to be. However, just when things seem to be going great for Todd, he is met with a bump in the road. Is life is instantaneously thrown apart when he finds out that his friend Neil committed suicide. Not only was Neil a friend to Todd, but he was also a mentor. He shows many emotions of anger and disbelief as most of us are when we first hear of death. Todd beings to stutter tremendously, showing how upset he truly is. However, he gains control when he lets out a "barbarous yelp" of anger towards Neil's father. This "yelp" is a symbol that Todd has finally broken out of his shell. He no longer needs the encouragement of others to be who he wants to be. He is truly living by "carpe diem". He doesn't want to let the day go by without doing anything. He wants to make his mark.
Towards the end of the movie, Mr. Keating is fired for his strange ways of teaching and for supposedly being the cause of Neil's death. Todd knows it wasn't him and is sad when he has to see him go. Yet, Todd wasn't
Towards the end of the movie, Mr. Keating is fired for his strange ways of teaching and for supposedly being the cause of Neil's death. Todd knows it wasn't him and is sad when he has to see him go. Yet, Todd wasn't going to let him leave without a fight. Hands shaking from excitement, Todd stands up on his wooden desk and shouts "Oh captain my captain" a name that Mr. Keating has asked the boys to call him. Soon, all of his classmates join him and Mr. Keating leaves with a smile on his face. This shows that Todd was no longer a follower but I great leader. He was able to take what he learned from his teacher and use it to his advantage. "Carpe diem" wouldn't just be a phrase that got thrown away after he learned it. Todd would use this adage for the rest of his life.
Throughout the movie, Todd showed a great deal of growth and development, not only as a character but as a person too. He no longer needed to follow the ways of others, for he had found his own path. Much like putting together a puzzle, his life was complete and beautiful. He had everything that he ever would need. A great teacher, friends, and most of all, his own heart. A heart that would allow him to go anywhere in life and a heart that wasn't afraid to do anything. Because of Mr. Keating, Todd was able to find his inner self. The words of carpe diem would live forevermore in Todd's heart.
I enjoyed writing this piece. It was very easy to write and express my thoughts. I think I did a good job at keeping it 75% analysis and 25% plot.
Mr. Brocato- English 117
13 December, 2012
Literary Analysis Dead Poets Society
The Reason Behind a Suicide
A future planned before you may sound like an easy path to take while starting the road to success, but what if the path chosen for you is the complete opposite of what you’re destined to do? Neil Perry is a teenage dirtbag who attends Welton Academy. After things get difficult, Neil makes a big decision to take his own life. The counter- argument would be that his teacher, Mr. Keating was the reason for his tragic death. Mr. Keating taught Neil and his friends to Seize the Day or Carpe Diem. Learning to stand up for what you believe is a great thing to learn, unless you are overpowered by someone who practically owns you. The death of Neil Perry should be blamed on Mr. Perry because of his militaristic stance on expecting too much out of Neil, not letting Neil chase his dream of acting, and his lack of showing love.
There comes a time in a boys life when it is most vital to do well in school. This time, for Neil Perry, is Welton Academy. Welton goes by the four pillars, tradition, honor, excellence, and discipline. At the beginning of the movie, Neil is seen holding the flag that has the word “ Discipline” on it. This is quite ironic when the movie plays on. Neil Perry’s father, Mr. Perry, disciplines him to the tee. He NEEDS Neil to get the best education to become a doctor. The overstressing Neil, was caught up in his father’s dreams for him. Neil didn’t want to disappoint his father, but also he didn’t want to ruin his own dreams. Neil most likely thought that if he killed himself, he wouldn’t be disappointing his father, and he wouldn’t have to deal with his father. Mr. Perry pushed Neil to the boiling point. Neil knew that he didn’t want to reach his father’s expectations and he certainly did not want to jeopardize his dreams. Discipline by his father included screaming, yelling, and being put down. Neil was sick of it. He knew that if he took his own life he wouldn’t have to deal with anything. By killing himself, he proved to his father that he had the power over himself to make the decision of suicide. Mr. Perry was most certainly the reason Neil Perry took his life.
Neil never wanted to have the title of M.D. after his name. That was his father’s wishes. Mr. Perry wanted to give Neil the options he never had. The problem was that Mr. Perry was forcing the option of being a doctor on Neil. Neil on the other hand, had his own dreams to tend to. He wanted to be the lead part in Welton Academy’s A Midsummer Night's Dream. Once Mr. Perry found out about his son’s role in the play he went berserk. He didn’t want Neil participating in a “stupid play”, he wanted him to be the best doctor that he could. Neil, however, continued to participate in the play, going against his father’s beliefs. At this point in time, Neil learned to Carpe Diem, or, seize the day. Without learning this Neil most likely wouldn’t have gone against his father’s beliefs. This was a reason Neil killed himself because he knew what he wanted to do deep inside. He was not about to ruin the dreams for himself, he was going to finally stand up for himself. By standing up for himself, he killed himself to show that he was not about to become a doctor just because his father. Neil knew he was good. In the movie he says, “ I was so good.” to his mother. This was the moment he realized he was going to commit suicide. Mr. Perry’s pushiness rubbed off on Neil. Mr. Perry’s controlling mindset was no doubt, the reason for Neil’s death.
Every parent shows their child love in a different way. Some people show affection physically, verbally, or don’t show any signs. That’s where Mr. Perry comes in. Mr. Perry was one of those people who didn’t show any signs of love towards his son. Neil is a sensitive character that relies off of the love other people give him. One of the most important figures in a young boy’s life is their father. Mr. Perry did not, in any way, show his son love. This may have been the reason Neil committed suicide. Mr. Perry always pushed, pushed, pushed, but that’s the way he showed his love. To Neil, it must have seemed as though his father didn’t love him. There’s no doubt that Mr. Perry loved his son. He cared about him in every way possible. He cared about him enough to “ pull strings” to have his son accepted to Welton Academy, and in the future, become a doctor. Mr. Perry loved Neil so much, he was willing to sacrifice anything for the best of him. Neil, on the other hand did not look at his father sacrificing himself as an affectionate action. Mr. Perry’s lack of love was another reason behind Neil’s death because Neil did not think that his father loved him.
How could s
someone kill themselves because of their father’s militaristic stance on expecting too much out of them, not let him chase his dream of acting, and because of showing their affection? Neil believed in every way that this was the best choice to show his father what he had done to him. His father threw him over his edge of glory. If Neil knew that his father truly did love him, he probably wouldn’t have killed himself. Mr. Perry was the cause of Neil Perry’s death, not Mr. Keating. Today, we often think that it is preposterous when a parent doesn’t show affection to their child. How could someone not show enough affection to eventually cause their child to commit suicide?
Reflection: Overall, I think I did ok on this piece. This essay probably wasn’t my best because I had trouble backing up my accusations. I think I did well on picking out why Mr. Perry was the reason for Neil’s death.
17 December 2012
English 117- Mr. Brocato
Dead Poet’s Society
Clarity and Meaning:
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion,” said Mr. Keating on the first of school. The gist of poems cannot be felt by reading, but by feeling it. In order to fulfill this process, our outer selves need to be broken out of the shell. It not only applies just to poetry, but to life in general. Motivation and encouragement brings great change. “Sucking the marrow out of life doesn’t mean choking on the bones” (Mr. Keating). Dead Poet’s Society, directed by Peter Weir, gives a taste of students choking on the bones. As a result of the philosophical teachings of Mr. Keating at Welton Academy, Todd Anderson, a student who withdraws his confidence due to fear, uses the concept of “Carpe Diem” to undergo a major transformation from a timid and shy introvert to an outgoing, extroverted leader.
Hands excessively dripping with sweat, legs wobbling like sticks, and mind racing with thoughts that not one boy had in mind, Todd Anderson walked up the centuries old stone front stairs of Welton Academy. The four pillars were tradition, honor, excellence, and discipline. Those were the exact stone staircases that every single successful boy attended. Every precise movement of the lips of his parent and headmaster were being processed into his brain. Todd was in a deep conversation with Neil, his friend, in the movie, “My parents gave me this,” “Isn’t this the same desk set as...” “Yeah. Yeah, they gave me the same thing as last year.” His parents had very high expectations and they knew that Todd wouldn’t argue because he never spoke. He was quite the opposite of seagull. He had no say, but that changes near the end of the movie. With eyes towards the ground, Todd was pushed off into another world. He was one out of all the fish swarming in the sea. Without the confidence of a real man, he trudged against the foolish boys laughing in the hallways. Todd knew that he was expected to be the next conscience student of Welton Academy, following the plastered footsteps of his older brother. Todd was not a boy what is called today, neither a jock nor rebellion. The headmaster, who also attended the Academy back in the old days, knew from the beginning that this boy was not a sassy one. “Mr. Anderson, you have big shoes to fill, your brother was very successful,” said headmaster.
The spark of an indication of an alteration was Mr. Keating’s class. Mr. Keating was a teacher that didn’t believe in teaching from textbooks, he wanted his students to feel literature from their hearts. They ripped many pages out of their books and did exercises that would contend to the grasping of what poetry or any type of literature is. The day that it all started was the day he made Todd close his eyes and speak from his mind. It made him block his surroundings and classmates, making him less tense, with some help of motivation from Mr. Keating. The outcome was, “Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it'll never be enough. Todd also gained confidence with the Dead Poet’s Society meetings the boys had in the cave. Mr. Keating too influenced this. At first, Neil would not participate and just listened to the other boys create poems from the bottom of their hearts. With comfort and encouragement, Todd soon stripped his feeling of fear and started to believe in himself. You kick at it, beat it, it'll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying t-to the moment we leave dying, it'll just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream.” Days passed, dreams passed, and tragedies. The headmaster wasn’t always convinced of the teachings of Mr., Keating. He believed that it led to the death of Todd’s best friend, Neil, who committed suicide. It is believed that their motivation was pushed way past the limits. Todd and his friends were forced to sign a sheet expelling Mr. Keating from the school. He taught the boys to follow their dreams and not listen to others. On the very first day, they were taught of Carpe Diem. Every action was put into consideration of this philosophy meaning seize the day. As Mr. Keating was packing his things and was starting to leave the classroom, Todd stood up to the principal. Todd, stands upon his desk and turns to Keating. “O Captain! My Captain!” Almost each and every one of the students stood on their desks and did not care what the principal thought beside the goody two shoes that didn’t participate. The action done feels as though Charlie Dalton, the rebel of the group, would have done it, but no, it was Todd Anderson. The same exact boy who first walked into Welton Academy, with his head down and hands sweating out of
shyness and fear.
Carpe Diem, or Seize the Day was the main philosophy for each and every boy in the classroom of Mr., Keating at Welton Academy. Without Mr. Keating, everything would have been different. It would have just been like any other class. Book reading, silence, and an aura of stiffness filling the air was what each class was like. It could be argued that this philosophy has nothing to do with change of Todd. It couldn’t have been the influence of his friends, since they never really encouraged him to become more confident. At the Dead Poet Society meetings, he told them that he didn’t want to read any poems and just listen, they all said that it was fine with them. Mr. Keating impacted him heavily since he would make him talk in class all the time. There was no exception of not participating. Each and every one of them was expected to seize their day with actions. How could Todd seize the day? A good example is the time he threw his present from his parents out into the woods. It made his day because he knew that he didn’t always have to follow what his parents said. He is his own self, and no one can tell him what to do. The process of change for Todd may be argued that it wasn’t based on the philosophy, but no one else, but Mr. Keating supported him as much.
All in all, the philosophical teachings of Mr. Keating entirely transforms Todd Anderson, a hesitant boy, to one is not recognizable any more because of the appliance of “Carpe Diem.” A timid boy walked into the building of Welton Academy and came out a man with no fear. He seized his days with Mr. Keating and his friends. The day Mr. Keating made him talk in front of the whole class with his eyes closed and imagination unlocked, was the day of the start of a new journey. The last day for Mr. Keating was the resolution to his hesitance. He stood up for the teacher that influenced him to become a leader. For once, the rest of the class were the followers. “And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for,” said Mr. Keating with the brilliant philosophy in his mind screaming to be told to these young boys.
I felt that this essay worked for me because it helped me work on finding deeper meanings. Also, I was able to work on being more clear.
17 December 2012
Literary Analysis-Dead Poets Society
Connections to outside resources, present-tense writing
Human creativity is one of the most precious resources known to man. Passion is more important than oil. It is impossible to harvest, mine, or collect these resources, however it is vital to share and utilize this passion and creativity through artwork and literature. Within the movie Dead Poets Society directed by Peter Weir, John Keating is an unassuming English teacher, having just joined Welton after being an alumni of the school many years ago. However, it becomes soon evident that Keating has a plan beyond his time at the school to fix the flawed ways. Welton’s methods aging methods of uniformity are destroying Romanticism and creativity which Mr. Keating attempts to preserve and promote, ignoring the fact that both Realism and Romanticism must be delicately balanced.
In Welton Academy, the four principles are Tradition, Honor, Discipline, and Excellence. These four principles have seemingly been in place since the start of the school. Does it work though? Possibly not, but this tradition seems to have been set in stone, instilled miles beneath the school which leaves it no chance to be dug up and changed. Parents who send their sons to Welton expect them to be modeled into perfect citizens with well-paying jobs and successful futures. For Welton to deliver on their promises of tradition, honor, discipline, and excellence, they pay the staff and keep the school in working order. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a famous phrase used to describe when something is performing well enough, there is no need to fix it. The same applies to Welton since from the eyes of an executive or headmaster, the scores speak for themselves with almost all of the students going on to further prestigious colleges and making their parents proud. There is no need for change when success and prestige floats through the male-dominated dormitories of Welton. Realists dominate the halls but there is one Romantic who just happens to think differently.
“Rip!” Mr. Keating yells to his students as they feverishly tear out pages and pages from their poetry books. It may seem a bit biased of him to completely tear out any mention of realism in the book and it is. What he doesn’t realize is that Realism and Romanticism are like a scale, they must both be balanced correctly otherwise the human race will lose out. For an introduction, Romanticism was a movement beginning in Europe which revived passion and freedom for individuals. It developed as a result of the Industrial Revolution and as a strong contrast to classicism. Poetry was one of the great exports from the Romantic period where great poets such as William Wordsmith, William Blake, and John Keats and many others thrived. Of course, John Keating also shows a number of similarities to the poet, John Keats beyond just the similarity of names. Keats had been ridiculed for his work Endymion due to its length and lack of focus. It was not until the end of his short life of 25 years that he began to write poems with precision language, meaningful stories, and an increased maturity and focus. John Keating’s role in Dead Poet’s Society is reminiscent of Keats’ life in a somewhat twisted way. Keating surprises his students with his untraditional and somewhat immature teaching methods which makes the students promptly distrust and question him. Over time, the students embrace the radical captain as their captain while Keating’s own colleagues dislike and disapprove of his philosophies. Alas, it was not enough because Keating’s own life begins to echo the beginning of Keats’ life. In this case, Keating’s downward spiral only gets worse with a loss of credibility. As Cameron puts it, “You can’t save Keating, but you can save yourselves!”
Keats died young and immature. John Keating in a sense, also dies young and immature. Keating does not die in a literal sense but instead in a figurative sense. He causes another man to die, a boy for god’s sake. The guilt crushes him and pressure from his colleagues certainly does not help. Is Neil Perry’s death his fault because of his encouragement for Neil to follow his newfound passion of acting? What is he to say, what is he to do when he only breathes fantasy and ignores the specifics of life? Nothing else but the truth. He stands by that truth at all moments among the disbelievers and the Realists. His truth is only half of the truth though, since Realism and Romanticism are closely intertwined no matter how different they may be. Both Keating and the stiff teachers at the school lack half of the equation to a successful life. Keating lacks Realism due to his own years at Welton which caused him to create the original Dead Poets Society as an escape from the cold, harsh
realism of the school. The school lacks Romanticism and creativity because of the constant risk that their reputation and financial status may be ruined at trying to change things for the good. Headmaster Nolan questions the boys abilities, “Free thinkers at 17?” he says. He may believe that he is protecting them for the better against their youthful tendencies. The truth is, at a young age is the best time for them to learn and immerse themselves in poetry, literature, and the arts.
“This is a battle, a war, and the casualties could be your hearts and souls,” Mr. Keating tells his students as he is preparing them to become his soldiers, wielding poetry and free thinking to their advantage. The opposition is Welton Academy and similar institutions that limit this freethinking and expressionism. However the truth is, they are both fighting a battle they cannot win since both “armies” lack the necessary unity to resolve. Keating’s quest to influence the boys is not fruitless though. Along the way, he teaches the boys valuable lessons that they wouldn’t have heard from any other teacher. Creativity, passion and defiance now flow through all of his students and allow them to escape their mental boundaries and limits. Todd Anderson has made a name and identity for himself, separate from his brother. Neil Perry took one last stand against his tyrannical father before his tragic death. And the boys took a stand with the Dead Poets Society, to enrich themselves in poetry and life. Mr. Keating had a lofty goal to shake away the formalism and repetition associated with Welton, and while not achieving his original goal, he has set off a class of bright minds to change their world forever. The balance of Romanticism and Realism within the school never balance to the middle, yet by the end Keating knows his work has been done. “Thank you, boys. Thank you.”
This essay was difficult for me at first to write. That is until I did a bit of research on Romanticism and found out about John Keats who shared a certain likeness with Keating. Providing historical context backed up my paper and it was surprising to find out about Romanticism and Realism which had been discussed in the movie so much.
Mr. Brocato’s Honors English
Dead Poets Society Analysis
A boy is found dead in his father’s office. Who did it? Was it murder? Was it suicide? Was it the father or the English teacher? The classic mystery is brought to life in the move Dead Poets Society. The known facts: Neil Perry shot himself in his father’s perfect office with his father’s perfect gun just hours after being told that he was going to be enrolled in military school and give up acting. The mystery: is it his father’s fault or his English teacher’s? Cold, controlling, and constrictive, his father had planned his whole life without ever considering Neil’s opinions. His English teacher, armed with a poetic mindset and the phrase, “carpe diem,” had changed Neil’s outlook on life by inspiring him along with the other teenage boys at Welton Academy.
His whole life, Neil had been forced to do exactly as his father told him. His father had planned out his life for him. His father didn’t approve of anything that wasn’t written in his schedule under the heading, “Neil’s Life.” The main reason that Neil killed himself was that he wanted to prove a point to his father and to a whole world of fathers who are too controlling. His death was meant to send out the message that if those fathers don’t stop squashing their children’s personalities, it won’t end well for anyone. Neil wanted to show his father exactly what he had been pushing his son to do. He had a choice: to take the easy way out and do everything his father wanted him to, killing his own dreams in the process, or to get what he wants in any way possible. He chose the latter, as many teenagers would do. Even if one doesn’t want to die, that could be preferable over leading a life in which you have no voice in your own home. This is how it was his father’s fault. Neil’s father kept pushing his son until the only way Neil could have any say in his life was by ending it.
Mr. Keating didn’t play any part in Neil Perry’s death. The ideas that he was teaching were already beginning to form in Neil’s mind. One of the things that Mr. Keating was particularly fond of saying was, “carpe diem.” Literally translated, it means seize the day. Metaphorically, it means that you have to do what you want because you only have one life, and it’s no good living if you’re not doing what you want to. Unless you are spending a fair amount of your free time doing what you really want to do, you aren’t really living. “Surviving” might be a better term. Neil had just begun to realize this in the beginning of the movie. He makes a weak attempt to protest when his father makes him quit an extracurricular activity that he really wanted to be part of. This is a crystal-clear sign that Neil is beginning to realize what’s important in life, even if he doesn’t know how to get what he wants. When Neil’s father responds in a harsh and negative way, it shows that Neil has never spoken to his father like this before. This means that Neil is progressing, even without the help of Mr. Keating. Neil was slowly realizing that he wasn’t seizing the day and that he had to do something about it.
Another reason that Neil’s father was the ultimate cause of his death is the point that Neil was trying to make. By taking his own life, he was trying to send out a message to the oppressive fathers of the world, not the supportive English teachers. Neil’s father had pushed him to be perfect for his whole life. Neil carries the banner of excellence in the beginning of the movie, both literally and figuratively. Excellence is a heavy burden to bear. Like carrying a banner, it starts out very light, something that one doesn’t have to put an excessive amount of effort into. As one continues, it becomes heavier and heavier, and one must use more energy and willpower to keep it up. This is the story of Neil’s life. He killed himself, not only to escape, but to inform. Neil might as well be waving a flag in the air and shouting, “STOP RUNNING MY LIFE!” This is why Neil shot himself.
Unfortunately for Neil, his father doesn’t get the message. He’s willing to blame the school and Mr. Keating for something his own son did. It’s really a tough situation for Neil. Unless he stands up for himself, he can’t make his father understand. If he does stand up for himself, it overwhelms his father to the point at which his father will do anything to avoid the truth of what his son did. There is no way he can win. Maybe that is why he chose to protest in such a dramatic way. It’s the only way to escape.
20 December, 2012
Just as our tiny fingers enter the world for the first time, doctors coat them with dark black ink and press them onto a clean sheet of paper. A pattern of white swirls and circles dance across the rich black paint that never has been created and will never be created ever again. Every one of us is different, so why is it that us and the people around us choke us with the pressures of being the same as our brothers and sisters? In the movie Dead Poets Society, the pressures of family legacies has a large impact on the kids and school. This religious and self-centered school demands discipline and perfection as they raise who they think are well-off young men. One teacher Mr.Keating tries to teach the boys that this world is not just black and white, but a range of different colors that are just waiting to be discovered. In this movie, Neil Perry and Todd Anderson escape the pressures of family and realists and into one of freedom and romantics with the help of Mr.Keating's “Carpe Diem.”
Throughout this film, Neil Perry has an internal struggle between what his family wants and expects of him, and what his heart begs him to do. His passion lives in the art of acting, but his parents have already selected his future, in order to carry a positive association with the family name. As Neil stands his ground and clings onto his dream of acting, the saying “Carpe Diem” from Mr.Keating comes to mind, and the courage and strength to stand up for what he loves rises to the surface. Seize the day has a large impact on not only Neil but the Perry family as well as Neil takes his own life because of his pre-determined fate. All his life his parents taught him obey orders, get good grades, and carry on the family name, but Mr.Keating taught him to live every day the way you want. He also taught his students what the school won’t. That you cannot find happiness and success in the worlds black and white, but that one must search through the grey to find what their heart has been trying to say all along.
The heart of Todd Anderson is stunned into silence also because of his family’s legacies. Todd’s brother has created big footsteps for him to follow, but have been left untouched by his feet because of the fear that he won’t be good enough. “ You've got big shoes to fill.” The principle said to Todd as he stepped into his new school for the first time. A mumble barely escapes his lips when the first glimpse of pressure was set onto his shoulders. Once again, “Carpe Diem” came to his rescue. Towards the end of the film when Mr.Keating is being fired for a rumor about him, Todd is the first to stand up for him. No longer a quiet follower of the pack, Todd tears the shackles off that pin him to silence and he emerges as a leader.
“Seize the day” had such a powerful impact on Neil and Todd as they searched for their voice. Neil Perry discovered that without acting, his planned life to be a successful doctor had no value. Todd Anderson also learned how to part with the pressure of his older brother, and emerge as a future leader while his voice hid deep in Carpe Diem. Both characters in Dead Poets Society needed to break away from the shielded and stiff world of conformity, pressure, and darkness and step into the new ideas of change and freedom. Mr.Keating taught them how to live their lives in a new way that neither would ever have dreamed of.
Mr. Brocato - 117H
21 December 2012
Dead Poets’ Society Literary Analysis
Formal writing with a voice (Q2 def.), more analysis, less plot
Pressure is crippling. The crushing weight of a heavy burden can send a person to his knees, bowing before the force that afflicts him. The young men at Welton experience the very same kind of pressure. Simply the banners of excellence, discipline, honor, and centuries of tradition advertise the chains that hold them in place. And what is tradition? It is the constant occurrence that people expect to be maintained. Transcending the boundaries of expectations is oftentimes too daring to even consider. It attracts unwanted attention and can make one feel horribly isolated. Naturally obedient individuals find it even more difficult to break such bonds, but the product is well worth it. Overcoming one’s afflictions may be a terribly trying ordeal, but in the movie The Dead Poets’ Society, Neil Perry and Todd Anderson discover that they have a chance to seize the day, seize their own futures, and make their own choices toward freedom.
Though the literal translation of ‘carpe diem’ is ‘seize the day,’ perhaps a more fitting translation is the realization that “we will all die and turn to dirt one day” (Mr. Keating). Death is imminent, and one only has one life. Some don’t need to be told twice because they learned at an early age to make the most of the life God has given them. However, for many others, the tendency is to avoid facing the reality of death in the face and pray that it will never reach them. But it will. Each and every one of us is the same: we are all dust. However, the words of carpe diem have the power to bring forth something more from us than mechanically breezing through life until Death’s hold. It can open eyes and move hands into motion. For Neil, seizing his day happens through his death. With the life he was given, he chooses to show others that they needn’t suffer under oppressed circumstances. Though suicide was an extreme choice, it was an action that opened the eyes of others and gave them an opening to take a stand for themselves. Through his death and his seizing of the day, Neil encourages other people to take control and not fall into the pit into which he fell. Like Neil, everyone has felt trapped. Whether it is the experience of being chained down by uniforms, expectations by parents, and traditions, or the pressure by another to take a certain action, there is the synonymous suffocating feeling that can make one feel small and insignificant. Under these circumstances, one can easily find it impossible to break apart from the norm, break apart from what is expected of him. It is much easier said than done. Standing up against an opposing force takes gumption and encouragement, and Neil does just that while giving others a chance to do the same for themselves.
