Dead Poets Society (873 words) Essay

Dead Poets Society
Sometimes in life people can come along and touch our lives in unexpected ways.

This was the case with Mr. Keating and the boys in the movie “Dead Poets
Society”. He taught the boys so many lessons that they would have never
learned from any other teacher. By looking at scenes from the movie, and lines
from the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, we can see just how
important the lessons were that Keating was trying to teach the boys. Mr.

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Keating reminded them to seize each day and cherish them dearly. From the very
first day that Mr. Keating had walked into the classroom you could already see
that he had an original method of teaching. He came into class whistling, and
then proceeded to take the boys outside the classroom to read them a poem, and
announced that they can call him ‘Captain O’ Captain’. His first important
lesson was “Carpe Diem”, which means seize the day. He also told them
to “gather the roses while ye may”, because one day you are going to
die. He then took them to the showcase to show them pictures of former alumni
who were once where they were standing, but they are now dead. He was trying to
tell them that everyday opportunities await us and we must decide whether to
take a chance, or play it safe. He encouraged them to take risks, for nothing is
gained without them. This idea is related with something Ralph Waldo Emerson
once said : “It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young
person ‘always do what you are afraid to do'”. Another great mind, Whitman,
once said in the poem, “Song of Myself”, “I celebrate myself, and
sing myself.” I think what they were all trying to say is that you have to
love your self, and live for each and every moment while we still can. Besides
“Carpe Diem”, Keating also taught the boys to “walk their own
way.” One of the most important lessons that Keating taught the boys was to
be an individual no matter what anyone else tells them. This took place in the
scene where he took them all out into the courtyard and told them to start
walking. The point of this was to demonstrate that after walking for a little
while, everyone started walking the same way. He wanted to show them how
difficult it is to maintain your own beliefs when everyone else is doing
something different then you. Then he told them all to walk their own way. He
wanted them to know that they should do that in life. This was the same point
Emerson was trying to make in his poem “Self Reliance.” He said that
“imitation is suicide” He also said that “the great man is he who
in the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” He
was trying to say that if you try to be like everyone else you may as well be
killing yourself. No matter what, you should always do what you believe, and
maintain your individuality no matter what people say, or tell you to do. Not
only did he teach them that they shouldn’t act like anyone else, he also taught
them that they should live their own lives. Keating taught them the great lesson
of living your life for yourself, and not for anyone else. I recall the scene
where Neill came in to ask Mr. Keating for advice about his father. He had a
passion for acting that he father disapproved of. His father had his whole life
planned out for him, and the way he wanted his life to be. It didn’t matter to
him what Neill wanted, he was forcing him to live his dream, instead of his own.

Mr. Keating advised him to go to his father and tell him exactly what he had
just said. He told him that his father may not still approve but at least he
will be able to see where he is coming from. Keating told him to express himself
to his father, and tell him what he wanted, and tell him that he wanted to live
out his own dreams. One of my favorite lines from the movie was where Keating
said “Tis only in their dreams that men truly be free, ’twas always thus,
and always thus will be.” Neill’s father may not understand why Neill wants
to live his life that way, but Emerson said that some of the greatest people
were misunderstood, like Pythagoras, Socrates, Jesus, Luther, Copernicus,
Galileo, and Newton. He also said “It is harder, because you will always
find those who think they know your duty better then you know it.” That was
exactly the case with Neill and his father. His father thought he was doing what
was best for Neill when really he was only forcing him to live a life he didn’t
want to live, which led to his suicide. Thus, you can see that at the same time
as teaching them poetry, Keating taught the boys some of life’s most important
lessons. Some of life’s most valuable lessons are taught in places where we
would least expect it. Keating taught the boys so much more then poetry. He
wasn’t only a teacher, but he was a friend to them, and he touched each and
every one of them. This may have only been a fictional movie, but the lessons
that were taught will live on in our hearts forever.


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