A Passion For Life
???Carpe Diem!??? Indeed, the movie ???Dead Poet??™s Society??? is about young men learning to look at life in a different way. When a former student becomes the new English teacher at a private academy for boys and his first lesson is ???seize the day???, quite a revolution was started. The Dead Poet Society??™s theme, foreshadowing, and various conflicts make a great story.
The setting is a private school for boys in Vermont, Welton Academy, in the year 1959.
Roommates, Todd and Neil are entering their new English class and a totally different way to view life. Todd is an extremely shy boy living in the shadow of his older brother, and Neil is a young man under his father??™s rule constantly. In the first class, Mr. Keating wants to get rid of any rumors the boys may have heard. He tells them, ???Yes, I too attended Hell-ton and survived.??? After his talk he takes the class outside. This view from the new English teacher, Mr. Keating, is opposite from what they have been taught. Some like it and some do not. With his unique teaching methods, he tells the students about poetry and why he loves it. He shows them how to analysis poetry with their heart not their mind. He tells them about a group that he was part of when he was a student at Welton. It was a group that met in a cave to read poetry on a regular basis and encourage each other to be themselves and act as individuals. They were known as the Dead Poets Society. Several of the boys begin to see life in a different way and decided to start their own Dead Poets Society. Mr. Keating??™s way of viewing life and teaching is opposite of the schools traditional policies that attempts to make the boys conform. Another theme that runs thru the story is that of parent verses child. Neil??™s father wants complete control of him, but Neil listens to Mr. Keating and wants to do other things. At the fist meeting of the new Dead Poets Society, Neil read a poem that will foreshadow what is to come-his death.
At the first meeting of the boys new Dead Poets Society, Neil reads some poems. One of them by Walden, he read, ???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 rout to all that was not life, and not when I had
come to die, discover that I had not lived.??? Neil eventually takes part in a play, ???A Midsummer Nights Dream???, that his father had forbid him to be part of. His father does come in time to hear Neil as Puck in his last speech. Of course, Mr. Perry is not aware of what it means and is only upset at his son and tells him he is going to military school. He has no idea what his some wants or is trying to become. He does not understand his passion for acting. This ultimately ends with Neil getting naked, putting on the crown of Puck as to be like Christ with his crown of thorns and kills himself. These foreshadowing scenes and all the other conflicts make a very unique, yet realistic story.
Major conflicts in this story make it believable and understandable. The conflict between man and society is the most noticible. The Welton Academy has always been a school of tradition and strict, structured lessons. When a former alumnus arrives to be the new English teacher, he brings with him a great passion for teaching and life. He opens the minds of the boys and encourages them to be the individual they want to be. This goes against the school methods and teachings. Ultimately the headmaster reprimands Mr. Keating for his ways. Mr. Keating responds with, ???I always thought that the idea of educating was to learn to think for yourself.??? Another area of conflict was man vs. self as the boys try to figure out who they are. Mr. Keating has given them a different way to look at life and at themselves. It is a struggle to change from what they have always taught and told was right. But in the end, Todd shows his resolution to the conflict by standing on his desk in the English room while Mr. Nolan is teaching and exclaims, ???O Captain! My Captain!??? and proceeds to tell Mr. Keating. ???They made everybody sign the document leading to your dismissal!??? What a great ending to an injustice done to an excellent and dedicated teacher.
What the theme of this story really tells is about passion. A teacher??™s passion for teaching students the real world and how to think for themselves and seize each day. A student??™s passion for acting and trying to stand up to forces that want to control him. A schools passion for wanting to produce boys that are disciplined and excellent in academics. A parent??™s passion for wanting their child to be the best by doing what they think is best. The use of foreshadowing and true to life conflicts only make the story more realistic and applicable to anyone??™s life.