It isn’t just parental expectations that can back someone into a corner of despondent dreams that do not belong to him or her. For Todd Anderson, he had the weight of the expectations of the whole school straddling him from every angle. Because his brother graduated Welton with the consistency of the four pillars and more accomplishments, it was presumed that Todd would be just as successful. But can a vine blossom and grow up the wall before it if the wall has collapsed and is crushing it? How can the foliage be expected to flourish if it has no room to breathe? How can it be expected to usurp the other vines that grew without this same oppressive landslide upon them? It simply can’t. Just like the vine can’t grow up, Todd can’t develop into the person he could become without the weight of expectations forcing him back into the soil. However, perhaps someone comes along to take away these stones, one by one, carefully relieving the vine’s afflictions. In this motion picture, Neil Perry serves as the caregiver for Todd, the wilting vine. Neil is the only one who sees Todd’s plight and takes the time to help dig him out from beneath the fallen masonry. With a little water and a clear path up, the vine can now continue growing tall, and this time, it does not have to cling to what was once the stone tower. Now, the stone tower has been knocked down and cleared away, and the tender furls of green have a chance to reach to the sky with no reservations, completely free to take whatever shape it pleases. After Neil commits suicide, Todd goes into shock, because the one person who cared enough about Todd to help him find himself through his darkest hour was gone. But this doesn’t change the fact that, while he was alive, Neil helped him and his impact on Todd’s life would last much longer than Neil’s own life. Todd’s vexation was overcome with the help of an impactful figure in his life and Todd managed to conquer what was holding him back from what h
e truly desired.
Chains that were forged on the anvil of expectations and unrealistic pressures can feel nearly impossible to break. The courage, strength, and determination that is necessary to do so is oftentimes too taxing to summon, and it is in human nature to avoid opposition and go with the current. If one is caught in a current downstream, he is not going to want to work hard to swim back upstream unless a real prize is there waiting for him. Fortunately, for Neil and Todd, they knew what they wanted and, even though they were afraid, they found it in them to seize the day and seize the prize that was waiting for them beyond the shore. Neil finds that he could be happier through death and, although it was a horrible choice to make, makes a decision that impacts other students feeling the same autocracy for the better. Todd finds his own dreams after someone helps him unearth his true self from underneath craggy rocks. Together, they find out who they are, what they want from their lives, and seize their days. Humans have all gone through similar feelings, major or minor, but without encouragement from a peer, a teacher, or the goal of ‘carpe diem,’ the bonds of expectations are suffocatingly difficult to break.
21 December 2012
Love or Logic?
Working on Grammar Problems
Is your glass half full? Is it half empty? Do you see every day of life as the most important one, or do simply another day. Do you immerse yourself in the beauty of poems, letting their Lyrics flow from you tongue, or do you simply go through the motions? Are you a Romantic or a Realist?. The conflict between love and logic has always existed, form the Iliad to the Hunger Games. As we know, in society people cannot handle sudden change, they see it as a threat. They fight back. Well. the conflict of Romantics vs. Realists exists in The Dead Poets Society by Peter Weir as well. The realists like Headmaster Nolan and Neil Perry's Dad try to change the romantics Mr. Keating and Neil Perry. One of the biggest problems in the book is the battle of the Romantics vs. Realists. In the Dead Poets Society the romantics may have won a few battles but the realists won the war.
From ripping out "realist" pages in their books to walking with their own style, the boys in Mr. Keating’s class learn to walk the path of the Romantic. By doing this they find their inner warrior, they slowly start to fight back against the realist school and they win a few battles. In the movie, the romantics won some small victories because although they were eradicated on the surface they remained spirited below. First Todd made is desk set "fly" after being influenced by the teachings of individuality and realizing he does not have to conform to anything. Neil then wrote a letter to his father about him wanting to act in a play, and then after some argument convinced his father to allow him to act in the play. Keating's classes soon made Neil, Todd, Charlie, Knox and others begin to change from realists to romanticists. Proof of this is when Mr. Keating came back to get his stuff and was about to leave, Todd took that moment to show his Romantic side, Saying the iconic quote "Oh, captain my captain." showing that Todd was a romantic, and now had the power to show it. Some other small victories where when Charlie Dalton, stated his already rebellious mind by stating that girls should be allowed into their school Welton, and Knox who "seized the day" and started a relationship with his crush Kris.
A famous quote "They may have won the battle , but we won the war.", applies almost directly to the position of the Realists in The Dead Poets Society. They are the ones who prefer logic, tradition, and most of all, conformity. The first major blow the Realists delivered was the death of Neil Perry. Neil's father had told him he could never act because it was too different, and that he wanted Neil to be realistic and be a doctor. The sudden shock made Neil think that society would not accept him. This pushed Neil over the edge and in a dramatic scene he put an end to his life with the hopes of showing his dad that he was wrong, and to spur his friends into embracing the Carpe Diem philosophy of Mr. Keating. This sadly did the opposite, his Dad blamed the romantic Mr. Keating and he was subsequently fired. The second major battle the Realists won was near the end of the movie where Headmaster Nolan fired the "leader" of the romantics and for a while removed all thought of them. He almost made it seem easy. He even managed to make all the boys who had been made romantics sign a paper, seemingly turning them into realists. This blow is softened when the boys send Mr. Keating off with a symbolic goodbye. They were clearing trying to show that they were different and nothing the school did could change them. Sadly if they wish to stay in the school they must change and conform to the realist ways.
Your whole personality boils down to one key aspect. Are you a Romantic or are you a Realist. Knowing what you are can change your life, simply being one has already changed your life. If there were no different people in society we would all fall victim to mob mentality and be mindless slaves. The ideas of one can change the many, and this happened in the Dead Poets Society as well. The romantic Mr. Keating changed an entire school with his words. This in itself is the whole idea for the romantics, to live life to the fullest or to "seize the day". The realists see everyday as another one, not giving care to what others or even they really want out of life. This is why the conflict between the two will always exist. So, love or logic?
15 December 2012
Dead Poets Society Analysis
Most days in life we go through the same interminable routine never living life to its true potential. To the extent where if the chance to seize the day knocks on the door we lock it never giving the philosophy carpe diem a chance to come into our lives. In the movie Dead Poets Society Mr. Keating, an English teacher, is the key to the lives of the boys at Welton Academy. He unlocks the airtight doors and kicks it down with a conviction that drives the students and their lives. Most of his students buy into his philosophy of carpe diem, but no student is more affected than Todd Anderson.
Carrying the weight of his brother’s achievements on his back, Todd Anderson walks feebly into Welton Academy to begin his school year. During the start of the opening ceremony Todd isn’t fully immersed into it like the other boys. Instead he’s cowering in his shell in the darkness of his “perfect” brother’s shadow because he doesn’t think he can compare. To make it even worse on his way out of the ceremony Mr. Nolan, the wrinkled sour old headmaster, stops Todd shakes his hand and says “You have some big shoes to fill.” Stuttering mumbled words of discomfort Todd backs away from the head master because the thought of filling his brother’s shoes terrifies him. Already Todd has high expectations to reach and yet no one has gotten to see what he’s capable of. It seems to Todd that people don’t want to get to know him because people feel that they already do. They all see him as his brother and those things won’t change for Todd. He’ll have to keep carrying the baggage of his brother around with him until someone can help him unpack.
First period roles around and Todd has poetry with a new teacher named Mr. Keating, a Welton graduate and a founder of the Dead Poets Society. Within the first few minutes of the class students are told to rip out the introduction of their poetry text books. This is alarming to the students, but do follow their orders. It strikes them that Mr. Keating isn’t like all of their other teachers. He’s a romantic not a realist and believes in originality and possibility which are shown through his teaching methods and who he is as a person. Mr. Nolan, a realist, comments on how Mr. Keating is a romantic and he responds with “men are only truly free in their dreams” an original quote. Mr. Keating is the hammer that breaks the classes shell, but more importantly Todd’s shell is being broken to exposes who he really is. Todd is called to the front of the class to read his poem, but he doesn’t have one and he begins to sweat bullets and mumble excuses to Mr. Keating. It’s obvious that he’s uncomfortable, but Mr. Keating molds him as if he were a piece of clay into a romantic by having him examine a picture of a crazy man, having him close his eyes to form a poem on the spot, and shouting a barbaric yawp. This whole scene is the beginning of a new Todd. This scene showcases the first words of Todd Anderson as if he has been reborn is beginning to speak. Classmates and Todd himself are starting to see Todd as his own person not his brother. The pressure is coming off of Todd’s shoulders.
Mr. Keating isn’t doing this on his own though. Neil, the young man who carries the excellence pillar, serves as Todd’s mentor. Neil has already broken his shell and is helping Todd out of his. This year for his birthday Todd got the same desk set from his parents as he did last year. Neil and Todd joke around about this to loosen the tension because Neil knows what if feels like when parents don’t truly care about their kids. In the end Todd throws his desk set over the edge of a balcony and relief rains throughout his body exposing more of who he truly is. People start to see Todd as pieces of his shell fall off and the world has seen its first flying desk set. Carpe diem is now seeping into Todd Anderson through the slight open in his door.
Just as Mr. Keating with the help of Neil Perry pry open Todd’s door to the philosophy of carpe diem something tragic happens. Neil Perry shots himself. This tears Todd to pieces, but Todd’s door is still open. “It’s so beautiful” Todd says outside the school while it snows right before he vomits. It isn’t beautiful because it’s snowing, but because at least Neil doesn’t have to put up with his parents who seemed as if they didn’t care about him. This also makes Todd sick because he has just lost his mentor not temporarily, but forever. To make it even worse the school blamed Mr. Keating and his teachings to be responsible for Neil’s death. This isn’t true though and his students know this it was Neil’s father, but Mr. Keating still loses his job. School life goes o
on and there is now a new poetry teacher to replace Mr. Keating, but one day he comes in to pick up his personals from his office. On his way out Todd stands on his desk and says “Oh captain, my captain.” This shows that Todd’s door to carpe diem is now fully open because he does this on his own and seizes the moment to honor his poetry teacher. Once he does this other student join in, but not all of them. Todd finally has a firm grip on the meaning of carpe diem.
Many students in Mr. Keating’s class have changed after his teachings, but no student was more affected than Todd Anderson. He started out as a nervous boy trapped in the dark shadow of his brother carrying the pressure to be just like him, but in the end Mr. Keating kicked down the door to open it to the idea of carpe diem and by doing so it has shined on Todd and as brought him out of the shadow. Usually humans go through life without taking any of it in, but by seizing the day one can change that. The door just has to be opened and once it is the light that pours in will make it impossible to close. When the chance to seize the day knocks don’t lock your door, but open in it and embrace the light that pour in.
Honors English 117
December 14, 2012
Dead Poet Society Literary Analysis
In life, people go around trying to please others. Most of one’s actions are solely based on trying to impress and satisfy someone else. Teenagers are in the stage where they are trying to find themselves. While doing this they still want to live up to their parents expectations. They strive to be a perfect child. It is hard, many times a child can become sad because they cannot do the things they love. They have to put those things aside to make their parents happy. In the movie, Dead Poets Society, the school Welton Academy has promising students in attendance. They excel in academics and many students participate in many extracurricular activities. One of these boys is Neil Perry. Neil is an over achieving kid, who feels as if he needs to please everyone. By pleasing everyone, he cannot please himself. So what do you choose at time like this, your family or yourself? At the tragic death of Neil, the students, Neil’s friends, point their fingers at Mr. Keating. He is to blame for Neil’s suicide. But is he really? Todd Anderson, one of Neil’s friends, knows that really, there is something greater going on. Mr. Perry is really to blame for Neil’s decision to take his own life, for he only wants Neil to be successful, not happy.
He has his whole life planned out. Neil is going to be successful. Being the exceptional student he is, Neil’s father has high hopes for him. He participates in many extracurricular activities. But there is one his father needs him to be in, even if that meant bumping out one that Neil likes. Mr. Perry convinces him to drop one for another so he would not disappoint his mother. That in itself is manipulation to get Neil to do what he wants. The plan Mr. Perry has laid out for Neil is not one that Neil wants to follow. He has his own dreams. Dreams that cannot be achieved because they are too foolish for his father. What Neil really has to do is stand up for himself, or his father’s expectations will get the best of him.
Acting is not forced upon Neil, it is something he wants to do. He wants to do it more than anything. But this is not part of the plan. There is no time for it when Neil already has so much more to do. The enjoyment of it does not matter to Mr. Perry. Neil’s happiness means nothing to him. Knowing that it would come back to bite him, Neil auditions for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and gets the role of Puck. In their room, Todd and Neil debate whether or not Neil should tell his father. Neil thinks he should not because his father would disapprove. Almost graduating, Neil can make decisions for himself. He wants to be able to do something for him for once. Something that would make him happy.
Why? Why can’t he let his son have a little fun? Well, because it is not part of the plan. After finding out about the play, Mr. Perry takes Neil home to have a talk with him. The talk about how M.r Perry has given everything to Neil to have a good life. Mr. Perry wants so badly to have his son have the life that he never could. Even if it means that Neil suffers. He is living the life he wants through his son, and that’s not fair to Neil. In fact, it is pushing him over the edge. All Mr. Perry wants is success.
Being told that you cannot be who you are is devastating. One can only imagine what Neil was going through to lead him to his next actions; killing himself. He was basically told that he could not be Neil. His parents found him, lying cold, and numb on the ground. They must have felt guilt. That guilt built up inside of them. It was his father that said he was not allowed to act. It was his father who told him he was going to Harvard. And it was his father who told him he could not be happy.
During the investigation of Neil’s suicide, his friends were all sent to the headmaster’s office to have a talk with him. All of them know that Mr. Perry was really the one who caused the tragedy. As Todd says, "Even if Mr. Perry didn't shoot him, he killed him. They have to know that." But Cameron tells Mr. Nolan everything about the dead poets society, Mr. Keating, and his philosophy. All the boys had to sign a paper that blames Mr. Keating for everything. They sign it, even though they know it’s not write. The school would never understand how Mr. Perry could be at fault for his son’s demise. Mr. Perry wants to make sure the blame is on Mr. Keating, and not himself.
On his way out, Todd stands on his desk and says, “Oh captain, my captain,” to the leaving Mr. Keating. Others follow in his example. They are all saying that they know it was not his fault. Mr. Keating was merely trying to help Neil. It was his father who kept pushing him closer and closer to the edge, telling him to be someone who he was not.
Mr. Keating is not at fault for Neil’s death. His father kept trying to pus
h him to be someone he was not. He wanted Neil to have the life he always dreamed of having. The consideration of Neil was not in the picture. It was all about Mr. Perry getting to live a life through his son and not letting his son live it the way he wanted.
Carpe diem. Seize the day. The wind howls but the only think that can be heard are the whispers of these powerful yet dangerous words. There is a steam making it impossible to see. The only thing pondering your mind will influence every decision you make in your life. Your future. In the movie “The Dead Poets Society,” directed by Peter Weir, Mr. Keating is the new English professor. He works at a very honorable school called Welton Academy for Boys. Here, tradition and conformity is key. Mr. Keating’s lessons make a huge impact on all the boys’ lives from their first day together, to the last time any of them will ever see their new teacher. Each boy in his class will be ambitious and brave men. Each boy took away an important lesson from Mr. Keating’s teachings. Each boy will never forget the short yet valuable time they spent in Mr. Keating’s classroom. Mr. Keating himself attended Welton Academy and was a part of a club called the Dead Poets Society. The members of the Society would gather together and read poems. These poems had to strike them as powerful, inspirational, etc. Since the tradition of the Academy is so influenced, the club was banned. Mr. Keating, after meeting a particular group of boys, convinced them to start the Society once again. Two of these boys are Todd Anderson and Neil Perry. These two boys that were transformed the most by Mr. Keating’s lessons of Carpe Diem.
Neil Perry, a miraculous scholar at Welton Academy, struggles to find himself as his own person. His father, only wanting the best for him, but may want it too much. Neil’s father wants him to be a doctor and only a doctor. Ever since Neil was born, Mr. Perry had one goal in mind: Do anything possible for my son to accomplish my dreams. Anything that got in the way of that would never be allowed because his father would never let it happen. Neil’s life has been planned out for him since he was a child, and no matter what his own input is, he is going to be a doctor. That being said, when Neil decides he wants to try out for the “Midsummer Night’s Dream” play because of his strong love for acting, he does not bother asking his father because he knows what the answer will be. He tries out and is given the lead role of Puck. At first Neil sneaks around behind his father’s back by going to practices and rehearsals secretively. But yet, his father finds out and restricted him from it. Since Mr. Keating is so approachable, Neil talks to him. Mr. Keating tells Neil that in order to get his point across, he should tell his father the truth about why he is acting. And so, Neil does this and his father lets him participate in the play. When Neil first performs the show, he does not know his father will be attending. As the show closes, rather than Mr. Perry congratulating his son for his mesmerizing performance, he scolds him and tells Neil that he will be attending military school. Neil tries to argue, getting him nowhere, and that night Neil kills himself, shocking everyone around him. Some would say that Mr. Keating was the reason why Neil killed himself, although Mr. Keating gave him the advice to be his own person and stand up for what he believes in. Others would say Mr. Perry was the tipping point leading into suicide.
The other boy, Todd Anderson, the brother of a very successful man at Welton Academy, is now hesitantly following in his brother’s footsteps. The first words the principal said to Todd were “Mr. Anderson, you have some big shoes to fill, young man. Your brother was one of our finest.” Someone watching this movie learns very quickly that Todd is a very shy and soft spoken young man. He also has a small stutter when he speaks, causing him to blend in with the crowd and not stand out. Todd goes along with what others do and would rather not speak at all. Luckily, he was placed into Mr. Keating’s English class. The first moment that Todd starts to break out of his shell is during one of the lessons. For homework over the weekend, the boys were supposed to write their own, original poems, and then on Monday they were going to present them in front of the entire class. Knowing Todd’s struggles socially, Mr. Keating’s next words are “Mr. Anderson? Don't think that I don’t know that this assignment scares the hell out of you, you mole.” For the entire weekend, Todd is writing and writing, but gets nowhere. The whole point of poetry is expressing your deepest feelings that come from your heart. Yet, Todd does not know how to be himself, he conforms to what everyone else is doing to fit in. When Monday finally comes, he does not have a poem to read to the class. Mr. Keating explains that Todd needs to express his “barbaric yawp” (a loud cry or yell). Todd certainly tries, but fails by being too quiet. Next, to get a poem out of Todd right on the spot, Mr. Keating shows Tod
Next, to get a poem out of Todd right on the spot, Mr. Keating shows Todd a picture of an old man and tells him to close his eyes. He asked what the man reminds him of and Todd responds “A mad man.” Mr. Keating continues to ask Todd questions about the man he saw for only a few seconds and Todd comes up with a beautiful and original poem in a matter of a minute. Mr. Keating brought something out of Todd that no one else had. Todd. The real Todd. The Todd that is not hiding behind an insecurity and shielding himself from the world. Another instance where Mr. Keating influenced a real person out of Todd was after Neil Perry had committed suicide. Although it is believed that Mr. Perry was responsible for Neil’s death, some believed that Mr. Keating was the true person behind his demise, and one of those people being Mr. Perry. He reported to the principal of Welton Academy that Mr. Keating influenced Neil so much to pursue his love for acting, that if it was taken away, he should kill himself. All of the boys in the Dead Poets Society were questioned about who was behind it. They all saved themselves from expulsion by saying it was Mr. Keating who enforced it. All of the boys betrayed their beloved teacher for selfish reasons. As they were having their first English class, Mr. Keating was picking up his personal belongings and it truly bothered Todd that he left him to be fired without the help of his students. Todd stands up on his desk yelling “O’ Captain, My Captain!” This line is symbolizing support for his teacher and also Todd’s barbaric yawp.
The howling wind begins to die down. Silence has finally arrived, clearing your mind only on the future. Your future. One time before in your life you thought of everyone but yourself. Your drive was to please others and not yourself. Yet, the fogginess has been cleared, because of the precious words of Carpe Diem and you can now see ahead. You are your own person, being yourself, and living for no one but you.
18 December 2012
Once every full moon, we set forth to retrieve happiness among others with truly admirable intentions but end up only with the blood that has secretly coaxed onto our foolish palms. It is a distasteful misfortune that happens to those who only make room for the well in their sole, those with the hearts made of coal never seem to cross paths with such an issue. Bitter outcomes like so is why, each and everyday, this world is deemed unfair by the human beings who roam upon it. We are so stubborn and quick to blame someone that we are incapable of realizing that the true faults are only to be blamed on ourselves. We fabricate excuses so supreme that we even fool our own reflection. As much as the benevolent-hearted man grew on us in the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society, we must force ourselves to come to the accurate conclusions that Mr. Keating is the capital contributor in the tragic path Neil chooses to take. If Neil had never encountered the philosophy Mr. Keating brings with him to Welton, his breaths would be occurring. This is a happening, where a gracious man, who only desires to assist a young boy striving towards his dreams, turns into an unexpected misfortune. After experiencing life by the ways of the liberating carpe diem philosophy taught by Mr. Keating, Neil refuses to be pushed back down by his father’s misguided methods and makes the fatal decision of taking his youthful life so his father could no longer poison it.
Shortly after being exposed to the indifferent ways of education that Mr. Keating brings with him to Welton, Neil Perry undergoes an immense change. He progresses from the boy who stood in silence in his father’s presence to the young man that finally let people hear his bellows. Sadly, with a change so immense you must take the good with the bad. Neil’s death has pave the way for other adolescence in his identical predicament. Neil Perry is able to finally allow the stubborn parents of Welton to catch a glimpse of the light. Mr. Keating may be the key factor in the reason why Neil refuses to go on with his tightly controlled life but he put an end to Neil’s suffering. Without Mr. Keating, Neil would have gone on with his life by his father’s misguide parenting methods. Neil would spend the rest of his youth ages trap under his father’s tight grip and perhaps eventually suffocate. As said by the very romantic Mr. Keating, "I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way." From Neil’s extraordinary sacrifice, the other parents who have identical values to those of Mr. Perry will now listen to their secretly pleating children. Parents will no longer have their child on a lease and choke them after they find comfort in an empathetic teacher. With the youths of Welton containing opposing opinions of those of the parents, they are far less blind.
In the eyes of the adults of the Welton community, Mr. Keating may be a cold-blood killer, but to the new generations, they see Neil’s death at fault of his own father. The students of Welton academy have the ability to realize Neil’s father is choking him and Mr. Keating allows him to be set free. The way Neill is force to live is anything but healthy and brings about a childhood of suffering. Neill is never in an environment that he is starving or beat but suffers from emotional deprivation. Not allowing him to make his decisions affected who he was in the little future he has lived through, a struggling teen with a not exist voice. Nobody else could bring Neil the support he critically needs like Mr. Keating can, Neil finally has someone who will listen rather than argue. As Professor Keating states, "This is a battle, a war, and the casualties could be your hearts and souls.” When he speaks this sophisticate saying he means if you allow others to decide how your life will be lived, it will just be another precious life wasted. After having the tremendous support that Professor Keating willingly provides, Neil cannot cope when his father suddenly rips it from him.
After experiencing life without obstinate tradition and absolute excellence, Neil is finally able to enjoy his growing passion in life. Neil’s father being an idealist, refuses to consider the idea of his son perusing the unpredictable career only for it does not reach the standards Neil is destine to exceed. Mr. Perry views life from only one viewpoint, the shell. He observes the meanings of life to only be filled with money and family and those two ideas are what will make his son’s future the best it can possibly be. Little does Mr. Perry know that in Neil’s own thoughts, passion will always exceed success and bragging rights. Neil, cowards in the corner for all his life, and was unable to tell his father what he really desires in life. After experiencing life from Mr. Keating car
carpe diem ways, Neil begins to transform into a newly formed romantic and is able to finally break away from the traditionally views of the idealist. Mr. Keating cut Neil’s life short when he uttered, "We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for." Mr. Keating teaches Neil that life isn’t worth living if we are unable to hold the beauty in it. When his father denies him the happiness acting brings to him, Neill refuses to sink back to his old gutless self and takes an action that will change him and the people around him for eternity.
