Dead Poets SocietySometimes 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 PoetsSociety”. He taught the boys so many lessons that they would have neverlearned from any other teacher. By looking at scenes from the movie, and linesfrom the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, we can see just howimportant the lessons were that Keating was trying to teach the boys.
Mr. Keating reminded them to seize each day and cherish them dearly. From the veryfirst day that Mr. Keating had walked into the classroom you could already seethat he had an original method of teaching. He came into class whistling, andthen proceeded to take the boys outside the classroom to read them a poem, andannounced that they can call him ‘Captain O’ Captain’.
His first importantlesson was “Carpe Diem”, which means seize the day. He also told themto “gather the roses while ye may”, because one day you are going todie. He then took them to the showcase to show them pictures of former alumniwho were once where they were standing, but they are now dead. He was trying totell them that everyday opportunities await us and we must decide whether totake a chance, or play it safe. He encouraged them to take risks, for nothing isgained without them.
This idea is related with something Ralph Waldo Emersononce said : “It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a youngperson ‘always do what you are afraid to do'”. Another great mind, Whitman,once said in the poem, “Song of Myself”, “I celebrate myself, andsing myself. ” I think what they were all trying to say is that you have tolove your self, and live for each and every moment while we still can. Besides”Carpe Diem”, Keating also taught the boys to “walk their ownway.
” One of the most important lessons that Keating taught the boys was tobe an individual no matter what anyone else tells them. This took place in thescene where he took them all out into the courtyard and told them to startwalking. The point of this was to demonstrate that after walking for a littlewhile, everyone started walking the same way. He wanted to show them howdifficult it is to maintain your own beliefs when everyone else is doingsomething different then you.
Then he told them all to walk their own way. Hewanted them to know that they should do that in life. This was the same pointEmerson was trying to make in his poem “Self Reliance. ” He said that”imitation is suicide” He also said that “the great man is he whoin the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
” Hewas trying to say that if you try to be like everyone else you may as well bekilling yourself. No matter what, you should always do what you believe, andmaintain your individuality no matter what people say, or tell you to do. Notonly did he teach them that they shouldn’t act like anyone else, he also taughtthem that they should live their own lives. Keating taught them the great lessonof living your life for yourself, and not for anyone else. I recall the scenewhere Neill came in to ask Mr.
Keating for advice about his father. He had apassion for acting that he father disapproved of. His father had his whole lifeplanned out for him, and the way he wanted his life to be. It didn’t matter tohim 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 hadjust said. He told him that his father may not still approve but at least hewill be able to see where he is coming from. Keating told him to express himselfto his father, and tell him what he wanted, and tell him that he wanted to liveout his own dreams. One of my favorite lines from the movie was where Keatingsaid “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 wantsto live his life that way, but Emerson said that some of the greatest peoplewere misunderstood, like Pythagoras, Socrates, Jesus, Luther, Copernicus,Galileo, and Newton. He also said “It is harder, because you will alwaysfind those who think they know your duty better then you know it. ” That wasexactly the case with Neill and his father. His father thought he was doing whatwas best for Neill when really he was only forcing him to live a life he didn’twant to live, which led to his suicide. Thus, you can see that at the same timeas teaching them poetry, Keating taught the boys some of life’s most importantlessons.
Some of life’s most valuable lessons are taught in places where wewould least expect it. Keating taught the boys so much more then poetry. Hewasn’t only a teacher, but he was a friend to them, and he touched each andevery one of them. This may have only been a fictional movie, but the lessonsthat were taught will live on in our hearts forever.