October 13, 2010
Dead Poet’s Society Reflection
Dead Poet’s Society tells the story about a group of promising, young high school students and the top conservatory school in the country. The story is based around a new teacher, Mr. Keating, who uses poetry in order to inspire his students to pursue their own interests and desires. A group of his students learn about a secret club that he was involved in while he was in school called the Dead Poet’s Society, which inspires them to break away from the herd and begin to think for themselves. Later, when one student, Neil, commits suicide, the incident is blamed on Mr. Keating and he ...view middle of the document...
Today we live in a time when it is much easier to be an individual because our society has progressed towards a world with many more choices, and we are free to pursue them.
There is one aspect of this movie that I found to be particularly interesting, and at the same time slightly troubling. Clearly, one of the main teachings that Mr. Keating attempts to impose upon his students is that they should be individuals. He encourages, whether overtly or discreetly, to take lightly what the other authority figures at the school, as well as their parents, instruct them to do. He teaches his students to pursue their own passions and desires despite what they are told from all of these figures; however in the process of doing so, Mr. Keating elevates himself into a position of authority in the minds of the students. He tells them that he should be addressed as “oh captain, my captain” and clearly gains more influence over his students than any of the other teachers or parents are able to achieve. This situation that is created by Mr. Keating, whether it be subconscious or not, paradoxically creates the same exact situation that he spends so much time encouraging his students to avoid; following authority blindly. By establishing himself as the “captain” in the minds of the students, what Mr. Keating essentially does is to undermine the authority of his fellow faculty members while simultaneously elevating himself into a position of authority, whose instructions the students follow blindly. Sadly, when Mr. Keating ideas and teachings clash with the reality of his student’s lives, they play their part, however small, in the suicide of one of his students.
There is an undeniable difference between societal standard today and the time at which this film is depicted. In the film, those students wishing to express creativity and originality are...