Every so often when a new moon hides in the sky we for once get what we alway desired. Though, these gifted moments come as often as you see the new moon, we bask in the thought of how rare moments like these are. Neil Perry never received a moment like this. After finally having the courage to go against his father’s wishes and perform in the play, he was denied the option of ever having that tingaling feeling again. Neil would have never stepped foot on that stage that night if it had not been for Mr. Keating. Though Mr. Keating only desired Neil to be happy, his good intentions proved to be fatal. If Mr. Keating had never stepped foot on Welton ground and introduced him to his carpe denim methods, Neil would not have changed. Assuming Mr. Keating had never interfered with his student’s lives, Neil wouldn’t have felt the need to pursue his dreams that only brought death to him. Grant it Mr. Keating had never told his class to rip out the introduction of poetry, Neil would have stuck to the tradition that is never broken for a reason. There are faults in the life Neil was living before he crossed paths with Mr. Keating as well. For one, Neil would have remained in secret misery for the rest of his pre-adult life. In addition to the fact, Neil would have never been saved. Though Neil’s encounters with Mr. Keating caused him to no longer have the desire of living, Mr. Keating was able to put an end to Neil’s suffering life. Neil lived in despair not being able to show his outstanding talents on stage and though Neil might have chosen to end his beautifully inexperienced youth life, he will no longer be someone he is not. Neil Perry is finally free.
Honors English 117
14 December 2012
To live or not to live, that is the question. Too many people live their lives to what they think is the fullest. In reality, most people live in their comfort zone, place where they are safe and happy and no harm is done. One’s dream almost always remains a dream, just out of reach, and no attempt is made to capture the vision. Life continues in the expected cycle with no disturbance. In the movie Dead Poets Society, directed by Peter Weir, “carpe diem”, seize the day, is a big theme taught by English professor, Mr. John Keating. Most students take this philosophy, but a select bunch takes it to the next level by making it their motto. Neil Perry, Knox Overstreet, and Todd Anderson all struggle with living up to their parents’ expectation, but learn to embrace their own individuality with the help of Mr. Keating and his philosophy of carpe diem.
If one is born as an individual, why is he or she raised as a doll to be played in whatever way their mothers and fathers want to? This is the case of Neil Perry, an aspiring actor with immense talent, whose dreams are crushed by a demanding and stubborn father. Mr. Keating and the concept of carpe inspires Neil to pursue his dreams without the permission of his father, an action that may make or break Neil. A part of Neil wants to please his father and be the son that Mr. Perry expects him to be, the other part of him embraces carpe diem and the spontaneity of it. Neil releases his inner self on stage as Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare. The role fits him like a glove. Neil’s heart is broken when his father is not pleased with his extraordinary performance; he has failed as a son. Mr. Perry believes he is doing the best for his son by pushing him in the “right direction”, but in reality, he does the complete opposite. Neil is pushed to the edge and over it when he is sentenced to an extra ten years of military school. Finding no better option, Neil commits suicide. Finally free of his burden, he is one with his dreams and is away from the troubles of his life. Neil seized the day, and now that day is over.
Although giving up one’s life of his passion may scream carpe diem in all sorts of voices, it is not the only action that is influenced by the phrases. A timid boy who has never done anything wrong has fallen in love. Knox Overstreet has never seen a girl more beautiful than Chris in his entire life. His “love” is deeper than any river and he can’t stand to see her in the arms off another. After listening to Mr. Keating’s spiel on carpe diem and making a mark on the school, Knox decides to do what he thinks is impossible. He decides to profess his love for Chris. Throughout his entire life, Knox has been the quite and obedient boy, not unlike Neil. Carpe diem affects Knox deeply enough to make him loose all rational thought and replace it with the face of Chris. As he tells Chris about his feelings, he jumps out of his comfort zone and runs into an unfamiliar terrain. With every step he takes, he feels it more and more. It’s like she’s calling out and beckoning him towards rebellion. Knox is desperate for Chris and her approval. He is willing to do anything, even stand up to her boyfriend. A little prep school boy, desperately in love, turns to the one thing he believes will help him, carpe diem.
Keating’s philosophy seems to have done everything but good, but one student seems to improve from this mess of a philosophy. Todd Anderson, a quiet boy with a slight stutter, is deathly afraid of his own shadow. “Mr. Anderson, you have some big shoes to fill, young man. Your brother was one of our finest.” Says Mr. Nolan. Todd quietly looks down and mumbles incoherently. From this moment on, it is obvious Todd is the socially awkward boy who is content with going unnoticed. Mr. Keating and Neil Perry change all of that. After learning about carpe diem, Todd scribbles the phrase in his notebook. That single phrase would transform his life. From sneaking out at night to throwing his birthday present from the top of the school, Todd couldn’t have done it without Neil. Neil Perry is like an older brother to Todd, guiding him and encouraging him to gain a voice. They were friends like no other. Neil’s death throws Todd headfirst into a world where he is completely alone. He breaks down and screams his heart out. This barbaric yell is significant in Todd gaining a voice. He would have never thought of making such a sound if it weren’t for the grief he was going through. Another action that indicates Todd becoming independent is him standing up to Mr. Nolan and say what he thinks is right. Shouts of “O Captain! My captain!” rang out around the room, all starting with Todd. He finally found his voice, a strong voice of his own.
Everyone is given a choice, tr
uly live life to fullest or die a copy. In the movie Dead Poets Society, a group of young boys take a chance thrown in their face that will change his life forever. Carpe diem, a phrase taught by Mr. Keating, gave the boys hope for a different future, one where they do what they want. Neil Perry, Knox Overstreet, and Todd Anderson all struggled with unrest in their life. They fought the mainstream lifestyle and the lives their parents set up for them. They took carpe diem to the heart and changed their lives, whether it was for the better or worse. The boys seized the day and kept a tight grip on it until the sun went down.
Honors English 117
“Oh captain, my captain”. An address to an elder, a wiser person, and most importantly a teacher. Mr. Keating tells his students to address him this way. He taught his students many things in his short time at Welton Academy. A big topic in his teachings was conformity and poetry. This teacher, though, stepped away from tradition (one of the 4 pillars, honor, tradition, discipline, excellence) and taught them in a free style, ripping the pages of textbooks out and replacing it with a free mind to think. Most will agree that this is a better way to teach than the formal and rigid walls of the square box we call old school teachings. Mr. Keating stepped outside the box and made his students into mature thinkers. One of his fastest growing students was Todd Anderson, and one of his best students was Neil Perry, but Neil Perry was more than just an above average student. Neil Perry taught more to Todd Anderson than Mr. Keating whether he knew it or not.
Todd Anderson learned many things from Neil Perry, one of the biggest was his yawp. Many would argue that Mr. Keating showed Todd his yawp in his class, but when Neil had killed himself this allowed for he true poet inside of Todd to come out. Todd’s yawp was not pretty but it came out like a barbarian. Todd learned to stand up for what is right, and to walk away from conformity, and run right into individuality. Todd can now express himself without fear and can speak his mind freely. You see Todd express himself in the end of this movie, Todd jumps up to his desk leaping on to the top and to individuality he says “Oh Captain, my captain” to his captain Mr. Keating. Todd is finally showing his true colors, and they are flying all over the place. We finally get to see the true Todd, and this Todd is very different from the one we started of with.
When Todd first came in he was a very shy person with nothing to say and very big shoes to fill as Mr. Nolin cruelly sates in the beginning of the movie. Todd is finding the upright and rigid life of Welton normal. It is what he is used and he would have done fine in this school if he was left alone by the others, but Todd is almost molded by Neil. Neil wants to share all his wisdom and enthusiasm with Todd and pours knowledge all over Todd, drenching him in a bath of freedom and life lessons. Neil shows Todd how to take something and turn it on its side. He shows that when one is presented with something negative, there is always a way to flip it on its side and take the positive out of it. When Todd gets the same desk set for his birthday that he did last year, Todd is upset but mostly angry. Neil takes this present that Todd has absolutely no interest for and turns it around and shows Todd the positive side, that it is aerodynamic. Todd then proceeds to through the desk set off the bridge. This lesson of how we view things shows Todd that there is good in everything. Even after Neil’s death Todd still notices the beauty of the day, while so much tragedy is around him. Neil is the first to show Todd how to take this positive, and Neil is first in other things as well.
Lastly Neil leads by example, in our case he shows Todd how to take a chance and to follow this chance through and through. Neil is always the first to follow Mr. Keating’s directions, he is the first one to say “Oh captain, my captain”, he is the first to step on his desk, and the first to think of restarting the Dead Poets Society. All of this rubs off on Neil, bit by bit small parts of knowledge are dropping on to Neil then spreading out to his other classmates. In the very end of the movie when Todd makes his infamous leap to freedom on to his desk, he is the first one. He is the one to break away from the chains of conformity and to burst through the wall of individuality. He leads the way through this dark tunnel guiding his classmates in the absence of Neil and taking on the role of captain in place of Mr. Keating. This strength, this courage came from what Todd was taught from Neil and it showed Todd that Todd Anderson could be anything or anyone he wants to.
Todd Anderson arguably under went the biggest change in the movie Dead Poets Society but this change could have never happened with out the first and foremost teacher for Neil. It is not his captain, his commanding officer, but his peer and friend Neil Perry. Neil guided Todd into what would become a leader, Neil was able to squeak out all he could to teach to Todd, and Todd was at first scared. At first he wasn’t sure if he wanted this knowledge, this priceless information, but as time went on and Neil was more daring and more successful Todd was able to see the light. Todd could see through the darkest tunnel that only a select through could penetrate with their eyes, he saw himself at the end of this tunnel, but he did not see a shy person with large shoes to fill he saw a
a confident young man who was an individual separate from the blinded society around him, a man with the roaring YAWP of a barbarian and most importantly he saw a new, bright, and hopeful Captain.
Dead Poets Lit Analysis
Your clothes cover your body, your true form. They cover it from the harsh reality of the world. In the movie Dead Poets Society, under Neil’s clothes of “excellence” and loyalty to his family is a glowing young actor waiting for his chance to prove himself. The only thing holding him back is tradition, the tradition to be the best of the best and to live by the Realist ideals of the school he attends.
At the start of the new school year Mr. Keating is taking a position as the new English teacher, with a very different view on life than the rest of the school. During their very first class Mr. Keating asks the class to remove the very formal and Realist preface from their textbook. Almost immediately Neil, with a generous tearing sound removes the preface. This very act was the beginning of Neil’s rebellion, his rebellion against conformity. Neil has wanted for so long to express himself and is now getting that opportunity from Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating wants to change the hearts and minds of his students. When they approach him one with the discovery of his old high school year book he gifts them with the quote “Living involves sucking the marrow out of life.” After hearing this line Neil embraces it whole heartedly and bands his friends together to form the “Dead poets society.”
Also graced with the honor to be taught by Mr. Keating is Todd Anderson. He is the newest student in the line of children whose legacies precede them far before they even attend the school. Todd arrives as fresh as a brand new penny but is slowly tarnished and worn down to his bare essence. He then begins a transformation. He starts to collect some “dirt” of life. He starts to become his own person. Neil also begins to push Todd to open up to the world and embrace life in its fullest. From the first day of Mr. Keating’s class Todd begins this journey encouraged by the phrase, “Carpe diem,” or seize the day. Todd has trouble changing because he like Neil is bound by tradition, bound by the importance of his predecessors and his obligation to fulfill their high hopes for him. This is why from the beginning of the movie Neil and Todd grew closer together both trying to achieve the same goal, of becoming their own person and breaking tradition. After the formation of “The Society” and the discovery of it by the schools administration Mr. Keating almost retracts his earlier statement on life and replaces it with, “Sucking the marrow out of life doesn’t mean chocking on the bone.”
In the end of the movie in a last ditch effort to break tradition, Neil performs in the play he had been waiting so desperately for his father to support, but fails once again to stand up against his father for what he believes in. Sadly, Neil like many others, feels that his only escape from life is to remove life all together, and he ultimately kills himself. This was the only decision he truly made on his own and left Todd and the others to pick up the pieces. Todd’s final act to separate himself from the Realist society he has clung to his whole life, stands on his desk along with others who had embraced Mr. Keating’s philosophy, and in unison with one another exclaim, “O captain my captain.”
English H 117
20 December 2012
Dead Poet Society Literary Analysis
"Yalp!" screams the timid student. Each shout is like a thump against the inside of his airtight shell. His heart screams to his slumbering mind to wake up and act. However he only way to wake up is through the revitalizing words of the romantic, loving and powerful as they are. The gears start turning, suddenly the heart and mind are one and let out a ferocious "Yalp!" rattling the minds of all who sit near him. Tod Anderson has found what has been lost to him for years, he has found his voice. This treasure, however, is only found and expanded through the "Carpe Diem" teachings of Mr. Keating. Tod grows from a timid follower to yalping leader. For Tod to reach such a height he needs a mountain of flaws to climb, his main being his lack of confidence in his speech.
Tod Anderson’s first scene exposes this very fatal flaw. Ashe shakes hands with the headmaster he is told he will have very big shoes to fill. He has felt this exact pressure before from his parents and now he is feeling it again from the head of Welton Academy. Tod, because of his flaw, is unable to say anything and instead looks away. His far of stare into nothing reveals a deep emotional turmoil within him. Everyone expects so much of him, his parents especially, yet he knows he cannot deliver their requests. He knows that he's different however he doesn't consider this difference a gift, rather a curse. He sees it as a curse only because of the realist he was brought up around. Mr. Keating sees it differently through his romantic vision as he says in one of his teachings you must always look at things from a different perspective.
Tod Anderson's next major scene shows another side of Tod which until this point has not existed. Mr. Keating has asked the class to write poems to be read aloud in class the next day. This is what Tod dreads, his fatal flaw. During class Tod is asked to read his poem. Tod answers that he has not done the poem however he does not look Mr. Keating in the eye. No, instead he looks down so as not reveal the lies in his eyes. He has created his poem, that is without a doubt. However what he has forgotten to create is his voice with which he must deliver it. Mr. Keating sees this with 20/20 vision and pulls Tod to the front of class. 'Yalp' writes Mr. Keating. "Yalp!" says Keating to a baffled Tod Anderson. Mr. Keeting repeats his command once more and Tod lets out an enormous “Yalp!” It is full of frustration and anger, emotions Tod had hidden from the rest of the world. For that second we see a flash of the true Tod Anderson, a romantic filled with expressions and feelings begging to be felt by cold hearts. During this scene Mr. Keating further pushes him by making him create a poem on the spot. Tod, instead of shrinking back deep into his shell, rises to the challenge showing more signs of an increased confidence. He is blinded by both Mr. Keating's hand and the words which he never imagined saying combining to form an emotional and heart felt poem. Tod maintains this level of confidence but seems to make very minimal improvements to his speaking skills throughout the course of the movie. It would take a very major event to completely open Tod to the world.
Towards the end of the movie a tragedy occurs which bends the steel bones of all the boys, Neill kills himself. He kills himself to act as a martyr for the boys, to do what they want to do not what someone forces on them. When Tod hears of the news he is broken. Neill was a pillar which supported the majority of Tod's weight, without him Tod falls. He falls to the snow weeping and choking, all the words he had acquired now left him when he needed them most. All the confidence built up by Neill has been removed and now all that is left is Tod's body falling from through the air. He has almost hit the ground when suddenly he stops himself. He is rising now developing his own backbone one vertebrae at a time. He stands tall and yells a horrifying cry, running down the hill his emotions out of control as he stumbles through the snow. He has finally released all that was hidden within him scrapping the bottom of the bowl to get anything that sunk to the bottom. Neill's death was a final push which raised Tod Anderson to a level which he would never have thought possible.
Tod Anderson is a character like no other. His soul is trapped within the hard shell built by his parents, chained to the inner linings of his voice box. Mr. Keating and Neill Perry are able to melt the shell and break the chains which bind him and he is set free to express his feelings to the world. He has conquered the mountain of flaws and now stands tall saluting Mr. Keating and Neill Perry.
Mr. Brocato: English 117
18 December 2012
Dead Poets Society Literary Analysis
William Shakespeare once said, “Give every man thy ear, but give few thy voice.” Our voice is not simply just the sound projected from our vocal cords. Our voice is much, much more than that. Only few people are able to fully express the way they feel. Often, people thoughts are trapped inside their body, struggling to escape. Yet, our world still holds special people. These special people do not only express emotion, but they are able to announce their feelings so that they can make a rather significant change. In the film Dead Poets Society released in 1989, we learn that the most reserved person, Todd Anderson, grows into someone with the loudest voice. Todd walked onto the campus of Welton Academy completely lost. He had no one to turn to and no one to relate to, he was all alone. He wasn’t a party maniac or a compulsive student. Todd was stuck in the middle, feeling pressure from his brother’s success at the school but also having no distinctive personality. This school changes him forever to become one of the boldest students Welton had ever seen. Due to the teachings of Mr. Keating, it becomes evident that by the end of the movie, Todd Anderson develops from a quiet and reserved student to one who develops the loudest voice of them all.
Some people hide beneath their true identity. Their appearance disguises them from the way they feel inside. Few are able to break out of their skin, only releasing their true soul. Why can’t everyone do this? Misconceptions are what drive people to keep it all inside. Todd Anderson is in fear of the way other may judge him. Therefore, he buries himself in a world of tranquility. He avoids disturbance by others around him. Todd is a follower, someone who goes along with the crowd. Finally, one class at Welton drove Todd to awaken from his shy personality. Mr. Keating, his new English teacher, put the spotlight on him and completely opened Todd up to his classmates. As Todd was asked to read his poetry to the class, he continued to hold himself back. After Mr. Keating’s encouragement, Todd still stayed resentful. One word changed him. “Yawp.” Mr. Keating instructed him to do a barbaric “yawp.” The whole entire class would spectator as Todd made a rather foolish noise. This “yawp” released Todd’s inner thoughts as they spilled out of his mouth. This wise teacher raised Todd’s confidence. As Todd did the barbaric “yawp” his voice was discovered. After this event, he was capable of verbally expressing him up. Todd was transformed from the kid who’s face was titled downwards every time a question was asked into someone who would actively raise their hand. This one “yawp” released Todd’s inner emotions and gave him a genuine voice.
In society there are leaders, and followers. Only the bravest of people have the power to lead a crowd. Although, the strength of becoming a leader doesn’t come naturally to most, especially Todd Anderson who starts this book as an average boy but comes out a hero. Todd’s passion in life originates from his heart, but is then enhanced by Mr. Keating. After the suicide of Todd’s beloved friend, Neil Perry, Mr. Keating is blamed. Mr. Keating not only affected Todd, but he affected the lives of all thirty students sitting in that one classroom. They all learned how to become honest and heartfelt writers as well as people in general. When Neil’s suicide is announced all of the blame goes straight to Mr. Keating who is forced to resign from his teaching position at the school. The bond between this teacher and his students was inseparable. As a bland school day began with a new teacher the students lost their passion for literature. While the classroom was silent, Mr. Keating walked in to pick up the final pile of his things. Todd Anderson stared at him like a lost dog. Todd had no role model to look up to anymore. Todd’s helplessness killed Mr. Keating inside, but he was forced to leave. As the door creaked open, Todd “yawped.” He stood on his desk showing his admiration towards the teacher. Todd yelped the words, “ Oh captain, my captain,” in hopes that Mr. Keating would come back. One by one more boys stood on their desks leaving about five boys in their seats. As Todd led himself to stand for what was right, many people followed. Mr. Keating walked out of Welton with dignity that he changed the lives of thirty young men. Todd’s voice is strongly enhanced as he finds the strength to speak for what he believed in, but he was also able to lead a crowd. Only the strongest voices have the ability to impact others.
In the film Dead Poets Society, it became clear that the main character, Todd Anderson, found his inner voice and developed the loudest voice of all. By “ya
Dead Poets Society
It's the desire to find ourselves that drives us through life. We must live in the concept of carpe diem – seize they day . Our lives are like our brains; we only access around ten percent of it. What separates the two is the fact that we can live our lives to the fullest, without restrictions. We must take risks and the biggest risk we'll ever take is the first step towards finding ourselves. In the movie the Dead Poet Society, directed by Peter Weir, there are potential life lessons that could potentially mold anyone of us into the man or woman we could become. The potentially sweet words of "Carpe Diem" seem to cling to the brains of Todd Anderson and Neil Perry and transform them from gentle followers to vocal leaders who truly want to make a difference in the world around them.
Within the narrative, Todd Anderson seems to be a shy, voiceless young man. On the first day of his new school, Todd is approached by his head master Mr. Nolan and is told "You have some big shoes to fill, your brother was one of our finest." When this is said, Todd feels like giving up right there and crawling under a rock. The way he looks down and almost slouches shows that even from the beginning he's backing down and shying away from meeting expectations he is not sure he can meet. You can almost hear the whimper that seeps out of him.
Just as Todd settles in, he meets his roommate, Neil Perry. Neil already has his head on his shoulders and will soon teach Todd how to find himself. On the first day of classes, Todd meets his English teacher , Mr. Keating. From this day forward Todd will grow and transform into the man he wants to be. "Carpe Diem," is what Mr. Keating says and this means seize the day. This strikes Todd and from the second he hears it, it's embedded in his mind. Mr. Keating is no ordinary teacher, and that is increasingly clear as we learn more about this school. This is good for Todd. His teacher is ready to help him come out of his shell and yell his barbaric yawp. That yawp is building up inside of Todd and is waiting to burst out.
One step Todd takes towards becoming himself occurs on his birthday when his parents give him the same desk set that they gave him the preceding year. With a the slightest nudge from Neil, Todd throws his new desk set over the balcony. This represents him throwing away a little piece of the old him and being open to receiving the new him. It shows that Todd is slowly getting to the point where he realizes he can no longer try to fill the shoes of his older brother but to fill the shoes of his own two feet. It's even shown on his face, a sigh of relief when throwing the gift away. The person inside of Todd is now raging to come out and bubbling every second. After the complete tragedy of Neil's suicide, Todd is in shock.
His words of "The snow is so beautiful," represent Todd is in shock and can't even wrap his mind around the death of his roommate, his best friend, his role model. Right after Todd says that, he vomits. That shows that it's overwhelming and sickening. When Todd’s friends try to comfort him, he runs and screams his barbaric yawp. After this there is only one more step that Todd needs to take until he completely breaks out of his shell, this is when he literally stands up for what he believes in. It's unfortunate that Mr. Keating got fired from his job but when he comes back and gets his personals, that is when Todd burst into the man he wants to be. He can't stand the fact that his teacher got fired and had to leave, he blurts out that he had no choice but to sign the papers. Mr. Nolan yells at him to sit down and Todd can only take that for a moment until he stand on top of his desk and says "Oh captain, my captain." this shows that Todd is literally standing up for what he believes and now there's no turning back. He is the man he dreamed of being and now he can change the world around him.
Neil Perry. One of Welton's exceeding students. This young man already has his head on his shoulders and knows what he wants. He, like some other boys at Welton, is held back by his father. Neil is brilliant and does everything a parent wishes their child would do, but the fact that he lives for being an actor one day gets under his father's skin. Mr. Perry feels that his son does this because he wants to disappoint him and his mother – as if Neil wants to embarrass them. Neil feels restricted by his father so when he gets the chance of being in a play and the chances of his father finding out are very slim, he jumps on the idea. Eventually Mr. Perry finds out and at first struggles to let Neil still participate but actually ends up seeing his play. The last lines "If we shadows have offended, think but this, and all is mended. That you have but slumbered here while these visions did appear..."
Those words really hit Mr. Perry. If he did not like what he saw, he must forget and move on. Instead, yells at his son for
Mr. Brocato: English 117
18 December 2012
Dead Poets Society Literary Analysis
William Shakespeare once said, “Give every man thy ear, but give few thy voice.” Our voice is not simply just the sound projected from our vocal cords. Our voice is much, much more than that. Only few people are able to fully express the way they feel. Often, people thoughts are trapped inside their body, struggling to escape. Yet, our world still holds special people. These special people do not only express emotion, but they are able to announce their feelings so that they can make a rather significant change. In the film Dead Poets Society released in 1989, we learn that the most reserved person, Todd Anderson, grows into someone with the loudest voice. Todd walked onto the campus of Welton Academy completely lost. He had no one to turn to and no one to relate to, he was all alone. He wasn’t a party maniac or a compulsive student. Todd was stuck in the middle, feeling pressure from his brother’s success at the school but also having no distinctive personality. This school changes him forever to become one of the boldest students Welton had ever seen. Due to the teachings of Mr. Keating, it becomes evident that by the end of the movie, Todd Anderson develops from a quiet and reserved student to one who develops the loudest voice of them all.
Some people hide beneath their true identity. Their appearance disguises them from the way they feel inside. Few are able to break out of their skin, only releasing their true soul. Why can’t everyone do this? Misconceptions are what drive people to keep it all inside. Todd Anderson is in fear of the way other may judge him. Therefore, he buries himself in a world of tranquility. Todd is a follower, someone who goes along with the crowd. Finally, one class at Welton drove Todd to awaken from his shy personality. Mr. Keating, his new English teacher, put the spotlight on him and completely opened Todd up to his classmates. As Todd was asked to read his poetry to the class, he continued to hold himself back. After Mr. Keating’s encouragement, Todd still stayed resentful. One word changed him. “Yawp.” Mr. Keating instructed him to do a barbaric “yawp.” The whole entire class would watch as Todd made a rather foolish noise. This “yawp” released Todd’s inner thoughts as they spilled out of his mouth. This wise teacher raised Todd’s confidence. As Todd did the barbaric “yawp” his voice was discovered. After this event, he was capable of verbally expressing him up. Todd was transformed from the kid who’s face was titled downwards every time a question was asked into someone who would actively raise their hand. This one “yawp” released Todd’s inner emotions and gave him a genuine voice.
In society there are leaders, and followers. Only the bravest of people have the power to lead a crowd. Although, the strength of becoming a leader doesn’t come naturally to most, especially Todd Anderson who starts this book as an average boy but comes out a hero. Todd’s passion in life originates from his heart, but is then enhanced by Mr. Keating. After the suicide of Todd’s beloved friend, Neil Perry, Mr. Keating is blamed. Mr. Keating not only affected Todd, but he affected the lives of all thirty students sitting in that one classroom. They all learned how to become honest and heartfelt writers as well as people in general. When Neil’s suicide is announced all of the blame goes straight to Mr. Keating who is forced to resign from his teaching position at the school. The bond between this teacher and his students was inseparable. As a bland school day began with a new teacher the students lost their passion for literature. While the classroom was silent, Mr. Keating walked in to pick up the final pile of his things. Todd Anderson stared at him like a lost dog. Todd had no role model to look up to anymore. Todd’s helplessness killed Mr. Keating inside, but he was forced to leave. As the door creaked open, Todd “yawped.” He stood on his desk showing his admiration towards the teacher. Todd yelped the words, “ Oh captain, my captain,” in hopes that Mr. Keating would come back. One by one more boys stood on their desks leaving about five boys in their seats. As Todd led himself to stand for what was right, many people followed. Mr. Keating walked out of Welton with dignity that he changed the lives of thirty young men. Todd’s voice is strongly enhanced as he finds the strength to speak for what he believed in, but he was also able to lead a crowd. Only the strongest voices have the ability to impact others.
In the film Dead Poets Society, it became clear that the main character, Todd Anderson, found his inner voice and developed the loudest voice of all. By “yawping” in front of his whole class he gain
ed a confidence that was invincible. By standing on his desk and creating a peaceful protest for Mr. Keating to stay, he shows that he can be a leader from finding his inner voice. Todd learned that it was necessary to release his true identity for the sake of his own personality. Not only did Todd feel dignity within himself, he served dignity to Mr. Keating, the one man that discovered his voice. With the discovery of Todd’s voice he participated in many class discussions and he defended his own beliefs. The voice is very important. Mr. Keating wisely said, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
for doing what he loved and this drives Neil over the edge. He can't take it anymore that his father is controlling his life. He desires to be an independent man that can at least have control of his own life. When his father tells him his future for the next ten years, the words of "Carpe Diem" ring in his head. The moment his father steps out of the room is when Neil knows that he's going to kill himself. It's his way of showing his dad that he can't control him and that he wouldn't let him overpower him anymore. His father pushed him to the point where he felt like he had no other choice than to kill himself. When Neil pulls the trigger there is no sound but his father jumps up and the mother doesn't even hear anything. This shows that his dad does care and is alert for him. He's protective of his son and felt that he had to protect him by making all his decisions for him. By Neil doing this it shows that he left this world with the last piece of dignity he had left. He couldn't fully become the man he wanted to be but at that point he was as much as a man as he wanted to be as he'll ever be.
It's our life long goal to find who we are. We strive to reach the impossible. Dead Poets Society isn't just a movie, but a club that will change the young men at Welton Academy forever. They've all been affected by the two words "Carpe diem" and especially Todd Anderson and Neil Perry will make their own mark on this world because of it.
20 December 2012
Dead Poet Society Literary Analysis
Picture yourself reluctantly walking up and down the seemingly endless hallways in the depressing atmosphere of your strict, new school. You are about to leave your parents and enter a new world that is unknown to you. You feel trapped and demoralized by what you are about to go through. To make things worse, your older brother Jeffrey was one of the greatest students to ever go to the depressing deathtrap and you have a lot to live up to. In the movie The Dead Poet Society, Todd Anderson is cursed with this terrible fate. He is a very shy and quiet boy who is incredibly nervous about attending a highly regarded prep school. Todd is so lost in his life that he even has trouble speaking. He can barely get a word out of his mouth without stuttering. However, everything changes for Todd when he is introduced to his inspirational friend, and beloved English teacher Mr. Keating. Throughout the movie, Mr. Keating, a successful English teacher, helps change Todd from a nervous wreck, into an outspoken leader who finds his voice, which allows him to learns to speak for himself and make his own decisions.
The first time Todd Anderson walks the miserable halls of Welton is an experience he would love to forget. As he reluctantly roams the school he is introduced to the principal, Mr. Nolan. The intimidating and strict dictator of Welton glares into Todd’s wide eyes and says, “Mr. Anderson. You have some big shoes to fill, young man. Your brother was one of our finest.” Showing no thought for Todd’s feelings, Mr. Nolan shoots at Todd with some very serious expectations. He doesn’t
even bother saying hello to the kid. Todd is obviously nervous about his situation. Deep inside Todd is desperately afraid that he will disappoint his parents or Mr. Nolan by failing to meet his expectations. Fear swallows his body and burns in his eyes as he looks back at Mr. Nolan. In the weakest and most fearful voice, Todd tries to answer Mr. Nolan. He attempts to thank him for the compliment as he stutters and fumbles over his words. He finally lets out a feeble quiet, thank you. Todd clearly had no self-confidence and has not found his voice yet due to the sad fact that he could not even speak to an adult. Todd was also weak and scared of what he would be forced to go through. There is no question that Todd did not want to attend the school. He did not believe that he had what it took to be the best student in a school abundant with some of the country’s finest young men. Most of all Todd is scared of failing to meet his high expectations. Todd has no control over his life. He is being forced to attend such a strict prep school. He is merely being controlled like a pawn in a game of chess. Todd Anderson, a nervous voiceless boy, is just a piece in the endless game of life. As one can see, Todd Anderson is very shy and has no voice until he meets Mr. Keating.
Todd Anderson gloomily sits in the front row of his English classroom. He is terrified of what he is about to do. He must share a poem, that he himself wrote, to the rest of the class. Because he has not found his voice yet, Todd is incredibly nervous. Mr. Keating, his English teacher eventually calls on him to read the poem. Being the feeble, weak character that is before he finds his voice, Todd tells Mr. Keating that he did not do the assignment. Todd deliberately lies to his teacher to get out of facing his fear of speaking out for what he believes in. As Todd steps up to the front of the class, shaking and trembling with fear, Mr Keating demands he let out a barbaric YAWP. At first, the weak and fearful boy squeaks out multiple quiet cries that were all begging for some guidance. They were pleading that
someone help him find his voice. After hearing Todd’s pathetic cries for help, Mr. Keating realizes that he could be helped. Keating motivated Todd and pushed him into letting out a true YAWP. This YAWP
helps Todd significantly in finding his voice. For the first time in his new school Todd has cried out and spoken out for what he believes in. In that barbaric cry, Todd shows that he truly has a voice inside of him that was waiting to be set free. In his YAWP, Todd unleashes his anger of being part of a game in life. He expresses his opinion and shows that he really does not want to have his whole life planned out and arranged for him. Mr. Keating acts as his savior in this situation. He shows Todd that there is a voice inside everyone. After Todd’s YAWP, Mr. Keating has Todd look at a picture of a sketchy old man, and asks him to describe it. Todd immediately comes up with an incredibly detailed comparison to a blanket that doesn’t reach your feet. He is still a little too afraid to talk to the rest of the class until Mr. Keating finally pushes him into a rampage where he goes on and on only slightly stuttering over on
one or two words. Todd speaks confidently and loudly in his poem. His tone has improved so much from the first encounter he had with Mr. Nolan. He seems to have gained so much confidence. Todd Anderson, with the help of Mr. Keating, has found his voice.
Imagine being shaken awake in the middle of the night. You are dazed, sleepy and confused. Just as you come to the sense of things, you are told that your best friend, Neil Perry, is dead. The old Todd Anderson, with no voice, would have been crushed. He would have felt even more demoralized and weak than he had before he had even found out that he would have to attend Welton. Through Mr. Keating’s teachings, Todd does not completely lose his newly discovered voice. As he is admiring the beautiful snow with his classmates, the day after Neil’s death, he suddenly vomits. He begins to ramble on and stutter. He manages to eventually say that he believes that it was Neil’s father who was responsible for his death. He begins to ball and sob. He is acting the way he did before Mr. Keating’s
teachings. He is weak and feeble again, and he is filled with sadness and fear. All of the sudden, he sprints through the placid winter snow, and lets out his YAWP. He releases his emotion and anger. He
speaks his opinion to the world to show that he is confident. He now has a voice of his own. Later in the film, after Mr. Keating was fired, Todd shows that he truly has found his voice. In the middle of a glum depressing class, being taught by Mr. Nolan, Mr. Keating returns to collect his personal items. When Mr. Keating is about to leave, Todd bursts out with a clear strong voice. He goes on about how Mr. Keating was innocent and that he did not deserve to be kicked out. Mr. Nolan eventually threatens to expel him if he does not stop. At that moment, Todd shows that he has found is voice for good. He proceeds to stand on the top of his desk while saying, “O captain my captain.” He speaks out for himself and expresses his opinion in life. He is not scared anymore. He is not weak. He has become a leader. Eventually, about half the class is standing on top of their desks in honor of Mr. Keating, Todd’s savior. Todd Anderson has officially been changed from a weak shy boy, into a confident leader.
The first time Todd Anderson gloomily walked the halls of Welton, he was a nervous wreck. He could not even finish a sentence without stuttering over his words. He was scared and nervous about his future that he could not do anything about. With the help of Mr. Keating, Todd performs a barbaric YAWP and he finds the voice inside of him. He realizes that he is a good spirited leader with various positive qualities. He leads his classmates in honoring Mr. Keating, their fallen English teacher and he learns to express his opinions, which is shown through his YAWP after Neil Perry’s death. Throughout the movie, Mr. Keating, a successful English teacher, helps change Todd from a nervous wreck, into an outspoken leader who finds his voice, which allows him to learns to speak for himself and make his own decisions.
21 December 2012
I am working on my sentence structure, using 75% analysis and only 25% plot, and my transitions between and in my paragraphs.
Not again!! This same thing happened last year!! That kid, John, got the main role once again! Why does this keep happening to me? Last week when I tried out for the play, I really thought that I would get the part of the main character. But now, a week later, I’m still mourning over the fact that I didn’t make it! I wish I could stop obsessing about this because I can’t concentrate on anything else. Many people waste so much time obsessing about things that are unchangeable. People always worry about what’s going to happen or what has already happened. They must learn to live in the present and seize the day in order to attain the most out of life. It’s not about past or future events, but about what is happening now. In the movie, Dead Poets Society, directed by Peter Weir, students at a prestigious high school, Welton Academy, are extremely high level learners. Most of their teachers implement very strict rules and harsh discipline. Mr. Keating, though, teaches his students using a more relaxed philosophy called carpe diem. Through Mr. Keating’s teachings of carpe diem, Knox Overstreet, Neil Perry, and Todd Anderson all see life in a new way and learn to live life to the fullest.
One of the students who benefits from carpe diem is Knox Overstreet. One day Knox sees the “most beautiful girl in my entire life.” He chooses not to approach her because he is intimidated by the fact that she already has a boyfriend. However, as time passes, Mr. Keating’s teaching of carpe diem grows on Knox. He realizes that it is a waste of time to continue thinking about her without doing anything about it. Finally, he learns through carpe diem, that he should seize the moment. Knox gathers his courage and decides to call her on the phone. He says to his friends, “She's gonna hate me. The Danburrys will hate me. My parents will kill me. All right, goddamn it. You're right. ‘Carpe diem.’ Even if it kills me.” With great hesitation, Knox finally calls her. He is both surprised and happy that she is delighted to talk to him. The conversation goes very well and she invites him to a party. By mustering up the courage to call this girl, Knox proves that living by the carpe diem philosophy is better than living without it.
Another student whose life changes through the philosophy of carpe diem is Neil Perry. Neil dreams of becoming an actor. At school, Neil tries out for and receives the main role in the school play. He goes to all of the rehearsals, practices his parts, and has a real love for the play. He is totally committed to the role which is evident by his outstanding rehearsals. Unfortunately, his father will not agree to let him participate in the actual performance. His father feels that acting is not up to the standards that he has set for Neil. So, Neil becomes very frustrated and upset. He then talks to Mr. Keating who encouraged Neil to stand up to his father. He reminded Neil of carpe diem and how the philosophy can affect one’s actions. For Neil, performing in this play is a one-time deal, it’s now or never. Encouraged by carpe diem, Mr. Keating says, “You are not an indentured servant. If it's not a whim for you, you prove it to him by your conviction and your passion.” Here, Mr. Keating reminds Neil to seize the moment because he should stand up to his dad. So Neil does confront his father. Neil tells Mr. Keating that his dad, “wasn't happy. But he'll be gone at least four days. I don't think he'll make the show, but I think he'll let me stay with it.” Without the knowledge of carpe diem, Neil would not have performed in the play because he wouldn’t have the courage to stand up to his father. Neil realizes that for him to enjoy life, he needs to stand up to people. Doing what others believe is good is not always the best thing. The philosophy of carpe diem teaches people to move beyond their fears and to seize the moment.
Todd Anderson also learns about carpe diem and how his life benefits from that philosophy. On several occasions, Todd realizes the importance of carpe diem. On the first day of school, Mr. Nolan, the headmaster, says to Todd, “Mr. Anderson, you have some big shoes to fill, young man. Your brother was one of our finest.” Todd becomes intimidated by thought of having to perform up to the standards of his brother. He feels the pressure of needing to succeed in the same way as his brother. Over the course of many weeks while in Mr. Keating’s class, Todd learns how to incorporate the concept of carpe diem into his life. He learns that worrying about how well he does in relation to his brother is not really important. Because of this, he is able to
Mr. Brocato: English 117
18 December 2012
Dead Poets Society Literary Analysis
William Shakespeare once said, “Give every man thy ear, but give few thy voice.” Our voice is not simply just the sound projected from our vocal cords. Our voice is much, much more than that. Only few people are able to fully express the way they feel. Often, peoples thoughts are trapped inside their body, struggling to escape. Yet, our world still holds special people. These special people do not only express emotion, but they are able to announce their feelings so that they can make a rather significant change. In the film Dead Poets Society released in 1989, we learn that the most reserved person, Todd Anderson, grows into someone with the loudest voice. Todd walked onto the campus of Welton Academy completely lost. He had no one to turn to and no one to relate to, he was all alone. He wasn’t a party maniac or a compulsive student. Todd was stuck in the middle, feeling pressure from his brother’s success at the school but also having no distinctive personality. This school changes him forever to become one of the boldest students Welton had ever seen. Due to the teachings of Mr. Keating, it becomes evident that by the end of the movie, Todd Anderson develops from a quiet and reserved student to one who develops the loudest voice of them all.
Some people hide beneath their true identity. Their appearance disguises them from the way they feel inside. Few are able to break out of their skin, only releasing their true soul. Why can’t everyone do this? Misconceptions are what drive people to keep it all inside. Todd Anderson is in fear of the way others may judge him. Therefore, he buries himself in a world of tranquility. Todd is a follower, someone who goes along with the crowd. Finally, one class at Welton drove Todd to awaken from his shy personality. Mr. Keating, his new English teacher, put the spotlight on him and completely opened Todd up to his classmates. As Todd was asked to read his poetry to the class, he continued to hold himself back. After Mr. Keating’s encouragement, Todd still stayed resentful. One word changed him. “Yawp.” Mr. Keating instructed him to do a barbaric “yawp.” The whole entire class would watch as Todd made a rather foolish noise. This “yawp” released Todd’s inner thoughts as they spilled out of his mouth. This wise teacher raised Todd’s confidence. As Todd did the barbaric “yawp” his voice was discovered. After this event, he was capable of verbally expressing himself. Todd was transformed from the kid who’s face was tilted downwards every time a question was asked into someone who would actively raise their hand. This one “yawp” released Todd’s inner emotions and gave him a genuine voice.
In society there are leaders, and then there are followers. Only the bravest of people have the power to lead a crowd. Although, the strength of becoming a leader doesn’t come naturally to most, especially Todd Anderson who starts this book as an average boy but comes out a hero. Todd’s passion in life originates from his heart, but is then enhanced by Mr. Keating. After the suicide of Todd’s beloved friend, Neil Perry, Mr. Keating is blamed. Mr. Keating not only affected Todd, but he affected the lives of all thirty students sitting in that one classroom. They all learned how to become honest and heartfelt writers as well as people in general. When Neil’s suicide is announced all of the blame goes straight to Mr. Keating who is forced to resign from his teaching position at the school. The bond between this teacher and his students was inseparable. As a bland school day began with a new teacher the students lost their passion for literature. While the classroom was silent, Mr. Keating walked in to pick up the final pile of his things. Todd Anderson stared at him like a lost dog. Todd had no role model to look up to anymore. Todd’s helplessness killed Mr. Keating inside, but he was forced to leave. As the door creaked open, Todd “yawped.” He stood on his desk showing his admiration towards the teacher. Todd yelped the words, “ Oh captain, my captain,” in hopes that Mr. Keating would come back. One by one more boys stood on their desks leaving about five boys in their seats. As Todd led himself to stand for what was right, many people followed. Mr. Keating walked out of Welton with dignity that he changed the lives of thirty young men. Todd’s voice is strongly enhanced as he finds the strength to speak for what he believed in, but he was also able to lead a crowd. Only the strongest voices have the ability to impact others.
In the film Dead Poets Society, it became clear that the main character, Todd Anderson, found his inner voice and developed the loudest voice of all. By “yawping” in front of his w
hole class, he gained a confidence that was invincible. By standing on his desk and creating a peaceful protest for Mr. Keating to stay, he shows that he can be a leader from finding his inner voice. Todd learned that it was necessary to release his true identity for the sake of his own personality. Not only did Todd feel dignity within himself, he served dignity to Mr. Keating, the one man that discovered his voice. With the discovery of Todd’s voice he participated in many class discussions and he defended his own beliefs. The voice is very important. Mr. Keating wisely said, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
Because of this, he is able to let go of this pressure and make his own path. Another way that Todd using carpe diem is when Mr. Keating asks him to read his poem in class. However, Todd doesn’t have a poem to read. So, Mr. Keating encourages Todd to recite a poem from memory. Prior to enrolling in Mr. Keating’s class, Todd would never be able to complete this assignment. Todd makes an effort to recite the poem and work through his struggles and concerns. Through reciting his poem, Todd begins to stutters less. He is learning to open his mind and worry less. Additionally, Todd begins to see the beauty even though something bad has just happened. Once he learns about the death of his dear friend, Neil, he gives out a YAWP, indicating his ability to accept the tragedy. Stopping to stare at the snowy day, Todd says, “It’s so beautiful.” Because of carpe diem, Todd can now stop and look around at what’s going on at that moment. He can see the beautiful snowfall and appreciate that moment. He learns how to seize the day. Although Mr. Keating teaches them to enjoy life to the fullest, he also says, “Sucking the marrow out of life doesn't mean choking on the bone.” Todd learns not to push too far, but Neil didn’t learn this, which resulted in suicide. These three examples really show how Todd changed through carpe diem.
Through the characters of Knox Overstreet, Neil Perry, and Todd Anderson, the teachings of carpe diem are shown in a variety of different ways. Knox opens up his mind and realizes that it is okay to do something that he is afraid of doing. He calls a girl on the phone because he thinks that she is very beautiful. Neil also shows the philosophy of carpe diem through his actions. He stands up to his dad even though he is tremendously scared and nervous to talk to him. He seizes the right moment and makes a bold move in becoming a stronger person by being able to perform in the play that he really wants to be in. For Todd, the carpe diem philosophy is shown when he realizes that he has to live his own life and not be pressured to be like his brother. Todd also can now look at the beauty of a moment and not dwell on the upsetting thing that just happened. Mr. Keating’s teachings of carpe diem have really made a huge impact on the lives of Knox Overstreet, Neil Perry, and Todd Anderson in multiple ways.
Mini – Reflection – I think this essay worked for me because I was able to work on my transitions in the paragraphs. I also used 75% analysis and 25% plot to prove my points.
21 December 2012
Finding A Deeper Meaning
Dead Poet’s Society Literary Analysis
Fairytales and true love stories, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, all things we’ve believed in.
The positivity in our hearts was so pure. We were so sure that the blinking light from the airplane was Santa’s sleigh and so sure that we could be an astronaut or a princess if we dreamed hard enough. We were so sure until society caught up with us. All that matters now is tradition, honor, excellence, and discipline. Forget your dreams and aspirations, forget the fairytales and love stories. Everything is planned out for you already, so just do as you’re told. In the movie Dead Poet’s Society due to the controversial teaching methods of Welton professor, John Keating, the lives of two students have been altered dramatically. When our eyes are opened to the real world we realize what we actually have to live for, if anything.
A symbol of excellence and future Harvard alumni, Neil Perry is just one of many student influenced by his English teacher, Mr. Keating. After learning of a secret club, the Dead Poet’s Society, that their teacher and his friends formed to read poetry in a secret cave on campus Neil, despite the fact that it was shut down by the school starts it again. Neil is a leader and after a life that has been pre-meditated by his father, Neil is always looking for something to call his own and show what he believes in for once. Inspired by the words “Carpe, Carpe Diem, seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” that his English teacher recites to him and his class at the beginning of the school year. This philosophy, still fresh in his mind causes him to pursue an audition in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. His overbearing father unsurprisingly disapproves. Neil is not ready to give up his acting dream and after consulting Mr. Keating he finds the courage to beg for his father to allow it. Neil does the play and then goes home to a cold, unfriendly household where he is told he will attend military school. The painful yelling has finally ceased and both Neil and his mother fear Mr. Perry more than anything. After he goes to be Mrs. Perry tries to comfort him by saying “Go on. Get some sleep.” By getting some sleep, Neil commits suicide, not because of how miserable his life is, but to prevent others lives from being just as bad. He hopes that when his father looks for him the following morning and finds a smoking gun and his only son cold and motionless it will slap some sense into him. This does not happen though. His father was oblivious to the gun shot in the middle of the night, not finding Neil many hours later, just like he is oblivious to responsibility of his son’s death. Neil wasn’t looking for escape, but rather a protest.
Fumbling over his own tongue and already crumbling under the pressure that is his older brother’s reputation at The Welton School Todd Anderson is shy and reserved to say the least. He comes from great wealth and intelligence. Todd is still unsure how to maintain this reputation so he just does as told. Neil and Todd are roommates and it becomes no surprise how quiet and reserved he is. Todd is enrolled in Mr. Keating’s English class with Neil and it is not vocalized but you can tell how much Todd is fascinated and enjoys the new teaching style until he is to give an oral presentation of an original poem. Todd does not speak, not to his friends, not to his family. There is voice in there, but like the true personalities of many people in society it is hidden. Presentation day comes and Todd lies by saying he didn’t do it when really he’s terrified of what others will think of him. Standing up in front of class Todd describes a “A sweaty-toothed madman with a stare that pounds my brain, h-his hands reach out and choke me, and all the time he's mumbling... mumbling truth...truth like-like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold, Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it'll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it'll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying t-to the moment we leave dying, it'll just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream.” In just that one poem teenage insecurity, pressure, and society are summed up. Nothing in our human existence will ever be enough, not pretty enough not smart enough, the best will always need to be better and Todd recognizes how awful it can be to endure this pressure.
John Keating whispers over the amazed applause of the student “Don't you forget this” because Keating fears that as he grows old what Todd’s true self wants won’t matter anymore. Todd has found his voice until Neil’s suicide, he become silenced by the depression and pain. Keating is blamed and as he comes back to get his personal belongings Todd stan
Keating is blamed and as he comes back to get his personal belongings Todd stands on his desk. “Oh Captain, My Captain” he praises his former professor, a few other student follow against the wishes of his head master. Todd found his voice and from then on he will follow his voice and the tradition and pressure will not stop him from being a truer version of him.
We weren’t made the same as anyone else, but everyone strives to be the same ideal picture of perfection that we have created. In the movie Dead Poet’s Society due to the controversial teaching methods of Welton professor, John Keating, the lives of two students have been altered dramatically. Neil Perry and Todd Anderson face the same problem. How do you stand up to authority? Neil’s cries for help transformed into suicide because his voice was never heard. Todd’s voice has just been found. One can only wonder if in these cases suicide is always the last resort to make someone listen. What Neil did was to benefit others, not put himself out of his own misery. Todd will probably take a different route and try to help lost adolescent’s find their voice. Both are effective, but it will take more than one death and one voice found to break the tradition. There are Neil’s and Todd’s and Keating’s all over the world but so few choose to embrace it and just do as they’re told. Walking into a pristine bedroom, plaid button down pajamas and black slippers laid out on the plain blue twin bed, is like your life. It’s planned out, almost identical to another child’s plan and we will never be happy until we plan it ourselves, day by day. Be the inspired student, the one who take on a new sunrise with the words “Carpe, Carpe Diem, seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary,” engraved in your heart, unable to ever fade away.
I am proud of this essay because I thought I grasped the concept of the movie and found a deeper meaning.
(WHEN IT WAS CUT OFF I RESTARTED THE SENTENCE)
21 December 2012
Often when people are faced with a new situation, they shrink in fear. They are so afraid that they might make a mistake that they resist taking any sort of action at all. They do not want to leave their comfort zone, but they miss the wonderful opportunity of a new situation. Instead of shrinking in fear, they have the chance to “seize the day,” and rise to the occasion. While they may be initially reluctant to take a risk, they generally do not regret their decision to do so. They find themselves changed for the better and would never consider turning back to their previous fearful way of life. This concept of “carpe diem,” which is Latin for seizing the day, is demonstrated in the classic movie Dead Poets Society, by the new English teacher at Welton Academy, Mr. Keating. He convinces the protagonist, Todd Anderson, to take advantage of this opportunity to discover his inner talents and change his perspective on life. Before meeting Mr. Keating, Todd was a reserved student, trapped by the pressure to live up to the standards set by his older brother at Welton Academy. As a result of the carpe diem philosophy taught by Mr. Keating, Todd Anderson undergoes many changes throughout the movie that transform him from a reserved follower to an outgoing leader.
The viewers were first introduced to Todd Anderson at the beginning of the movie when the principal, Mr. Nolan, said to him “Mr. Anderson. You have some big shoes to fill, young man. Your brother was one of our finest.” Todd was uncertain how to respond to such a blatant comparison between his future at Welton Academy and his brother’s many accomplishments there. He mumbled in response, lacking confidence that he would be able to meet their high expectations. As a generally quiet and reserved follower, he was not accustomed to speaking up and asserting his intentions to meet or exceed his brother’s legacy. Younger siblings are often caught in the trap of following in their sibling’s footsteps, constantly being compared to their successes and accomplishments. Todd had not yet realized that he did not have to live in his brother’s shadow, but could seize his own opportunities and establish his own identity, to chart his own course for the future.
Before he embraced the philosophy of carpe diem, Todd was paralyzed by fear from one of Mr. Keating’s assignments. He was supposed to write an original poem, but he struggled to find the proper words, because he knew that he would have to recite it in front of his classmates. Mr. Keating knew that this was going to be a difficult obstacle for Todd when he noted “Mr. Anderson? Don’t think that I don’t know that this assignment scares the hell out of you, you mole.” Mr. Keating knew that Todd lacked confidence, and felt that he had nothing worthy to say. However, when Todd did not have his poem ready the next day, he required him to stand in the front of the room and bellow out a “barbaric yawp,” to overcome his fears. Todd was not particularly enthusiastic at first, but eventually gained confidence. After his initial reluctance was shattered, he was able to compose his thoughts and describe an image that impressed his classmates, to the point of clapping and cheering. The assignment originally scared Todd speechless, but by seizing the opportunity, he was able to break through this inability, which was truly impressive. This was one of the first steps, a major breakthrough, in the process of transforming Todd from a quiet follower to a strong leader.
When Todd was told that his roommate, Neil, had committed suicide rather than succumb to his father’s wishes to give up his acting career and become a doctor, he ran outside in his pajamas. He saw the snow-covered ground and said “It’s so beautiful” just before he threw up. It wasn’t that the scenery was lovely, but that Todd had realized that Neil had taken a stand for his beliefs, and chose to not live at all rather than to live a life he does not desire. Instead of retracting back inside the comfort of his quiet shell, Todd overcame his fears and acted like a leader. He ran down to the water’s edge screaming and yelling, bellowing out a true barbaric yawp. At the conclusion of the movie, when Mr. Keating was forced to leave the school because he was accused of causing Neil’s death, Todd Anderson stood on top of his desk and said “Oh Captain! My Captain!” He did this to acknowledge his respect for Mr. Keating and the important lessons he had taught them about seizing the day and making the most of their opportunities. As one after another of the students followed Todd’s lead, it was clear that Todd had transformed from a shy quiet person, unable to speak in front of his classmates, into a true leader of men
Todd Anderson undergoes many changes in the movie Dead Poets Society. He initially behaves in a relatively reserved manner, but transforms into an outgoing leader based on the philosophy of carpe diem taught by his English teacher, Mr. Keating. Even though he originally was reluctant and embarrassed to stand on the teacher’s desk, even when instructed to do so, at the end of the movie he boldly climbs up on top of the desk and professes his respect for the teacher whose efforts helped him become a person who he is comfortable being. At the start of the movie, Todd Anderson was concerned about living up to other people’s expectations, but by the end of the movie, he realized that he had to live his life by his own values and ideals.
Mini-reflection: I think that this essay worked for me because I did a pretty good job analyzing the movie Dead Poets Society.
Dead Poet Society
Reason or feeling?
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences,”
Imagination was the one thing that could overpower reason and uncover the hidden truths behind aspirations of a young student. The young boys at Welton Academy started to live the life described by the quote above only after the inspirational Mr. Keating came into their lives. Before Mr. Keating arrived, Welton Academy enforced the principles of the school’s four pillars; honor, tradition, excellence, and discipline. In the movie, Dead Poet Society, Robin Williams played the role of John Keating. Keating had a different outlook on life that he passed along, very convincingly, to his students. It was summed up my the Latin phrase “Carpe diem.” By allowing this philosophy of “Carpe diem” to smolder in the student’s minds and hearts, Mr. Keating allows the romantic ideas to flow and then drown out the more realistic and frankly boring philosophy that was so entrenched at Welton Academy.
Welton Academy exuded tradition. The Academy dress code, the gothic campus, the ivy covered brick, the wrinkled and frail professors. At Welton, the boys knew exactly what they had in store for them as they walked through the doors of their school with the first pillar of tradition just staring at them. One class after another was a blur for Charlie Dalton, Todd Anderson, Neil Perry and Knox Ovestreet. Then they walked through the doors of Mr. Keating’s classroom. Early on, he gathers them around a photo of an old graduating class. Mr. Keating whispers, “If you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? Carp… Hear it? …Carpe, carpe diem. Seize the day boys. Make your life extraordinary.” This made the boys think. They thought about Welton’s traditions. Was it all really nonsense? It made them think that there might be more to them then what people tell them to write or to do, they just need to find it. They need to find themselves.
Carpe Diem became the philosophy that gradually took over the boys of Welton Academy. Carpe diem impacted some of the students slower than others. With Todd Anderson it took awhile. Finally Mr. Keating left Todd no choice but to seize the day when he demanded for a barbaric yawp in front of the whole class. Todd Anderson had his own traditions to live up to; every day he walked through the halls of the same school where his older brother was valedictorian. Todd’s roommate and friend Neil Perry, became the unofficial president of the Dead poet’s society, forming an informal club initially organized to share literature but soon became so much more. Discussions of literature gave way to discussions of life, which then became actions. They realize Carpe Diem could be real to them. It is true that literature captures the underlying beauty and truth of the life but imagination allowed them to live life. According to Mr. Keating, “boys you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it all.” To live a lifestyle of a realist, you come to a point where you are faced with limits and that is the end.
Not just in literature but also in life, there is an ongoing battle between realists vs. romantics. The boys took Mr. Keating’s words literally when he said, “this is a battle, a war, and the casualties might be your hearts and souls.” In this case, the opponents became the Welton Academy administrators. These school leaders symbolized the heartless realists that believe in reason over feeling, who would burn imagination into ashes if it were flammable. Romantics will be the ones that take over the world.
As the boy’s romantic fantasies began to interfere with real life, tragedy struck. Neill Perry committed suicide. The boy’s hero, the inspiration of their year, Mr. Keating, was held for responsible for this terrible turn of events. Much of the blame was placed on the dead poet’s society, which was the only place at the school, when they felt comfortable. The parents and administrators saw the society in a very different light. These adults didn’t understand Carpe diem, they saw it as negative and believed it was leading to the boy’s downfall. In fact, it was just the opposite. That didn’t matter because Mr. Keating was dismissed from Welton Academy. As Mr. Keating walks out of his classroom, silence takes over the boys. Defeat hung over Mr. Keating and the boys; it appeared that this way of thinking, carpe diem, was killed by Welton Academy. The school had indeed won the battle. However he thought wrong, the war was not over yet. Todd Anderson jumped on his desk and stood proudly as he called
out “Oh captain my captain!” Slowly, one by one, each of Mr. Keating’s students rose to the top of their desks and repeated the words “Oh captain my captain!” At first the headmaster saw this as another act of rebellion but he quickly realized it was much more than that. This was a teacher who actually reached his students more than anyone ever had before. Carpe diem was powerful and true. The headmaster finally realized he lost to the romantics and he will continue losing because rationalism is a tradition whose time has passed.
Welton’s theory of tradition, honor, discipline, and excellence or as Neil, Charlie, Knox and more called it “Travesty. Horror. Decadence. Excrement.” was replaced with “Carpe diem.” Mr. Keating introduced Welton’s students to themselves; he let them find their own voice and allowed them to speak out. The imagination, the underlying beauty, the truth, the powerful emotion, the individual feelings, and the wild nature overpowered the reason, the boring intellect, the blind acceptance of tradition, and the dull repetition of Welton’s uninspiring curriculum. A glorious teacher was lost and a great friend was gone, the tide was turned. The white flag of the realists was raised; the romantics had won the battle.
December 21, 2012
Tradition. Honor. Excellence. Discipline. Over and over these words are being pounded into the minds of the young men. Doing anything and everything they can so that they can please their parents and teachers. They live a life where they are unable to make a decision, and where everything is decided for them. They are unable to make the decisions that they want to. The boys at Welton Academy have no voice or say in what their life has in store for them. In the movie “Dead Poet Society” directed by Peter Weir, the new teacher Mr. Keating gives the young men a new way to go about their life. The idea of “Carpe Diem” stirs in the mind of the young men. They take chances, rebel, and some are finally able to find themselves. Mr. Keating’s teachings leave Knox, Neil, and Todd longing to chase after their dreams, even when it’s not what they are expected to do.
As the students walked into the classroom, they weren’t expecting to have a lesson that would changed the student’s outlook on life. All of the boys were fascinated by the philosophy of Mr. Keating. The ideas of carpe diem simmer in the minds of the young men, until they act upon it. As Knox was thinking about Carpe diem, his mind kept bringing him back to a girl. One day prior to Knox’s first class with Mr. Keating, he met a girl, Chris, who he instantly fell in love with. Knox easily took the idea and used it to help him to take a risk. The idea of carpe diem led Knox to gain the courage to call Chris. Knox, was not the best talker when it came to girls, so the fact that he called her and was able to get invited to a party with her, shows how much he went for it and truly “seized the day”. Keatings philosophies lit a spark inside of Knox. Knox was a very modest kid who kept to himself. All that was needed was a seed to be planted into his mind. Knox lived a lifestyle where he only listened to authority, and rebellion never crossed his mind. Mr. Keating came along and gave Knox a different way to live his life. He now has a different perspective of life and will take risks, with the help from Mr. Keating.
All of the students that were enrolled into Mr. Keatings class were affected, but most of all Neill Perry was affected the most. Neill had a strict father who told him what he was going to do and who he was going to be. Neil with the enforcement of his father had expectations to fill that he didn’t want. His father wanted him to become a doctor, but Neill wanted to live a life of imagination. Neil Perry states “For the first time in my whole life, I know what I want to do! And for the first time, I’m going to do it! Whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe diem!” All he wanted to do was have his own voice. Mr. Perry was using his son to fulfill his dreams and aspirations in life. Mr. Keatings teachings of carpe diem caused Neil to rebel against his father and participated in the play, “Midsummer Night's Dream.” Neil thought he was finally able to fulfill his own dreams but then he saw his father’s infuriated face in the audience. Neil knew that he could never escape his father’s forced expectations. Mr. Perry’s harsh principles led to a tragedy. Neil Perry committed suicide because there was no escape of the life his father planned for him.
Barbaric yawp. This was the first sign of Todd Anderson taking Mr. Keating’s philosophy of Carpe diem into action. Todd was a very shy young man, with a stutter. He was hidden by the shadow of his valedictorian brother. Carpe diem took a longer time to effect Todd then the other boys of Welton Academy because he was like an onion that desperately needed to be peeled. Mr. Keating peeled Todd Anderson’s layers to the core. The Welton administrators believed that Mr. Keating’s carpe diem perspective was negatively effecting the boys of the Academy, he was dismissed as a professor. As Mr. Keating was walking out his previous classroom observing the headmaster of Welton take over his curriculum and never mentioning the words “Carpe diem” again he felt Welton’s harsh traditions taking over his beloved students. All of a sudden Todd Anderson rose to the top of his desk and shouted the words “Oh captain my captain!” to Mr. Keating. Eventually all of the other students joined Todd in unison. Todd Anderson did not lose sight of “Carpe diem” and he will keep the lesson throughout his entire life.
Mr. Keating was able to go into a school that had a harsh philosophy of reason, and share his perspective of life with the young men at the Academy. Mr. Keating impacted the students greatly at the Academy because they had never been allowed to truly find themselves. Carpe diem will always be a part of the boys life because they were ab
Mr. Keating was able to go into a school that had a harsh philosophy of reason, and share his perspective of life with the young men at the Academy. Mr. Keating impacted the students greatly at the Academy because they had never been allowed to truly find themselves. Carpe diem will always be a part of the boys life because they were able to finally find their voice. Neill Perry passed away with thoughts of Carpe diem and the defeat of his father. Todd Anderson found his voice because of Mr. Keating’s inspiration. Knox Ovesteen got the girl because he seized the day. Mr. Keating not only changed the ways of Welton Academy, he changed the lives of the students at the Academy. In one’s life a Mr. Keating figure is always needed to push oneself to find their voice and seize the day.
21 December 2012
Literary Analysis: Dead Poets Society
Tradition, honor, discipline, and excellence. These are the four pillars at Welton Academy. Is this really how you should live life? Living life by doing the same routine everyday and having to follow strict rules is not a way to live. Teenaged boys should be able to have freedom to think whatever they want and freedom of making their own choices. In the movie, Dead Poets Society, directed by Peter Weir, the boys that attend Welton Academy have the pressure to be perfect young men that always follow the rules and have to stick to a stern routine. Mr. Keating, the new poetry teacher teaches the boys to take chances. In Dead Poets Society, Mr. Keating’s philosophy of carpe diem transformed the characters of Knox, Todd, and Neil from quiet Realists to outgoing Romantics.
Know Overstreet, a shy and respectful young man soon turns into an eager and rebellious boy. In the very beginning of the school year, Knox would always abide by the rules and took any chances. This was mainly because Welton placed lots of pressure on the boys to be perfect. Knox never wanted to risk getting in trouble. He was afraid that his parents and teachers would be mad at him. Knox also doesn’t want to ruin his reputation. He was afraid of the consequences, which results from the strict rules set on him. Things soon changed when Knox was invited to eat dinner at the Danburrys house one evening. The Danburrys were good friends of Knox’s parents. As soon as Knox walked into their house, their daughter, Kris, caught his eye. Knox claims he fell in love as soon as he set his eyes on her. Knox fell in love with her because she was a gorgeous blonde girl with beaming blue eyes. Her kind and warm presence captured Knox. After seeing Kris, Knox returns to Welton as a different person. Love, which is one little thing, changes everything. Once you catch it, you can’t escape. Falling in love with someone changes everything. Kris changed Knox’s emotions. He became a more sensitive, yet more excited young man. Love certainly leads Knox to take riskier actions. A couple days after he saw Kris, Knox’s friends encouraged him to call her up. Knox was very nervous about calling her, and he thought it was a bad idea. He finally called her, and she invited him to a party. The only catch was that she had a boyfriend. Knox took the huge risk of going to the party and chancing getting beat up by her boyfriend. In the beginning of the school year, Knox never would have done all this. Knox once states, “She’s gonna hate me. The Danburrys will hate me. My parents will kill me. All right, god damn it. “Carpe diem.” Even if it kills me.” Knox says this when he doesn’t want to take a risk for Kris. Learning from Mr. Keating’s philosophy of carpe diem really inspired Knox to “seize the day” and not take time for granted. Carpe diem taught Knox to take chances with love. Carpe diem taught Knox how to step out of his comfort zone to do different things.
Todd Anderson is another important character that is influenced by carpe diem. “Mr. Anderson, you have some big shoes to fill,” the headmaster of Welton Academy said to Todd as soon as he met him. His brother was top of his class when he went to Welton. Todd was not like him though. Todd was a shy young man who soon becomes an outgoing person, resulting from the influence of Mr. Keating’s philosophy, carpe diem. With the help of his friend, Neil, Todd learns how to “seize the day.” Todd was raised right behind his older brother. He was expected to be the best from his parents. Todd wanted to be who he wanted to be. In Mr. Keating’s class, Todd was asked to read one of his poems. He read it, but he was very discreet when speaking and he didn’t contain enough emotion. Mr. Keating made him do a “barbaric yawp.” He made him scream very loud. Although Todd was not comfortable with this, he did it and he felt very successful after. He had faced his fear of talking in front of the whole class. Throughout the movie, Todd turns into a boy that used to never speak, to a young man that “seizes the day,” such as when he expressed his emotions about Neil’s death. Mr. Keating also boosted Todd’s confidence throughout the movie. Carpe diem motivated Todd to become more outgoing and to do more powerful things with his life.
Neil Perry was a significant character that was affected the most by the philosophy of carpe diem. His dad, Mr. Perry, operated Neil’s life. Neil had no say in what he did or what he wanted to do. He never had the choice, his father did. His father is very manipulative. Neil wasn’t even free to say what he wanted around his dad. He was finally free to think when he entered Mr. Keating’s classroom on the first day of his school year at Wel
Welton Academy. During the first class, Mr. Keating says, “My class you will learn to think for yourselves again.” Mr. Keating knows that all the boys attending the school are controlled by the rules and pressure put upon him because he went to Welton Academy. Mr. Keating was the one who pushed Neil to try out for the play, “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” Inspired by carpe diem, Neil decides to try out for the play as he states, “For the first time in my life I know what I want to do.” Neil had never had the freedom to have a choice. He wanted to “seize the day,” so he tried out for the play and got the main part of Puck. Neil found what he loved, and that was acting. He was a whole different person on stage and he adored that. Carpe diem inspired Neil to take chances try out for the play.
Mr. Keating’s philosophy of carpe diem influenced the boys of his poetry class to “seize the day.” Especially the characters of Knox Overstreet, Todd Anderson, and Neil Perry were affected by this important philosophy. From young men who couldn’t think for their selves to outgoing Romantics who knew how to live life to the fullest, these boys escaped the doom of Welton Academy. The doom of Welton Academy is of having the pressure to be perfect, to be honors students, and to be all-star athletes. These characters escaped this and learned to speak and think for themselves, thanks to Mr. Keating’s philosophy of carpe diem. These boys learned the true meaning of life, and most importantly how to seize the day.
20 December 2012
Working on eliminating weak sentences
The human race is like a piece of coal. When put under pressure, we can either strengthen or collapse. However, even when we are crushed together to form the diamonds others admire, it is worth no true value. We are making ourselves into something that means more to others instead of ourselves. It should be the opposite. The true dazzling diamond is created when the diamond itself is worth more to yourself than others. We, as the human race, can relate much of our everyday pressure to that of the characters in the movie Dead Poets Society by Peter Weir. Three young men, already use to the harsh and strict ways of Welton Academy gets introduced to the new English teacher, Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating, being a former student of Welton Academy, realizes that the rigorous learning and exams are of no use to the students if they are not free-thinkers. As he forces his students to do activities completely out of their normal routine learning experience, he is slowly releasing the idea of "Carpe Diem" to them. As the movie progresses, three boys, Knox Overstreet, Neil Perry, and Todd Anderson undergo significant changes due to Mr. Keating and his teachings of carpe diem.
Falling in love is something people cannot control. Standing on the front porch of the Danberry's house, Knox Overstreet becomes mesmerized as the girl he describes as "golden" opens the door. As his mind falls blank to the girl of his dreams, there is nothing else he is willing to do except chase after her. From that moment on, nothing else matters to him except Chris, the girl he cares for so much. Clearly being affected by Mr. Keating's teaching's of Carpe Diem, Knox rushes back into the school, breathless from meeting Chris, and shares his experience with his group of friends. Breaking the rules of Welton Academy, he rides his bike just to glance at her during a cheerleader practice. At their Dead Poets Society meeting, he states, "I can't take it anymore. If I don't have Chris, I'm gonna kill myself." As Knox stands at the payphone surrounded by his friends and ready to call Chris, thoughts of Mr. Keating's teachings reverberates throughout his head. "Carpe. Carpe Diem. Seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary," Mr. Keating had said. Knox is seizing the day by calling Chris and he is making his life as extraordinary as it could be. By disobeying his parents, even after those years of strict teachings of the school, carpe diem worked out well for him, giving him the ultimate chance to tell Chris his actual feelings towards her.
Neil Perry, on the other hand, wasn't as lucky. Beginning with the argument between Neil and his father about his extracurricular activities, Neil has a tiny rebellious side and he argues, but immediately backs down when his father commands him. As Mr. Keating continues filling Neil's mind with the ideas of carpe diem, he reaches a point in which he shouts to Todd, "and for the first time I'm gonna do it whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe Diem!" At the end of the play, Neil being the main character Puck, states the series of lines, "If you pardon, we will mend/We will make amends ere long/Give me your hands, if we be friends/And Robin shall restore amends." Strangely these few lines stated by Neil was not only for the purpose of playing the role, but they also has a double meaning directed towards his father. These words mean more to him than anything. He is trying to tell his father this is what he loves and wants more than anything else in the world. However, as Neil gets rushed back to his home, plopped down on the chair, and yelled at by his father asking him, "What? What? Tell me how you feel. What is it?" The seconds speeding by in silence only diminishes his chances to pour out his feelings. Replying with an almost inaudible "Nothing," Neil has given up on his dreams and decides to end his miserable life by suicide. He is using his own death to notify the other parents out there to let their children "seize the day" and go after their dreams. Neil has definitely been affected by Mr. Keating's teachings to drive him to the point where if he didn't get the chance to seize the day or do what he desires, he would rather die.
The biggest change of all occurs with Todd Anderson. Todd is like an onion, filled with many layers of uncertainty but a strong center. "You have some big shoes to fill, young man. Your brother was one of our finest." Without even a greeting, this is the first statement made by Mr. Nolan to Todd. Todd, shy and fearful, could only respond with an uncertain, "Thank you." The first day after Mr. Keating's class, Todd scribbles onto a sheet of paper, "CARPE DIEM," looks at it for a second, crumpled it up, and went on to Chemistry homework. The idea of "seizing the day" has not affected Todd as much right at the beginning of the movie. However, the Yawp during Mr. Keating's class peeled away a
layer of Todd's uncertainty. Todd's imagination of truth as a blanket that will always leave your feet cold portrays the feelings Todd is going through. Truth is realism, and Todd describes truth as, "a blanket that when stretched and pushed, it will never be enough and will cover your faces until you wail and cry and scream." He is slowly understanding the difference between Romanticism and Realism. As the movie progresses on, Todd receives a Christmas gift from his parents. However, the gift was a desk set, the exact replica of the one he got last year. As Neil persuades him to throw the present off the side of the walkway, he humorously reassures Todd, " I wouldn't worry. You'll get another one next year." Todd is opening himself up to Neil and is able to express his feelings and share them with Neil. In the end of the movie, Todd becomes a completely different person, releasing the biggest Yawp and feelings after Neil's death and seizing the moment to stand on his desk and strongly pronounce to Mr. Keating as he leaves, "Oh captain, my captain." Throughout the whole movie, Mr. Keating's teachings of carpe diem's impacted Todd and changed his entire personality.
In the movie Dead Poets Society, all three characters have been put under major amounts of pressure and crushed together to form diamonds. However, what sets them apart from others is their willingness to seize the day and do what they want or love. All three of them have the inspiration to make themselves worth more to themselves instead of others. Knox disregards the consequences of his family and friends for someone he loves, Neil ignores the commands of his father, and Todd rebelled against his parents by tossing their Christmas gift away. As Mr. Keating stated, "The Dead Poets Society was dedicated to sucking the marrow out of life." and being members of the Dead Poets Society, all three characters have "sucked the marrow out of life without choking on the bone." They have molded themselves into the dazzling diamond that means so much more to themselves than others.
Mini Reflection: This essay was very interesting to write! There were a couple of parts that took a long time to think about how to write the structure. Other than that, it was pretty easy!
21 December 2012
Todd in the Shadows
It is hard enough to work to excel past your own personal limits, but to rise up to or even proceed beyond the accomplishments of another is by far the most difficult. Especially when the man you must live up to is Todd Anderson’s brother. In the movie The Dead Poets Society, the new student Todd Anderson enrolls in a very strict, religious school for boys called Welton. He is a very reserved teenaged boy, and he seems to have lost his voice. Throughout the movie fellow friends and a very special teacher allow Todd to begin to find himself and let his voice be heard. Todd is very quiet in the start of the film but as it progresses the audience may see how he changes and goes through different phases, losing and gaining his voice.
In just the first five minutes of the film, there is a ceremony of some sort. It was the day that the parents say goodbye to their young men and leave them in Welton’s hands. The headmaster met Todd Anderson for the first time and he greeted him, welcoming Todd to Welton Academy and commenting on how great Todd’s older brother was and how he expected great things from Todd. Todd Anderson barely even looked into the headmasters eyes. This shows how insecure he really is at this point in the story and that he doesn’t feel he has the authority or even the quality in himself to look right into this old man eyes. Todd
doesn’t have the confidence he feels he should being the Anderson he is and that he will disappoint so he doesn’t want this man to see through him. Todd kept his head to the ground and mumbles something in auditable as a reply. Not only is Todd not finding confidence in himself but he’s got nothing at all in his voice. He feels that inside of him is nothing worthy to be seen nor heard so why should he project it?
Todd has stuff inside of him. He definitely has a special voice to be heard just pounding and dying to burst out inside of his lungs but Todd is not allowing it to flow out. He’s choking and won’t let it be heard. Until Mr.Keating makes him yawp. Barbarically. In front of the class Todd lets his voice finally be heard and they appreciate it.
Todd continues to progress throughout the story and starts to talk more and more. It isn’t until Neil is said to be dead that he starts to close up more. He stops talking and conforms with everyone else again. Just doing what they want him to do.
Honors English 117
Why do we stay alive? What makes us want to get up every morning and to keep doing what needs to be done? The first thing that people will say is money, power and fame. This is not the case; we think that these things are what we love the things that are important. In the movie the Dead’s poet society Mr.Keating taught the students that life is not about money or power but about love and beauty. The reason we wake up every morning is not to make money even though some people do it is because we want to be loved hear poetry and let it drip from out tongues like honey.
Todd, Neil, and Knox all embrace the words of their teacher and start to realize that there is more to life than just tradition. They did not need to be forced into something they did not want to do and their teacher showed them the way. The ideas where in their heads but they were too scared to go against their parents rule and do anything about it.
Neil was the person who wanted to get more out of life then what his parents had intended for him. He wanted to be an actor but father thought that a lawyer was far more appropriate. He thought that an actor was just a waste of time. What his father did not realize is that Neil did want more in life he did not want to grow up and merely like the bone of life no he wants to suck the morrow out of life. He went out of this world with carpe diem on his lips and hope in his heart. He had hoped his father would understand that Neil was not like him he could not be a cold heartless lawyer but had to go out into the world and see what was out there.
Knox was also open to the teachings but in a different way. He did not need to be in plays or stand up to his father. No, he was searching for a girl. Not just any girl but the love of his life. His teacher would make him more confident in his ways that he would even walk into her school and give her a poem that he had written. No man can do that after getting beat up by her boyfriend, but he did. He had been taught all his life to move on forget to be afraid to do that. But he did not want to he wanted to give it a try. He did he made her come back to him; see came and saw him instead. Amazing what one action will do to change your life, this is what Mr. Keating wanted him to learn.
In the case of Todd he had a lot further to go then all the rest of the students. The first time he came he was meek, scared and wondering how to survive. Mr. Keating soon brought carpe diem into his life and change started. Todd wanted so desperately to get out of his brothers shadow and be his own person but he had been forced into this situation that he was not ready for. He goes in several stages from very timid barely speaking to standing up for the man he calls his captain. Neil is the kid who takes him under his wing; he shows that other students are not that bad. Then his teacher starts talking and preaching carpe diem. This interest Todd and really wants to believe in it but he is not ready or he feels that he is not ready still too afraid of it.
We then start to see him open up with his barbaric yalp, he had never done something like this before and showed him that things are worth the risk. he started to really progress after this, he still would not read aloud but the stuttering really improved. The moment when he through his desk set off the bridge really announced his change, he was no more this scared kid but a rebel to his parents. Mr. Keating inspired him to seize the day and take control. At the end of the movie he alone lets out a barbaric yalp and he alone stands up to the teachers that squandered the true meaning of life and what it was all about.
We are influenced by people our entire life he really don't have control over what was going to happen to us or what we do. In the movie the dead's poet society the boys at Welton prep school where taught four pillars nothing in those pillars wanted them to think on their own. This was introduced by M. Keating he wanted them to live full lives to see the meaning of life. Not just what some man wants them to do but what they want to do. We all have that one person who inspires us to do better to these students it was Mr. Keating, he taught them what life should be not what we think it is.
12 December 2012
Dead Poet’s Society Literary Analysis
“Seize the day” are the words that evince those who never regret. These are the people who don’t believe in the militaristic ways of life, but in turn believe in following one’s own heart. The lesson of “Seizing the Day” teaches one to live in the moment and to question oneself, “Am I fulfilling every minute and every second of life?” One finds answers to such questions by looking within the human body and finding one’s defining moments of life. These moments determine who you are as a human being. In the movie Dead Poets Society, new English teacher Mr. Keating at the “military-like” Welton Academy teaches his students the true meaning of Carpe Diem. Most of all the students follow Mr. Keating’s philosophy, “I always thought the idea of education was to learn to think for yourself.” One character especially, Neil Perry, embraces his philosophy to follow his own heart with the dream of becoming an actor. However, Neil’s father wants him to become a doctor and graduate at Harvard because he wants his son to have the opportunity he never had. Neil continuously disobeys his parents countlessly because of his hatred towards the strict decisions of his father. The militaristic ways of Mr. Perry ultimately drives his son to take his own life.
The first scene with Neil Perry and his father shows his father’s strict and demanding ambitions for his son. In this scene, Mr. Perry comes up to Neil’s room, to the surprise of all the students present, and tells him that he is involved in too many extracurricular activities. Mr. Perry has decided to have him forcefully dropped out of his position of being assistant editorship of the school annual. It is very clear from this scene that Mr. Perry is obstinate about Neil's progress towards a future that only, his father, envisions for him. Neil, in this scene, shows obedience to his father and “sucks up” to him which is referred to by his friends. This scene also reveals the different ideal plans for what Neil wants to do with his life. Neil’s father wants his son to live the life that he never had the opportunity to. In contrast, Neil wants to live life to the moment in which he envisions for himself, and not his father’s. Neil Perry tries to be disobedient to his father but finds that his father is to “military-like” to stand up to.
In the next scene between Mr. Keating and Neil Perry shows the influence of Carpe Diem to the ability to change Neil’s life differed from the views of his father. During one of the classes, Mr. Keating preaches, “Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all.” Neil has a hard time finding his voice when expressing his passion for acting to his father. Neil’s father wants his son to have nothing to do with acting but instead follow the ambitions he has set for him. Mr. Keating expresses to Neil that, “you’re not an indentured servant” and must prove to his father through conviction and passion to let him keep acting and following his own intended dreams. Mr. Keating finds the wrongness in the traditional-ways in which the other teachers teach at Welton. Mr. Keating differs from all the others by teaching to live in the moment and to live without the restraints of others. Many believe that by Mr. Keating’s teachings lead Neil to kill himself, but however the harsh rulings and decisions of Neil’s father ultimately drives his son to take his own life.
In the final scene between Neil Perry and his father shows how Mr. Perry is taking over his son’s life for the believed betterment of his future. Following the ride home from Neil’s performance in a Midsummer’s Night Dream both Neil and his father openly discuss Neil’s refusal towards his father’s ambitions for his son. Neil’s father immediately says, “Tomorrow I'm withdrawing you from Welton and enrolling you in Braighton Military School. You're going to Harvard, and you're going be a doctor.” Neil is furious and frustrated with his father’s immediate decisions because Neil has a totally different idea of what he wants to do with his life then his father does. Neil has great hopes of becoming an actor and doesn’t have the supporting approval of his father. Neil has been told by everybody he knows from Mr. Keating to all of his friends at Welton that he is a great actor, but none of which these supporting comments came from his father. Neil knows he is good at acting and can’t forgive his father’s decision to stop him from acting, “I was good. I was really good.” This quote is the first time in the movie where we see Neil would rather choose death over his
Mr.Brocato - English 117
21 December 2012
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A crowded room was once vacant. The walls once vibrated with an unearthly silence and the floors once were concealed by a compact layer of dust. The air reeked of desolation, an aroma only conspicuous to those with keen senses. One by one, people crowd the vacancy, filling every empty void, creating a cluster out of isolation. For Todd Anderson was once a vacant room - forcibly filled with lifeless air, breathing tradition, honor, discipline, and excellence. He was once the typical Welton Academy for Boys student, tweaked and metamorphosed, molded and structured, contoured and processed, into ivy league material. Yet, soon enough, Todd’s vacant room gradually began to fill, one person after another filling the hollow, for Todd was missing the essence of life. People such as Mr.Keating and Neil Perry influenced Todd, feeding him the words carpe diem, meaning seize the day, nourishing his bones and strengthening his muscles, making Todd human rather than a robotic youth. Such words as “Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary” filled Todd’s belly and kindled his tastebuds. Soon enough, Todd begins progressing, a metamorphose from lifeless to lively. In the movie, Dead Poets Society, Todd Anderson distends from a reserved youth to an agile young man due to the astounding influence of carpe diem.
In the beginning, Todd was a caterpillar. Wiggling around, desperately trying to fit into his own skin. Pressing himself to move at such a hasty pace, while his body could only move so slowly. The constant influences of his brother’s successes restrained Todd from peeling his own skin simply because he conceives “that everything inside of him is worthless and embarrassing.” Therefore Todd remained trapped inside this abstract aspect of perfection, focusing more on filling the big shoes of his brother than filling his own shoes. This is reflected in Todd’s persona. Todd appears to be a timid, bashful youth for Todd never speaks, - he mumbles, his voice unheard by others and by himself. His eyes always flickering downward instead of making eye contact with his peer in conversation. For example, in the scene where Mr.Keating pressures Todd to belt a “barbaric yawp”, Todd is reluctant at first, sighing and pouting as Mr.Keating constantly pleads him. When Todd finally does, his yawp is rather sluggish, as Mr.Keating relates it to that of a mouse. Todd had little to no confidence, for he believed that he was incapable of fulfilling the high standards his brother had set. When Todd first arrived at the academy everyone referred to him as “Jeffrey Anderson’s little brother” rather than Todd Anderson, his rightful name. It was evident that this bothered Todd, making him nervous for the outcome of the next couple of years, fearing the constant comparisons and the hefty requirements. Todd did not believe in his capabilities, he barely believed he had capabilities. This is where Todd’s self-confidence issues rooted, for he didn’t feel he was good enough. Yet, with the constant banter from his teacher, Todd’s confidence leisurely grew. His yawp grew louder and louder into a barbaric yawp rather than a faint yawp. For Todd would soon learn the real meaning behind the complexity of carpe diem.
Towards the end, Todd became a butterfly. He adjusted himself into a cocoon, only to eradicate from the endless layers of silk, revealing the alluring wings he had recently developed. Then, Todd flew away, flaunting his wings as he soared through the brisk air, feeling a sense of freedom as he did so. Todd had an epiphany, realizing he was better off filling his own shoes rather than his brother’s. Then Todd accomplished the eminent barbaric yawp, sounding it “over the roofs of the world” when he found out about Neil’s suicide. Not only that, Todd composed an original poem in front of his English class, he destroyed his birthday present, and he was the first to stand up to the tyrannic rule of the Welton Academy of Boy’s headmaster. He stood on top of his desk, feet planted on what otherwise would be used to place books upon, and beckoned Mr.Keating, calling him by his nickname, “O Captain, my Captain.” This audacious and heroic act marked the development of Todd’s confidence. A cowardly Todd soon became a courageous Todd. Transferring a mumble into a barbaric yawp, awkward conversation into bold conversation, and no confidence to a rather high self-esteem. This all came from the teachings of carpe diem, seize the day. All his actions stemmed from this philosophy, for it was etched into his brain. He flips through his notebook and sketches the words “carpe diem” in bold font across the page, exemplifying how it appears as “bold font” in his own mind. For Todd was once a me
ek youth whom feared livelihood, yet as the teachings of carpe diem impinged upon Todd, he freed himself from the jagged grasp of structured society.
By the end, the vacant room was crowded. The walls vibrated with a hullabaloo of lively energy and the floors were imprinted with footprints of varying sizes. The air smelled of vivacity, an aroma only conspicuous to those with keen senses, yet more pleasing of an aroma then desolation. One by one, more people entered the crowded room until it was filled absolutely to the brim, creating a friendly gathering out of an otherwise claustrophobic space. For Todd Anderson is a crowded room - pleasingly filled with lively air, breathing “Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”
father’s ambitions for him. In the middle of the night Mr. Perry is awoken by the familiar sound of his gun. Eventually, both Mr. and Mrs. Perry find Neil dead in his father’s office which eventually sounds off the whaling cries of Mrs. Perry. Mr. Perry automatically shuts up his wife getting back to the militaristic ways of his envisioned life style. Mr. Perry had loved his son very much; however the strict decisions he had enforced drove his son to his own death because of the differed visions of life after Welton.
December 21, 2012
Dead Poets Society- Literary Analysis
More analysis, less plot
Humans are always questioning. Questioning their existence, questioning their decisions, questioning their way of life… Why am I here? Why am I alive? What am I alive for? Should we follow the path of Romantics and live for “passion, beauty, romance and love” or should we trust the decisions of those Realists above us-forcing us to become doctors, lawyers, or bankers. Romantic or Realist? Dreamer or Cynic? The same question haunts the young boys attending Welton Academy, in the powerful, inspiring movie Dead Poets Society. Their parents, teachers and principals have already decided their lives for them. They are to become smart, powerful men who will make their families proud. These boys have no say in the matter. They have never had a say in the matter of their futures. Until, of course, they meet the man who changes everything. John Keating, a proud follower of Romanticism philosophies, introduces the boys at “Hellton” to a different way of thinking, of living. These young men have been restrained their whole lives, and John Keating is the man setting them free. The cynical and overwhelmingly traditionalist attitude of the Realists surrounding the boys of Welton Academy has made them lose their unique voices and only with the help of Romantic John Keating can they break free from the restricting paths laid for them.
We all have certain expectations following us. Parents expect us to achieve all of our (and their) dreams. Teachers expect us to succeed in all of our work. Friends expect us to be there for them no matter what. All of these expectations seem daunting and over time begin weighing down on our shoulders. It is in human nature to crave affection and attention- essentially, we all want to please others and earn their compliments. This intense need for acceptance and respect can make us scared, almost paralyzed with fear. What if I can’t do it? What if I let them all down? This is especially true for Todd Anderson, who doesn't speak up out of fear of saying the wrong thing. The moment we meet Todd, he is a painfully shy, anxious and almost wary boy. He is scared of the expectations placed on him. This is proved in the scene where he meets the Headmaster of Welton Academy. The very first thing the Headmaster says to him is “ You've got some big shoes to fill, boy. Your brother was one of our best.” He has spent his life living in the shadow of his older brother. His parents don’t pay attention to him. Him receiving the same desk set as the year before from his parents proves this point. He has been condemned to repeat his brother’s life. He is expected to meet the achievements of his sibling and possibly overcome them. What if he fails? What if he disappoints? What if he can’t? However, new English teacher John Keating can see right through him. Keating notices Todd’s lack of voice, his lack of presence and challenges it. As he exits his classroom after assigning the students to write and read to the class an original poem, he cheerfully says: “(…) And Mr. Anderson? Don’t think I don’t know this assignment terrifies you”. Then, as Todd refuses to read his poetry, saying he didn't write it, Keating challenges him yet again. He makes Todd give a ‘barbaric yawp’ and tells him to share his thoughts on the picture of an old man hanging above the classroom’s chalkboard. Todd, closing his eyes, describes the ‘swiney-toothed madman’ and the ‘truth that covers your face like a blanket’ with the prompting of Mr. Keating. This is the first time we see Todd truly express himself and see him begin to come out of his shell.
Along with Todd Anderson, Neil Perry is one of the students most influenced by Keating’s teachings. Neil is one of the most restrained boys we see. His father has a set plan for him and refuses to stray off of it, no matter how much it pains his son. He takes Neil out of the school newspaper as he considered it unimportant and justified the action by saying it interfered with Neil’s studies. He even uses Neil’s mother as a tool, forcing Neil to work harder and forget about the extra-curricular activities he is involved in and then telling him “You’re making your mother proud.” Neil has always been thought of as excellent. He is the excellent student, son and friend, which is why the banner of excellence fits him so well, almost ironically so, in the ceremony at Welton Academy. He has diligently followed his father’s instructions all of his life. He has never decided for himself and has had to forget about his dreams of acting. However, Mr. Keating introduces him to a different life, a life where he ‘seizes the day’ and follows his dream, his passion. Neil tries out for the play of &ldqu
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Neil tries out for the play of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and lands the leading role. He doesn’t tell his father, despite Todd’s warnings, and follows his heart. For once, he is happy. Truly and completely happy. He is good at what he does and he wants to spend the rest of his life on this path he has only just set foot on. But then, his father comes and disheartens him. Although he tells Neil to “Tell him what he wants” he completely shoots down Neil’s dream of acting. After years of following orders, Neil makes a huge decision all by himself: he’s going to take the greatest revenge on his father by taking his own life. The moment Neil decides this is bittersweet. His mother tries to comfort him, unsuccessfully. He tells himself “I was good” but we can hear his silent statement: If my father would have let me continue acting, I could have been better. Neil enters his father’s ‘perfect’ and orderly study and commits suicide. Although Neil’s death was intended to make his father realize the wrongness of his actions, it only serves to make him blame the Romantic thoughts and philosophies being taught to Neil by Mr. Keating. It is completely true that if Neil hadn’t met Mr. Keating, he would still be living and breathing. However, he wouldn’t be alive. As Keating said: “The Human Race is filled with passion. Medicine, Law, Business… now these are all noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life, but poetry, beauty, romance, love… These are what we stay alive for.” If Neil couldn’t follow his passion for acting, then he couldn’t consider himself alive.
The boys in Mr. Keating’s English class discover a different way to live: one that includes seizing the day and following their dreams. Everything they want to do, whether it be act, ask out a beautiful girl or speak their mind without being compared to someone else, they gather the courage to do so because of him. In Mr. Keating’s classroom, these boys learned to think for themselves. In the secret meetings of the Dead Poets Society, they learned to follow their hearts and ‘suck the marrow out of life’. All of their lives, they’ve had to do what was expected of them, the ‘right and proper’ thing to do. With the help and guidance of John Keating, a copy of “Five Centuries of Verse” and the motto of Carpe Diem, the young men of Welton Academy finally break free of the Realist restraints placed on them and escape into a world of beautiful, almost magical writing where they are free to learn more about themselves and the world they live in.
16 December 2012
Carpe Diem Sentence Fluency, Sentence Complexity
“I don’t believe in hell, but I believe in my parent’s couch.” To the members of the Dead Poets Society ( a club created in the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society) earning money by being some heartless, tedious lawyer is just as much as a torching abyss of fear as pocketing loose change from the cushions in the basement couch. Knox Overstreet, Neil Perry, and Todd Anderson capture the idea of Carpe Diem, hearing the faint whispers of the fertilizers of daffodils, murmuring “carpe diem. Seize the day boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” These intelligent scholars are obligated by their parents to become uninteresting, egocentric lawyers, the boy’s exact idea of hell. They don’t have the freedom to make their lives extraordinary, but when “carpe diem” is introduced, they finally seize the day, living their lives with a sense of exemption. Carpe diem influences Knox, Neil, and Todd to take risks and follow their dreams, not their parents’ dreams. Knox, Neil, and Todd robustly live by Carpe diem, and are aware that “medicine , law, and banking are necessary in order to sustain life. But poetry, romance, love, beauty? These are what we stay alive for!” When Mr. Keating introduces the philosophy of carpe diem, the students that most ardently live by this aphorism are Knox, Neil, and Todd, all of them interdicting the idea of tradition from their lives, and seeking to seize the day.
Knox Overstreet, as well as the other students at Whelton, firmly followed after the idea of tradition, but when carpe diem is introduced by Mr.Keating, Knox begins to hatch out of his Whelton-enforced shell and seize the day, being one of the Whelton students that lives by this quote the most fervently. Once Knox is acquainted with carpe diem he is introduced to freedom, and free-will, developing a sense of adventure in his life, rather than focusing on materialistic objects. Chris, a young woman familiarized with Knox, is constantly running through Knox’s mind, although he never has the courage to spend time with his “true love.” Once “carpe diem” is whispered into his apprehensive ears, Knox comes to the realization that he must seize the day, and construct the audacity to ask Chris on a date. After being terrified to call his love, carpe diem influences Knox finally lets the phone ring, anxiously prepared to hear the voice of the blonde-haired teenager. Calling this female he was once afraid to communicate with was lengthy stepping stone in Knox’s ability to take risks, and live an interesting life. At the party, Knox is encouraged to drink alcohol, an activity he has never participated in, but when asked, he shrugs his shoulders and gulps down the liquor. This is because of the idea of carpe diem, where he unquestionably takes a risk, something he would have never done without this introduction to freedom and a life of thrill. Knox decides to take a more daring approach on life, one in which he will be satisfied with when looking back on it, rather than dying with a full bucket-list. Knox later spots Chris asleep on the couch and kneels at her side. The thoughts of Carpe Diem race through his mind, whispers of “make your lives extraordinary” pouncing on his brain as Knox plants a kiss on Chris’s unconscious forehead, with no fear of being spotted by Chris’s boyfriend and his posse. Knox would have never dared to kiss this teenager with her boyfriend only feet away,without these thoughts of seizing the day. He knew that ignoring this opportunity would be a regret so large that it would be engraved on his tombstone. After being threatened to be killed by the angered boyfriend, Knox still makes another attempt to win the love of Chris, because Knox feels as though he will become that worthless dead body rotting in the ground if he never earns Chris’s love. Living by carpe diem, Knox courageously leaves the campus and goes to Chris’s school, where he reads her a love poem in front of her class, something he would have never imagined himself performing without the assistance of Mr.Keating and his philosophies. This final intrepid attempt wins the love of Chris, in which carpe diem saved Knox from a life of regrets, and produced a life of adventures, Knox being one of the students most expressing this viewpoint on life.
Neil Perry, a scholar that could be described as the leader of the Dead Poets, had strictly lead the life of his father’s expectations, and not personal ambitions. That is, until carpe diem is introduced to Neil by Mr.Keating, and Neil begins to live by carpe diem more spiritedly than most students, deciding to make the decisions that will make his life as gratifying as possible, rather than the torturous life his father had planned for him to live. Neil revives the Dead Po
ets Society, encouraging the students to take the risk of leaving the school campus and express their passions for literature and arts. This was more than just a club about reading poetry, but a sense of freedom and individualism for the students, chiefly Neil. The club Neil created gave Knox and Todd as well as himself a new point of view on life, relieving stress and expectations, making their lives dauntless, and freeing themselves from the pit of endless expectancy that they’re trying to escape. Neil decides to express his passion for acting, going against his father’s will to participate in the school play, something he’s been aching to do. After the introduction of carpe diem, Neil, unlike most Welton students, isn’t afraid to go against the rules of his father and Welton and make his life extraordinary. Neil tries his best to avoid the tedious work he must complete for ten years and lives his life as enthusiastically as if it would end tomorrow, keeping the thought of carpe diem in the back of his mind. This is represented when he performs as Puck more robustly than any other student, not acting as if he were reading words of a script but as if the words were encapsulated in his soul. The Dead Poets Society, Mr.Keating, and carpe diem ignite Neil to live by these few, but meaningful words, living his life in the moment, and not focusing on the laborious life his father and Welton has planned for him in the future.
“Oh Captain my Captain,” Todd Anderson acquiescently yelps from the top of his desk, demonstrating the true meaning of carpe diem, before Mr.Keating, his classmates, and the school’s dean, proving that he has blossomed into one of the students at Welton that most diligently lives by carpe diem. Todd Anderson once was a shy student, only attempting to live up to his brother’s success and live by his parents’ strict rules, but by being introduced to carpe diem he made decisions that evolved him into the bold individual he’s become. Todd, more petrified to public speak than become a meaningless patch of fertilizer, is forced by Mr.Keating to give a barbaric “YAWP” in the class, diminishing his fear of public speaking and openly expressing his thoughts, sharing a passionate poem to the class as well. Carpe diem as well as Todd’s classmates influence him to express his individual thoughts and alter from his brother’s shadow and live his own path towards life. Todd hauls his gift from his parents over the roof, something he would have never done without the influence of Neil, Mr.Keating and carpe diem. This symbolizes Todd moving from the trail in which his parents and the principle of Welton expect him to live his life, but creating his own decisions and showing no fear in demonstrating his personal opinions. This analyzation is depicted in the final scene of the Dead Poets Society, in which Mr.Keating is exiting the room, fired from his teaching job after being blamed for the suicide of Neil Perry, when Todd shrieks, “It wasn’t his fault,” at the teacher, yawping directly from his heart. This belief resulted in Todd leading a group of students to honor the teacher that changed their lives. Todd now will take on Neil’s former role as the leader of the Dead Poets Society because of carpe diem.
After the admittance of “carpe diem” from Mr.Keating, the students that most fervently live by this aphorism are Knox, Neil, and Todd, all of them eliminating the thought of tradition from their lives, and making it their goal to seize the day. The three young men gradually abolish the tradition that tied them to their desks and live their own lives of adventure and extra ordinance. Carpe diem motivates these student to avoid the trench of boringness that is hell, and find their heaven, because soon, when they die and become a meaningless fertilizer for flowers, their lives may be regretted. This new philosophy on life teaches them that tradition is just a term that compensates for the fear of discovering freedom and passion. Unlike the other manipulated students of Welton plummeting into a chasm of fear, Knox, Neil , and Todd are searching everyday for their heaven.
18 December 2012
Working on more analysis
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” (Mahatma Ghandi). Life is too short to not follow your dreams and take chances. Each and every day of one’s life should be used to its full potential. For some people, it’s difficult to seize the day and truly live in the moment. In the 1989 film known as Dead Poets Society, Honor, Excellence, Discipline, and most importantly Tradition play a large role on the daily lives of each student attending Welton Academy. These four pillars are the only things of value at the well- bread and gallant prep school, where dreams are not followed, expectations are created, and tradition is never shattered. Although the highly educated students at this prestigious school may seem to be living flawless and orderly lives, there is one important matter they are all lacking. These intelligent students are trapped in this perfect and scholarly society, that they are not enjoying and embracing the fragile lives that they are lucky to obtain. Instead of “seizing the day,” following their dreams, and taking risks in life, these boys act as though they are puppets on strings, their every move is controlled by their parents. The parents of these intelligent young men dictate their every move and don’t allow them to follow their dreams. When a new teacher, Mr. Keating, at Welton Academy, steps into the picture, the students finally begin to express themselves in new ways. Mr. Keating’s teachings of carpe diem aid a few of the main characters to pursue their dreams, to trigger their “rebellious sides”, and to break tradition. Mr. Keating’s strongly impacts the lives of main characters, Neil and Todd by teaching them to “seize the day” and live in the moment.
Neil Perry’s family has had his entire life planned out for him since day one. From Welton, to Harvard, to Medical school, the journey never ends. Neil simply acts as a robot controlled by his parents who decree his every move. They think they are doing the best for their son in the long run, but are they really? Sure, they might be providing him with amazing opportunities that they never had, but is the future they have dictated for him what Neil himself really wants? The answer is no, Neil has been completing his parents many demands his whole life and lacks the confidence to stick up to them. Neil’s relationship with his father is simply a case of misunderstanding and little communication. Neil’s father doesn’t seem to comprehend the amount of pressure he has placed on his son, his expectations are almost too high and he realizes this when it’s too late. Neil simply does as his father says without arguing or questioning. But when Mr. Keating introduces Neil to a new toy called “free thinking”, he wants to take it for a test drive. He finds that what his parents have decided for him in life really isn’t the route he wants to go down at all. Neil states, “He’s planning the rest of my life for me, and he never asked me what I wanted.” This quote resembles that Neil is aware of how controlling his father is, but can’t find the courage inside himself to stand up to him. Neil discovers that he has a hidden talent of acting, and because of Keating’s teachings of carpe diem, he wants to try acting out and live in the moment. When Neil pursues his acting career, he originally keeps it a secret from his family for many reasons. Firstly, he knows that this hobby of his is not approved by his parents and never will be, and is afraid to face his father’s wrath and tell him how he truly feels, so he simply keeps it to himself. After Neil’s father figures out he is playing Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, he dictates that Neil must quit right away and that if he attends the play there will be major consequences. Because of Mr. Keating’s influence of carpe diem, Neil decides to follow his dreams and breaks tradition by attending the play. Unfortunately, Neil’s father gets extremely frustrated by Neil’s actions which further leads to Neil’s suicide. Neil never exactly met the kind and nurturing side of his father, he only knew the demanding and controlling authority figure that pestered him about school work. By committing suicide, he felt as though he could finally prove to his dictator-like father that he could control his life too and did have the courage to stand up to him after all. He also committed to attempt to stick up for his friends, and prove to their parents that raising their kids orderly and dictating their every move is unjust. But was Neil’s suicide taking it too far? As Keating once said, “sucking the marrow out of life doesn’t mean chocking on the bone.” With Mr. Keating
With Mr. Keating’s teachings, comes great responsibility. One has to know when enough is enough.
As Todd Anderson patrols down the rigid cobblestone path to Welton Academy’s entrance, he most likely is thinking that his heart is going to leap out of his chest at any given moment. Todd carries a large burden of pressure, for his older sibling was “one of Welton’s finest” as stated by the head master. Todd is already timid, hesitant, and unsure of himself as it is, and with the pressure of having to live up to his older brother’s reputation hovering above him, adjusting to the school’s environment seems to be even more difficult. With the help of Mr. Keating and his teachings of carpe diem, Todd is slowly able to loosen up a bit and find his voice which has been buried deep inside him for the longest time. At the beginning of Todd’s transformation, he is presented as a man of few words who can never seem to state what he is feeling and thinking on the inside into words. His worst fear is that he has no meaning in society, and that it would be simply easy for others to go on without him, which is partly why he always has a loss for words and constantly stutters. One of Keating’s first lessons which helps Todd progress to further find his voice is when Todd faces his fear by ejecting a barbaric YALP front and center during class. Mr. Keating knows that Todd has a voice hidden beneath his shy exterior and wants him to reveal this to his classmates so he pushes him to express his voice to the class and to share his thoughts aloud. Although Todd is very much embarrassed to commit the act, he is able to gain confidence in himself and emit to his fellow students that he really is a person, who has a presence. He is able to show the other students a side of him they have never seen before. This first stage of Todd’s transformation allows him to find a factor of his voice which aids him to develop friends at Welton. For example, Neil Perry begins to become very close with Todd and also takes the role as one of his mentors. Later on in the film, Todd feels in a separate world when his parents send him a desk set for his birthday for the second year in a row. Using Mr. Keating’s teachings of free thinking, he discovers that he truly feels disconnected with his family and begins to question if his own parents, or if anyone for that matter, knows who he really is on the inside. Throughout Todd’s whole life he has been expected to do well in school, expected to follow in his brothers footsteps, and expected to become successful. But is an education all that matters to his parents? He wonders if they know anything about him that doesn’t have to do with school. In this moment of rage, Neil encourages Todd to loosen up and throw his new desk set over the side of a bridge, allowing it to disappear forever in the darkness. When Todd completes this, it reflects the blossoming of his new “rebellious side” which is triggered by Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating’s teachings are the opposite of tradition. By completing activities in class such as ripping pages from books, doing hands on learning, and discussing the true meaning of life, Todd is able to find a daring and rebellious side of himself that he never knew existed. Before Mr. Keating’s teachings, Todd would have simply never completed such an act due to the structure and order his parents enforce on him. After Todd disposes of his desk set, he feels superior and powerful because for the first time in his life, he has stood up to authority and has completed a daring and intolerable act. A final memorable scene in the film which is also an important piece of Todd’s transformation is when Todd stands up for Mr. Keating. After Neil’s death, Mr. Keating is forced to exit Welton due to the fact that the Neil’s father leads everyone to believing that Keating’s teachings provoked the death of his son. As Mr. Keating gathers his belongings from the classroom, Todd stands on his desk in front of the head master and his classmates and shouts, “O captain my captain!” This was a nickname Keating had requested the students call him. This can almost be considered Todd’s final stage of development, portraying that Todd has finally conquered his timidity and is willing to stand up to authority no matter what the cost. It is simple to see that because of Keating’s influential teachings of carpe diem, Todd Anderson is able to find his voice, gain happiness in life, stand up for himself, and most importantly discover that he is a human being that matters and affects society after all.
There were many different levels of restraint in the boys at the prestigious Welton Academy. By teaching these orderly and proper students how to trigger their rebellious sides, shatter tradition, and live in the moment, many lives w
, many lives were changed for the better. The lives of Todd Anderson and Neil Perry were especially impacted by Mr. Keating’s teachings and philosophies. With his guidance and expressed philosophy to seize the day, Todd gained self-respect and was able to procure his voice. Todd was also capable of bursting out of his shell and desperately needed Keating’s teachings the most out of all the students. And as for Neil, he discovered how to stick up for himself in life, and to pursue his own hopes and dreams. Most importantly, these boys were at a state of peace because of the influence of carpe diem. Although Neil Perry took his life, he must have done it to benefit himself in some way, so if that’s how he gained happiness then so be it. As Mr. Keating once said, “Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”
Mr. Brocato- English 117
21 December 2012
Literary Analysis: Dead Poets Society
More Analysis, Less Plot
We all have parents who want us to grow up and live in the footsteps of an older sibling or even someone else in the family. The pressure can be overbearing to most people but for other victims, it is virtually impossible to go on with. Different people try to aid and coax the victim through, but in some cases it works in the opposite way. It adds to the pressure his or her parents have bestowed on them, and they begin to presume there is no way out. These unfortunate people come to the conclusion that taking their own life is the only answer left but in reality, it never is. Yes, they may still have the constant bickering from your parents on how they could do better with their lives if they just follow in the footsteps of whoever, but there are always ways to push that drone aside and “do your own thing”. In the movie Dead Poets Society, Neil Perry is fighting to strive for the excellence his father had placed upon him but combined with the teachings of Mr. Keeting, the pressure had pushed him over the edge. He was bombarded with orders and commands by his father, but confusion then followed when Mr. Keeting introduced his foreign style of teaching to Welton.
Neil Perry’s actions that he took part in and was placed on him all ended up in his sudden suicide. The main cause of his death was his own father. He serves as the roll of the typical father who wants their child to do great things. The only problem was that this military general father pushed his limits to the extreme. He was using his son almost as a puppet, trying to make Neil do all the things that he wasn’t successful at when he was around his age. For example, towards the beginning of the book, his father makes a statement saying, “your mother would be proud”. The reason he uses the mother in conversation is because he is trying to seem less intimidating by using a more gentle figure, such as a mother. By using this technique, Mr. Perry tried to seem more on Neil’s eye level, acting less dominant. Having said the word “mother”, it made Neil feel more obligated to strive at Welton school, knowing that his own mother would be proud if he did. The picture in Mr. Perry’s office is another way of showing how much he wants his son to become successful. The image is a family photo, but Neil is placed in front of his mother and father instead of the three of them evenly aligned. This means he is set off to Welton to do whatever he pleases, as long as there is some parental guidance from his father. Having almost no parental supervision can be a plus for most students there, but sometimes it can lead to more problems and difficulties. When Neil confronted with his father saying he was going to play as Puck in the Midsummer Night’s Dream play at Welton, Mr. Perry was furious. Following the guidelines he had placed in front of his son was what he was supposed to follow by. These guidelines included being top of the class and having a very successful and high-paying job, not being an actor in a William Shakespeare play. Shortly after was when Neil started to realize he couldn’t endure the pressure and obligations he had to fulfill. When he was taken home, the lengthy speech given by his father about his career choices was enough. During this scene, the camera angle shots played a major role in putting the audience in the eyes of the victim. Each shot that was taken of Mr. Perry was taken from the ground looking up. Making the camera angle from the bottom makes the person being pictured is more powerful and dominant, that people should obey him. In the other hand, the camera was always facing downward onto Neil, signifying him caving in from the more larger, dominant figure. Once the father left, Mrs. Perry finally approached her son, kneeling down so her eyes were level with his, along with the camera. This specific shot shows that the mother’s authority in the household is limited, almost as much as her own son. Just as Neil’s mother left, a sly grin slid across his face, like he had found the answers to everything. Neil Perry wanted to do what he wanted to achieve and make him live his version of a successful life, but people were holding him back.There was only one way to end his pain and suffering from his father, and the answer was taking his own life.
If the pressure from Neil Perry’s own father wasn’t enough, a new teacher at Welton had to make it worse in his position. Mr. Keeting was a new literary teacher at the school bringing a new style and flare of learning with him, instead of the straight, textbook way of learning literature. He thrived on the saying “Carpe Diem” or “seize the day”. But what did this all mean to Neil as he went on with his school days? It was interpreted in his eyes that everyday is
controlled by you. Only you can decide what you can do each and every day, and no one can tell you otherwise. It was interpreted in his eyes that his father didn’t need much of a say in the activities that went on in Welton; he didn’t need much of a say when he wanted to join the school drama class. Mr. Keeting taught his class that not everything needs to be relied on a textbook or what other experienced people say. Individuality was the key to good literature and poetry but at the same time it all has to lead to rhythm. This can lead to the class in the courtyard, teaching the students about rhythm. Not a single book or old wise sayings was used to create the lesson, nothing but the students themselves. Each student there had their own step, their own rhythm, but it molded together into one solid march. Even before they all became accustomed to his form of teachings, every young man knew Mr. Keeting was not an average adult. Most people in society would consider ripping out pages in a large textbook vandalism. This teacher considered it not following the general standards of literature: going off in your own direction. Another example is Mr. Keeting explaining to them about confidence when speaking. Instead of finding a topic every week to write about and then present it in class, he wanted to use a form of teaching that most young men those ages would react to. He mixed in a few lines from a poem or play and made each student read aloud their lines with confidence and good audio. If the speech was successful, they were able to kick a soccer ball, the activity many boys at Welton wanted to do but couldn’t. Neil Perry took Mr. Keeting’s style of teaching and carpe diem to live his life at Welton, but he easily got confused between this style of living and the strict way of living from his father.
The movie Dead Poets Society showed many different morals and lessons through the duration of the video, but Neil Perry’s struggle was one that stood out. Many people are caught in the reality of his or her parents putting the way they wanted to succeed into the hands of their child, when they can’t do anything with that succession. People will try to help these innocent victims, but it can really change everything about that person. The kind gesture can turn around and make things worse, such as committing suicide, like Neil Perry had to do to end his suffering.
21 December 2012
Mr. Brocato- English 117
I Can Hear the Bells
What would Star Wars be without the imperial march? Would it still be as good without the groans of Chewbacca and the beeps and chirps of R2-D2? No. What would bands like The Beatles or Steely Dan be without music? They would just be a bunch of people doing drugs. Humans have succeeded as a species because of communication, though talking and sound. Sound has been a crucial part of life, however it is often overlooked. Sounds are a large part of the movie The Dead Poet Society, directed by peter Weir. The use of sounds throughout the movie, specifically ominous noises played at the original meeting of the dead poet society and at the end of the movie, the howling wind during the suicide scene, and the bagpipe music all help to help create and add to the intended tone of the movie.
When most people think of sneaking music, mission impossible comes to mind, it’s full of staccatos, and it’s easy to sing. But, when ones sneaking out do they want to jump around, and hide behind corners, or do they want to flow like shadows into a sea of darkness. In the movie the 7 members of the dead poet society wear wearing dark flowing cloaks, going into an unknown place, so it is only fitting for the music to match. The ominous music is goes up and down with half steps, so the music flows very well. The tones are set in a minor key, which also adds to the mystery and intrigue. During this portion of the movie there is no speaking, which allows for the music to be emphasized. Throughout various society meetings there is different music, such as Newanda (Charlie Dalton) bringing a saxophone to play at a meeting. The ominous tones and noises happen on the way to the first meeting, and right at the end of the movie, bringing things a little more full circle.
Neil realizes that a life that is not his own is not worth living so he commits suicide. During the scene the sounds of howling wind are played, even when he was inside. Wind comes from outside, and all life comes from nature. During the scene Neil is stripped down to very little clothes. The natural wind sounds help the viewer to feel like they are outside. The wind also had some icy undertones, which made the viewer feel the edginess of the scene. The sounds of the cold wind create the illusion that Neil is cold. When things get cold they freeze. Coldness helps one gain a feeling of sharpness and clarity, which is necessary before taking one’s own life. Guns also work by creating a very small explosion, which is very hot. The wind, coldness, and cinematography in this scene create immense amounts of tension, which is crucial before such a large and important event.
No instrument can really capture the sound and feel of a bagpipe, except for a bagpipe. It has a special tone that is unmatched, and it has a special regal air to it. No one can argue with a man playing a bagpipe and wearing a full kilt. For this reason it was played at the beginning of the film. When the four pillars were brought down, the bagpipe music was being played, demanding attention and respect. The fact that bagpipes were playing shows how much the school values their pillars of Tradition, Honor, Excellence, and Discipline. The bagpipe’s regal flare also impresses parents that at the opening. Schools like Welton put more effort into making the paying parents feel special than they put into making the students succeed. In another scene in the movie there is a lone bagpipe player playing the song “Fields of Athenry” on a pier. The song is about a man who is starving in the Irish potato famine. He breaks into a store to get one ear of corn so his children don’t starve. He got caught, and now he is being sent to prison in Australia. The song is extremely appropriate for the movie, and has a very symbolic meaning. One of the lines of the song is, “Nothing matters Mary when you’re free. Against the famine and the crown I rebelled, they caught me down. Now you must raise our child with dignity.” This line can be an allegory for the entire movie. “Nothing matters Mary when you’re free,” shows how it’s worth taking risks and doing thing that might not be right to become free of whatever is oppressing you. For many characters in the movie their parents were oppressing them, and becoming free of that grasp was worth risking everything. The line, “Against the famine and the crown I rebelled, they caught me down,” can symbolize Neil’s journey throughout the movie. Against the famine shows how it was hard to do and Neil had trouble going against the tradition that was so deeply instilled in him. Going against “the crown” in this case can symbolize how Neil went against his father’s wishes by performing in the play. “I rebelled, they shot me down,” perfectly symbolizes how Neil, and the other members
No instrument can really capture the sound and feel of a bagpipe, except for a bagpipe. It has a special tone that is unmatched, and it has a special regal air to it. No one can argue with a man playing a bagpipe and wearing a full kilt. For this reason it was played at the beginning of the film. When the four pillars were brought down, the bagpipe music was being played, demanding attention and respect. The fact that bagpipes were playing shows how much the school values their pillars of Tradition, Honor, Excellence, and Discipline. The bagpipe’s regal flare also impresses parents that at the opening. Schools like Welton put more effort into making the paying parents feel special than they put into making the students succeed. In another scene in the movie there is a lone bagpipe player playing the song “Fields of Athenry” on a pier. The song is about a man who is starving in the Irish potato famine. He breaks into a store to get one loaf of bread so his children don’t starve. He got caught, and now he is being sent to prison in Australia. The song is extremely appropriate for the movie, and has a very symbolic meaning. One of the lines of the song is, “Nothing matters Mary when you’re free. Against the famine and the crown I rebelled, they caught me down. Now you must raise our child with dignity.” This line can be an allegory for the entire movie. “Nothing matters Mary when you’re free,” shows how it’s worth taking risks and doing thing that might not be right to become free of whatever is oppressing you. For many characters in the movie their parents were oppressing them, and becoming free of that grasp was worth risking everything. The line, “Against the famine and the crown I rebelled, they caught me down,” can symbolize Neil’s journey throughout the movie. Against the famine shows how it was hard to do and Neil had trouble going against the tradition that was so deeply instilled in him. Going against “the crown” in this case can symbolize how Neil went against his father’s wishes by performing in the play. “I rebelled, they shot me down,” perfectly symbolizes how Neil, and the other members of the dead poet society took risks, some of which didn’t pay off. The line “Now you must raise our child with dignity” shows how the members of the dead poet society have to deal with the decisions they made, and they must also cope with Neil’s death. The bagpipes and they songs played by bagpipes in the song significantly add to the effect and tone of the movie.
To wrap everything up, it is shown how music is a vital part of the movie. The music and sounds set the tone, emphasize points, symbolize events, and do much more. All of the music in the movie was handpicked for specific reasons. The song “Fields of Athenry,” though not radially recognizable has huge significance in the movie, as it can be considered an allegory for the entire thing. The Ominous tones played at the beginning of the first dead poet society meeting, the howling wind during the suicide scene, and the bagpipe music are all specific sounds that all help to help create and add to the intended tone of the movie. What would The Dead Poet Society be without bagpipes?
This essay worked for me. I love music, and the music in the movie had a profound impact on my feelings towards the movie, so I thought it would be a good topic to write about.
21 December 2012
Working on Voice and Analyzation
Everything has a limit. We can all push something to a certain extent until it can't give anymore, and it just breaks. We don't always know why it breaks, but it has to at some point. Most things in life crumble up and we wonder what happened. Why is it that we take advantage of the things that matter the most and suddenly start worrying when it begins to crumble? Some keep quiet about things and let it all out when things crumble. No matter what, it's too late. The limit is pushed too far for it to all come back. This applies in "Dead Poets Society" directed by Peter Weir, in many different situations of the movie. School boys take on an old tradition their poetry teacher, Mr. Keating, used to take part in, reading poetry after school with all the other boys even though it has been forbidden at that school since Mr. Keating attended Welton. Neil Perry wants to spark the idea of the dead poets society for the boys at the school again, even though it is now against school rules. Neil has lived a controlled life by his father, telling him everything he will do in life. Neil isn't allowed to do anything he wants, only what pleases his father. Another character, Todd Anderson, is a quiet boy, expected to have the same success at Welton as his brother did several years prior. Everyone pushes these boys, out of love, but failing to acknowledge the fact that they can't handle this pressure. Todd can't even speak in the beginning of the movie as he lives in fear of far too many things in life. Neil is the outgoing high school boy who wants to make a difference, influence his life and others around him. Mr. Keating says, "We don't read and write petty because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are all noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. The powerful play goes on and on you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?" Todd struggles to find his verse, and what he will contribute to the world, but his verse is written over time, and is finalized at the death of Neil Perry. After Neil Perry kills himself, Todd takes his place in a way, gaining his voice to stand up for himself and everyone at the Welton School at the end of the film.
Todd Anderson, the new, shy boy who rooms with Neil perry, the academically outstanding confident boy. Two complete opposites, put into one room, into the same situation of waking up every morning to follow the same pattern at school striving to achieve excellence, honor, discipline, and tradition. Excellence is the trait Neil holds at the assembly, as he is the definition of excellence, though his father always pushes for more. Tradition, these boys live by tradition, live the same routine every single day of their lives because it is what they are taught to do. They are told that they must follow the four pillars of their school in order to achieve anything in life. This is wrong. Yes, of course, they can have these traits and succeed, but there is much more to that. The four pillars represent what realists believe, which is living by the book. When Mr. Keating comes along, he teaches the boys in his poetry class about romantics, and how life can be much simpler when you forget about all the standards you are told to live up to. Todd Anderson walks into the Welton school, knowing he must "fill the shoes" of his brother, who was successful years ago at the same school. Todd has a lot to live up to, and he doesn't seem up for the challenge when he just mumbles and is at a loss for words when the professor talks about his brother. Todd has no voice, both figuratively and literally. He sits in his bedroom and does his work without saying a word to anyone. He participates with the other boys because he feels obligated to, but doesn't feel as if he fits in. Todd is a bit of a loner, but he is really just trying to get through school one step at a time and is afraid to step on anyone's feet along the way. Todd doesn't necessarily take advantage of Mr. Keating's teachings until he realizes the true meaning of it later on in the film, as he must experience in, remembering his teacher saying "Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary." He refuses to do so because he doesn't want to get out of the tradition and routine he has been living his whole life. Eventually everything falls into place, though.
Todd, like many other people in the world, avoids situations in which he will have to overcome his fears. He fears facing his fears, and plans on never doing so because he knows he can avoid them. One person that understands Todd and knows what he must do to take him out of his comfort zone is Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating assigned his class to write a poem. Todd had worked
Todd had worked hard on several poems, throwing them out until he found the perfect one. When his teacher asked the students to read theirs out loud the next day, Todd acted as if he had never written one, just so he didn't have to speak in front of his classmates. Mr. Keating knew him and other people a lot like him too well to just let that slide. He brought Todd up in front of the classroom and made him do a "barbaric yawp" if you will, and he must close his eyes and suddenly pour out all of his thoughts based on a picture on the wall in the classroom to overcome his fear of getting disrespected. He thinks people don't want to hear what he has to say, so he just says nothing at all. Todd is a representation of the fear of not being perfect, and the fear of not being respected by every single person. He doesn't realize that none of that matters, he should do what he wants. He is only aware of the realist side of things, not the romantic side where he should do and believe what he wants. Something that stands out and seems to be pointed towards Todd, said by Mr. Keating, is, "You must strive to find your own voice because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are going to find it at all." Todd listens to this, but he only takes action with it later on. Todd also is very well-understood by Neil, his roommate, who is always encouraging him to join in on everything and make himself heard. As much as Todd would love to, he just doesn't think he can do that. He is so used to conformity and following all the rules to be successful. He can't go off track, because he is crushed by the pressure of becoming just like his older brother to achieve academically. On Todd's birthday, he got the same thing he got last year, and was pretty disappointed. Neil threw it from high above the ground, breaking it. Todd was shocked, but excited that he knew he could confide in someone who understood him. they are both pushed to their limits by their parents and they can no longer take it, especially Neil. Todd feels as if he should act the same towards his parents' actions because not speaking up won't get him anywhere in life. He learned how to stand up for what he believes in from Neil Perry. When Mr. Keating and Neil force him to get out of his comfort zone and live without fear, he is one step closer to gaining his voice.
Only days after Todd finally finds himself perfectly content with what he is doing with his life, and living for the moment, seizing the day, things come crashing down like a broken wall of bricks. Neil fails to hold the weight of the pressure from his parents any longer. Neil wanted to act, and that could not happen as long as he was Mr. Perry's son. Neil tried as hard as he could to speak to his father about what he loved to do, and that was acting. Neil had perfect grades and was the poster child, the teenage boy every mother wanted their son to be like. His father stood in the way of his dreams, forcing him out of his desires. Neil killed himself at his parents' house in the middle of the night in his fathers office, knowing how awful his father would feel for forcing him to be the man he could never amount to. Neil did this for everyone who felt this pressure, to show the consequences of controlling parents, and to get rid of the pressure built on him forever. When his friends found out, Todd completely lost it. He was just at the point of having a voice and being confident in what he does, and his friend who taught him all of this was gone forever. Todd wouldn't believe it, he knew the cause of his death. He never said anything to anyone because he never thought it would get to the point of suicide. Todd felt awful when he realized he could've said something, but even if he did, it wouldn't have stopped Mr. Perry from continuing to force his son into this lifestyle. Todd starts crying and fumbling around in the snow outside, not being able to talk again, back to square one. This shows how Neil kept him somewhat stable while he was alive. Todd ran off to let it all out, scream at the top of his lungs because he was the one person who knew who the reason for Neil's suicide was, Mr. Perry. He had discussed it with Neil. When the school officials had found out through Neil's parents, Mr. Keating was blamed for the death. The school believed the parents, and fired the new poetry teacher that all the students loved. When Mr. Keating came to get his personal belongings in the classroom, Todd protested to keep his teacher instead of the headmaster, because he was another main reason for the person he became. He was the first student to stand on his desk, which is forbidden in such a disciplined school, or at any school, as he said, "Oh captain, my captain." Todd was representing the people who stand up for what they believe in, no matter what the consequences. Mr. Keating once told them, "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” Todd changed everything for the
Todd changed everything for these boys, and knew it would make Neil happy, too. The rest of the class joined him and Todd finally found his voice. He was the leader. He became Neil Perry, the honorable man who did what he thought was right and what he believed in, not just what was expected. Todd essentially became a replacement of Neil after he died, taking after him, doing what he would've done if he hadn't killed himself. Todd finally became the person he's always feared becoming, not because he didn't like that type of person, because he was too scared to take on such a big role.
After everything that happened, Todd ended up filling the shoes of Neil Perry and the type of person they both wanted him to be. Todd took Neil's place in some sort, standing up for what he believed in, becoming a romantic after all those years of being brought up by realism and going against the “norm.” Todd lived in fear of never becoming as great as his brother, but he ended up being even better. Neil became vulnerable and couldn't cope with the pressure anymore, becoming small like Todd was in the beginning. In some ways, they almost switched places and characteristics. Todd's "verse" is finally heard, standing up for himself and everyone else that deserves it. He was a bit shaky at first, but his voice was heard as time went on and he built the confidence. When his old roommate, Neil Perry, kills himself, Todd finally gets his voice and stands up for what he believes in and what he thinks he can change, becoming a mirroring figure of Neil at the end of the film.
I think this essay worked for me. I enjoyed the film, which made writing and analyzing much easier and more enjoyable.
Marc Brocato - Honors English 117
Literary Analysis of Neil Perry
December 20th, 2012
Really Analyze Works and Find What I Believe to be True.
The light shines on a stage and a masked man steps onto the stage. His movements are controlled with long strings by a man standing above him. His mask has a smile, but underneath he’s boiling with turmoil, it hides his true intentions, and without it he is naked. That masked man is Neil and the controller is his father. In the movie, Dead Poet Society, directed by Peter Weir, the new English teacher Mr. Keaton teaches the kids the philosophy of "Carpe Diem". One of his students, Neil Perry, goes beyond just understanding what the philosophies entail and his life changes around it. He alters completely throughout the story, from being an actor of his father's views into an overwhelmed romantic. Underneath all of his layers is his true self waiting to burst free. Neil's life flips drastically from the philosophy of "Carpe Diem" when he applies it to his life. He learns to find what he really wants and to stand up for it, until his passions overwhelmed him, causing him to take his own life.
Once they've hit enough, the philosophy of Carpe Diem eventually strips away all of Neil's layers and reveals his true desires. He wants to be an actor. More than anything in the world, he wants to be an actor. Far more than the doctor Neil's father wants him to become. He can't see himself doing that, to him ten more years in school is a prison sentence. "For the first time in my whole life, I know what I wanna do! And for the first time, I'm gonna do it! Whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe diem!" (Neil Perry). Acting is everything to him, but he knows his dad won't let him, so he defies him. He goes against everything his dad has ever taught him and forges an approval letter to let him be the main character in the play. He knows his father won't allow it but wants to so bad he does it anyway. Acting is his passion. He won't just give it up. So he does it, and he does it great. But unlike the play, it's not a happy ending for Neil. His father finds out and demands that he withdraw from the play. Neil's trapped. He wants with all of his heart to act, but his father won't let him. "I just talked to my father. He's making me quit the play at Henley Hall. Acting's everything to me.” (Neil Perry). His father has never asked him what he really wants, but what would the answer have even been? Only recently had the philosophy of Carpe Diem stripped him down to his core, revealing his desires. So, he blames his dad for why he feels trapped, but really it's him whose traps himself between what he grew up believing and then the new philosophies of Mr. Keaton. Mr. Keaton's philosophy strips down all of his layers to his very core, but it also removed all the support he had, causing him to become engulfed by his passions, drowning in them and all of the confusion and sudden shock of it all pushed him to drastic measures to achieve his desires.
Finally the philosophy of Carpe Diem alters Neil's life and discovering his true desires changed and overwhelmed him, causing him to take his own life. Neil Perry as we knew him was an actor. But he didn't just act in plays. His whole life was an act from when he started at Welton to the night when he decided to commit suicide. Everything that he's ever done was an act to please his father. He listened to his every whim. He dropped the extra circular activities where he had authority just because his father didn't want him to be in control of something. He feared that if Neil had control of something, it would spread, causing him to turn against his father. But it didn't matter. In the end Mr. Keaton's philosophies struck home and caused Neil to embellish himself with his passions and strive to fill them and power his desire to achieve his dreams. He tried to convince his father, but when his father gave him a chance to release his feelings to him, he couldn't. After all the time he had being the puppet of his father he couldn't strike back against him. At least not with words. Neil's choice to commit suicide was not caused by his father’s reprimands, but by his own selfish intentions. He, not his father put his "crown of thorns" on his own head. He was trapped in a difficult situation. He was pitched and stuck between two sides, his father's wishes and his own passion. His mind was a puzzle, suddenly jumbled around. His whole life beforehand was the exact opposite of his teaching and his desires. “It was a dark and rainy night. And this old lady who had a passion for jigsaw puzzles sat by herself in her house at her table to complete a new jigsaw puzzle. As she pieced the puzzle together, she realized to her astonishment that the image that was formed was her very own room, and the figure in the center of the puzzle, as she completed it, was herself. And with trembling hands she placed the las
And with trembling hands she placed the last four pieces and stared in horror at the face of the demented madman at the window. The last thing that this old lady ever heard was the sound of breaking glass.” (Neil Perry). He was the women solving her one last puzzle before his desires burst through the "window" of his mind and caused him to pull the trigger. His last four pieces were put down and he saw no other way out but the one he choose. He just saw the image of his self sitting alone like he had for his whole life. “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout all that was not life, and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.” (Neil Perry). He was stuck in the woods he first entered in the first Dead Poet Society meeting, he never left. In the woods, he was Puck he could do anything he wanted, his dreams became reality. He could live out all the lives he wanted in the woods, nothing was out of reach. His desires for his life to remain within boundaries of the woods oppressed him, blocking all sense of reason that could help him break out of the trap he was set in. His needs were completely selfish. He may've thought he was a martyr, but his actions were based on his own life. He took the easy road out of the trap he was in and commits suicide. He realized that he wasn't living and he missed the one moment he had to get it all. He couldn't take the pressure, coming in from both sides. He wanted to act, but couldn't get himself out of the act he was in. To him nothing else could compare for his passion for acting and it caused him to kill himself, not because of his father, but because of himself.
Neil Perry just wanted to be an actor. But in his situation, it was near impossible. For one person this seemed like an unbearable task. He couldn't handle the constant tension between his desires and the strings of his father. Mr. Keaton's philosophies of Carpe Diem altered Neil's life. When he applies it to his life, he learns to find what he really wants and to stand up for it, until his passions overwhelmed him, causing him to take his own life. As he sees it, he's alone. Stranded in a dark room, he's torn between both sides, his father on one and the philosophies of Carpe Diem on the other. He realizes that he he's been a puppet to his father the whole time, and become so clouded by his desires that for him, committing suicide was the only way out of the act he had been stuck in his entire life.
Here's my literary Analysis, sorry I didn't post it last night, but I couldn't last night. I'll just say something came up and I literarly stopped and cancelled everything I was doing.
21 December 2012
One tree stands tall and beautiful with lush leaves and broad branches. People stare and memorize the magnificent and confident tree that shines like the sun. But underneath that beauteous tree is a smaller tree, withering and gasping for just a little bit of life, just a speck of light, just a little room to breathe without this shadow. This small tree is Todd Anderson, stuck under the shadow of his older brother. In the movie Dead Poets Society, a new English teacher, Mr. Keating, teaches his students the importance of carpe diem. As a result of the shadow hanging over him, Todd Anderson in the beginning of the movie, let his chances to fully partake in carpe diem slip away, but over the course of time, Todd Anderson slowly comes out of his shadow to fully become his own person.
Tradition. Discipline. Honor. Excellence. These are the four pillars of Welton Academy and the four rules to follow. Welton Academy is a breeding ground for the future leaders of America and a school dedicated to academic success. The first time we meet Todd Anderson is when he is being introduced to the headmaster. The first words spoken to Todd in the movie are, “you’ve got some big shoes to fill”. Todd has no response he merely looks around and stutters feeling uncomfortable. This is our first glimpse that Todd is stuck under his brother’s shadow. In Todd’s mind those shoes are too big for him. He can never fit into those shoes like his brother did. Todd’s shadow is still hanging over him.
When Todd is asked to write a poem for Mr. Keating, and present it in front of the class, he attempts to write it, but his shadow overtakes him. He wrote a poem, he certainly did, but he goes to the class with no poem. When it is Todd’s turn to read his poem, Mr. Keating doesn’t do what most teachers would do, give him a zero and tell him to bring it in the next day. He insists Todd doesn’t miss out on anything, including his biggest fear, public speaking. All eyes on him, no one talking, his voice being heard, everyone giving him attention, all these things are unfamiliar to Todd. Mr. Keating insists Todd “yalp”. Now this yalp is not soft whispered yalp, or a yalp that flows nicely off your tongue, this yalp’s barbaric. This yalp shattered the earth and wakes the sleeping monsters, it causes the birds to flutter away and the ground hogs to go back under ground. This is the very barbaric yalp that Todd Anderson is capable of. This is Todd’s first real word and this is his first real grasp as to what it is like growing away from his shadow.
After the news of the tragic death of Neil Perry, Todd reacts in a frightening yet inspiring way. Todd throws himself to the ground too unable to come up with words, something not very surprising about Todd. Unable to keep his emotions in check, Todd vomits. When Todd vomits, it is his way of showing and telling everyone how hurt he is by the death of his mentor Neil, but how beautiful it is because Neil no longer has to cope with his father, but tragic like his vomit. The next thing Todd does is as unexpected as his vomit, Todd runs down the hill to the lake and yalps. This yalp is barbaric and everything that Mr. Keating would have wanted. We know right when Todd yalps, that he will be okay, because that yalp gave him a glimpse out of the shadow and it shows that the image still remains with him. Todd is slowly starting to lose his shadow.
The news of Mr. Keating being blamed for Neil’s death hangs heavy on Todd’s shoulders, yet he still hasn’t found his voice enough to speak for Neil or stand up for Mr. Keating. It isn’t until Mr. Keating returns one more time to collect his personals that Todd is finally struck with how he can seize the day. As Mr. Keating walks past Todd prepared to leave this school for good, Todd turns to him and opens his mouth, but nothing come out. Todd is frustrated with himself and his shadow. He defiantly stands on his desk, against the words of his headmaster, and turns to Mr. Keating and exclaims, in a salute to his favorite teacher, “Oh captain my captain.” Todd has finally used his voice. He has finally lost the shadow above him, and learned how to seize the day.
That small tree that saw no light, found the person who was going to give it to him. That person noticed the withering tree and came and dug the small tree up and placed him where the sun shines and where life breathes. That person was Mr. Keating. He saw the beauty in Todd when everyone else saw it in his brother. He heard the voice in Todd when everyone else heard silence. He encouraged Todd and moved him to such a place that he could grow without the shadow above him. Now that small tree has the ability to become a big and beautiful tree with broad branches and lush leaves, just like his brother.
The Dead Poets Society Literary Analysis
Everyone has their own meaning of carpe diem, but Mr. Keating’s students are the boys to “seize the day” the most. Each and every person interprets this quote in their own way. Life is only so long, so live and enjoy every minute of it because you never know when it will come to an end. Learning this lesson early on, The Welton Academy Boys have the opportunity to successfully absorb poetry and bring the cryptic Dead Poets Society Club back to order. While learning the lesson of living in the moment, majority of his students takes his advice and accomplishes things they never would’ve dreamed of. Neil Perry and Todd Anderson are outcomes of the Romantics teachings of Mr. Keating, and the lesson of carpe diem dramatically changed both of their lives.
With mixed feelings of beginning at Welton, Todd Anderson comes in as a new student. “You have big shoes to fill because your brother was one of our finest spoke Mr. Nolan to the nervous student. Todd seems to have a difficult time speaking and finding his words and resulting with him quietly stuttering and mumbling. “Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all.” Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." Don't be resigned to that. Break out!” told Mr. Keating to his intently listening students. One of the reasons Todd didn’t speak his own words because he was scared of following his brother’s footsteps. He didn’t have the confidence in himself to pursue or speak an idea of his own. Mr. Keating and Neil help him by becoming his role models and also giving him more confidence. As Mr. Keating irritated Todd after a couple tries “Barbaric Yawp” leaves his mouth beginning to change his personality and finally speaking some of his ideas. But that was only the beginning because “the sweaty-tooth madman” also gives Todd a way to express his feelings about a painting. “You push it, stretch it, it'll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it'll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying to the moment we leave dying, it'll just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream,” told Todd as he recites his imaginary poem to the wide-eyed class. Even this poem teaches Todd a lesson, that anyone can share their feelings. Also that he should be confident in his decisions and share his ideas. After this class exercise, Todd feels comfortable around his roommate Neil. As the movie went on Neil gives Todd confidence when together threw the identical birthday desk set off the balcony. But Todd’s defining moment is when Neil died and Mr. Keating is fired because they were both his mentors who gave him confidence and a voice in Welton Academy. “O captain my captain”, screaming the “barbaric yawp”, and even crying and almost barfing after Neil’s death all symbolize how Mr. Keating and Neil Perry mentored Todd through the beginning of Welton Academy while at the same time giving him a voice.
On the other hand, Neil learned the value of life from Mr. Keating’s teachings.
“Carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary," quotes Mr. Keating as Neil watch in amazement. Don’t’ be afraid to pursue what you love to do, which in Neil’s perspective was acting. Once his father took that dream away along with everything else he loves, he realizes there is no point in my life. Neil tries everything he can to pursue that one wish, but his father sweeps that away that dream and makes the decision to enroll him into Harvard University to become a doctor. “We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for." Learning these lessons teaches Neil what he should appreciate in life, and decides to get revenge at his father who eventually fires his favorite teacher. Before killing himself, Neil should’ve tried convincing his parents one more time, “patience is a virtue.” Neil had many reasons to take his own life, but his main purpose was to prove to both his friends and parents that no one should take away another’s voice or dream. Some people enjoy acting just as much as Neil did and wouldn’t be able to survive without that voice. Having something that you love taken away from you is heartbreaking. The more time people absorb the fact that the person or thing is gone, the better the individual feels. If Neil had thought of thinking over his father’s decision, maybe he wouldn’t have killed himself. Neil’s life, or the end of it, taught many life le
ssons to the other characters in the film. However, it is not just these characters who learn, but the reader does as well. The lesson of carpe diem is not easily forgotten, and Mr. Keating’s lectures on romanticism drastically changed him as a person.
The lessons of carpe diem have taught many lessons to Mr. Keating’s students and also to the audience. Neil and Todd both changed as people as a result of meeting one another and also contributing and being involved in a romanticism teaching environment. The beauty of poetry and enthusiasm in the Dead Poets Society taught the audience of the movie moments they will never forget.
16 December 2012
Mr. Brocato - English 117
DPS Literary Analysis
The human life is a terrible thing to waste. From the first entrance into the world to the last departure, one can change the world, or succumb to its demoralizing realities. The time comes for many when they are forced into the routine of nature, unable to live in their own moments and dreams. This path of no return can only be overcome by the strongest of rebels, as well as those willing to hear the cries of others who have achieved their sought-after goal. In the movie Dead Poets Society, a renowned English teacher arrives in a school of tradition and routine. The boys who attend it are molded and shaped into their parents' dreams of perfect children. Once they complete this hell, they are pushed into the world of doctors and lawyers, where the 'respectable people' reside. Mr. Keating, one who has also come and gone through the slow process of Welton Academy, decides that everyone should be able to make the best of their lives, not sit around and end up like the rest. By following the rebellious teachings of Mr. Keating, his three most vigorous followers (Todd, Neil, and Knox), undergo a major change in their lives through the idea of 'carpe diem'.
At the start of the movie, Todd is illustrated as a depressed young man who has his expectations set too high. The headmaster greets him on the first day with a weighty, "Mr. Anderson, you have some big shoes to fill, young man. Your brother was one of our finest". Not exactly the best way to start off a new chapter in schooling. While Mr. Nolan means this in a productive way to make Todd a better student, he becomes hindered into a shell of fear. How can he expect to have any pride when his only option is to climb out of the shadow cast by his perfect brother? With some outside help. Most of his classes at Welton have little impact on his personality, less English with Mr. Keating at its head. Acting as a new stepping stone, Todd's life begins to change. A speech assigned to open up to his inner voice kickstarts Todd for something bigger. With a barbaric 'YAWP!' and a feeling of relief, Todd enters the world of rebellion against 'Hellton'. However, this was just his first experience with 'carpe diem'. For his brithday, his mind is prone to how his parents really love him. They give him a brand new desk set. The exact same one they got him last year. Instead of accepting this soulless gift from his 'loving' parents, he launches it from the walls of his jail, creating "the world's first unmanned flying desk set".
Todd's faithful roomate, Neil, who aided with the fight against tradition, seems to be overcome with his own version of 'carpe diem'. All his life, Neil's hasn't been his own. His father, hardened by his time at Welton and time in the military, has shaped Neil into his perfect son, ready to embrace the oppurtunities he never had. Rebelling from the inside of his school, Neil gets a second chance at his world of magic, once, "I got the part! I'm gonna play Puck! I'm gonna play Puck!" But there's still one problem. The big performance coming up is circulating all around his town, while his father still doesn't agree with him poisoning his mind with non-important ideas. The final straw comes when Neil's father comes up with a 'great' idea in his mind. Instead of the acting career he really wants, Neil is shoved around out of his enjoyed activities and dreams to a lifelong term in the military he couldn't think less about and Harvard, the place where only doctors and lawyers are made. Where is Neil's oppurtunity to 'seize the day' now? It's impossible to multitask between his next prison and the dreams he truly wants with his father watching like a hawk over his shoulder. Leaving his bed, Neil opens himself up for one last time. Putting on his crown from the play, he treads down the stairs into his father's perfectly kept office. Reaching into a drawer to unravel a hidden object carefully wrapped by a stainless cloth, Neil pulls out his father's perfect gun to take his life. Without anything to look forward to in the days ahead, Neil has decided to strike back at his main oppressor. He sends a signal out to his family and any others out there with fathers like his that it just isn't fair. If their sons can't have their lives, no one can.
Lastly, one of Mr. Keating's supposedly heaviest lasting sayings has been "to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." Only one shouldn't suck out life's marrow only "to choke on the bone". Knox Overstreet is unable to realize this as he screws his life through the ground with actions he never would have even thought of if he hadn't met Mr. Keating. He receives an invite to a dinner from friends of his parents. No big deal, right. That's what Knox thought, until he meets their daughter. He describes it as, "Tonight I met the most beautiful girl I have ever seen in my entire life." Whoa there Knox. Slow down a little. Isn't it a little so
soon to jump to conclusions like that? There are other girls out there, waiting to be discovered. NO. He must have this girl. Even if it means ruining his life past repair. Thinking his plans through wasn't the first thing on his mind when he goes to her party and strokes her hair, even though her boyfriend, a football jock, was there too. Or when he comes to her school in the middle of the day and reads an embarrassing poem out loud for the whole class to hear. Thankfully, it all pays off. His impulsive behavior sparked by a simple theme in English class almost steered his life into oblivion, yet didn't. Maybe teenagers should be more like Knox. Ready to let out their inner thoughts and feelings they were made to believe were unacceptable by society.
Through his Romantic ideals and rebellious side, Mr. Keating was able to shape his tiny society of boys into independent thinkers. No longer will they be lost in the sea of factory-line students, or forgotten in a sea of fish that are just as dull as the ones around them. They can finally join forces and become what they should truly be. Sole survivors of hell able to soar into the bland sky like eagles, unique in form and state of mind, unrestricted by any who dare to try.
16 December 2012
Dead Poets Society Literary Analysis
I’m looking for a good balance of plot and analysis.
If one keeps a pet confined for most of its life, then lets it roam around freely, it will find new experiences and be happy. Once one returns it to its cage, however, and never again lets it out, that pet will mope and pine for its brief taste of freedom, and may eventually die, full of longing. Neil Perry of the movie Dead Poets Society is like that imprisoned pet. He is confined by his father all his life, and is given a release by Mr. Keating’s lessons on Romanticism. When he is back under his father’s oppressive control, Neil loses hope that he will regain his freedom and kills himself.
Neil’s entrapment starts with his ambitious family, particularly his father. Neil’s life is all planned out for him, so that he can gain money and power for his family. This plan starts with his attendance of a prestigious school, Welton Academy. In the beginning of the movie, Neil is carrying the banner with the word “Excellence” on it at the beginning of school term. It is a not-so-subtle hint in the movie of what Neil’s father expects of him and his career. Throughout the movie, it is clear that under his father’s thumb, Neil has no freedom to choose his own life. However, he is suddenly granted deliverance when his English teacher starts to teach about the Romantic poets.
When Mr. Keating teaches the Welton Academy boys about Romanticism, a new worldview opens for Neil. Before that, all he knows is pleasing his father and trying to find his place in life. Once he starts learning about the Romantic poets and Mr. Keating urges the boys to “suck the marrow out of life,” Neil starts looking for what he really wants to do, not just what his father wants him to accomplish. He finds his full self in acting, which he exploits through the school’s performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Unfortunately for his aspirations, Neil’s father strongly disapproves of acting. Blaming Mr. Keating for these new, unrealistic (in his view) ideas, Mr. Perry pulls his son out of school and informs him of the plan for the rest of his life: military school, Harvard, then a job as a doctor. Neil’s too-short experience of freedom and his yearning to act are ruthlessly smothered as his father confines him to “reality” once more. Neil tries to confront his father and tell him what he really wants, but Mr. Perry’s harsh handling as his son tries to reach out to him destroys the opportunity for understanding. Neil has lost hope and can no longer find a way to achieve his dreams.
After his fleeting taste of another world, where he is happier, Neil cannot be satisfied with the strict, planned-out life his father has allotted him. However, he cannot reach his dreams, either. The point in the movie that drives home his helplessness is when Neil goes into his room and finds all of his clothes prearranged and neatly laid out on his bed. This is a visual indication of how his whole life is already arranged for him, so he cannot make any of his own decisions whatsoever. At this point, Neil gives up hope that he will ever be allowed to be himself, and sees only one viable option that can send a message to his father and give Neil ultimate freedom: suicide. He hopes that Mr. Perry will see that his spirit has been crushed to the point that life no longer seems worth enduring. It is also, in part, a message to the parents of his classmates, telling them not to make all the decisions for their children and to leave them their freedom. Unfortunately for Neil’s aims, his father does not comprehend the message. He is a strict realist, while Neil has become more of a romantic. Mr. Perry sees only that his son learns some fanciful ideas from Mr. Keating and kills himself when he cannot face reality. Thus, the action of Neil’s father as a result of Neil’s suicide is to get Mr. Keating fired. Neil cannot make his father understand his aims, and he cannot make the lives of his friends easier either, but now he can no longer be forced into a life he does not want.
Throughout the movie Dead Poets Society, Neil Perry is by turns caged, freed, and recaptured, until he stops fighting his father’s will. His life is brutally planned out to the last detail, and he knows no other state of being until he learns the ideals of the Romantic poets. Neil is inspired then to become his own self and not how his father wants him to be. When his free spirit is recaptured by Mr. Perry and reality is pounded into his head, Neil finds no hope that he can achieve his dreams, but he does not surrender to the wishes of his father, either. Neil Perry’s last defiance to Mr. Perry is the same as that that any captured animal with a taste for freedom can choose: instead of living a prescribed life, he chooses
he chooses to kill himself, so that liberty, in the end, is his.
I like my analogy and think it is very relevant. It felt suspiciously easy to write this, but I like it anyway.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.