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We give our youth books and films to read and watch that have a pertinent message for where they are in life now. Below is one of those essay assignments from one of our students who did a great job of taking the film Dead Poets Society and incorporating it into his life.


Students Dead Poets Society Assignment

Throughout the film, "Dead Poets Society", directed by Peter Weir, the story of an English teacher who presents inspiration throughout the tool of poetry, displays key purposes in which we can all learn from. When eight, teenaged, boys are put through preparatory school where their environment is clustered with the pressure of their parents desired futures for them, conflict endures. This teaches one to not only follow their ambitions but to also open their eyes and dissect knowledge that cannot necessarily be learnt through a textbook.

The boys of Welton Prep are put in aristocratic circumstances that are outlined by their head master: " Tradition, Honour, Discipline, and Excellence". Not to mention the parental pressure that is also layer upon them. When they are introduce to a new English teacher (Mr. Keating), their outlook on life begins to change. Mr. Keating portrays the meaning of the film through his philosophy of carpe diem, otherwise known as "seize the day". Keating's unorthodox teaching techniques demonstrates how life means so much more than what a textbook or tradition portrays. It gives each an every one of us a visual example of how we can gain knowledge of what we want to do with our lives through our inner feelings. For the duration of the film there are many examples of this, however one particular scene from the movie stands out to me the most; when Mr. Keating stands upon his desk and looks over the class. Mr. Keating gives the viewer a prime example of how "we should constantly remind ourselves to look at things in a different way". Personally, I can say I learnt that even if I may know something, I must look at it a different way. As Thoreau said, "The universe is wider than our views of it".

Secondly, what I discovered to be very valuable from this film was Mr. Keating's outlook on life. With all the students in his class having set paths based on what each of their parents wants, Keating exhibits how "words and ideas can change the world". It is human kind to think of the result over the process and that is shown to be a deadly belief through Keating's discussion with the Welton boys; "We don't read and write poetry because it's cute, we read and write poetry because we are a part of human life". I learnt that we all have "noble pursuits", however it is how we get there that determines our love for life. I consider there to be two paths to each ones goal; one, looking at life as a "checklist", the other, looking at life as a "journey". At the climax of the film, Neil, a student of Keating's, finds his true love in acting, however, when discovered by his father, Neil is forced to enrol in military school and pursue a career in medicine. Before Neil thinks about the possible processes of this conflict, he thinks about the outcome. Neil commits suicide. I conceive that everyone of us can learn from Neil's poor decission making. We must be able to seize the day and take a stand for what we believe is right for us.

Overall, the film, "Dead Poets Society", expresses how we can all think outside of the box and obtain knowledge from many sources other than the traditional, materialistic, society of which we have been accustom to. The next time someone says: "this is how it is", do not be afraid to stand up on your desk an look at things in a different perspective. As the late Steve Jobs said, " Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish".

Aspects of Life I Focused On Before Watching the Film
Aspects I Will Now Focus On Having Seen the Film
  • I have been one to look outside the box
  • I have been capable of thinking for myself
  • I consider myself to look at things differenty
  • I find my self to see more than the traditional way of thinking
  • I want to work on seeing life as a process as oppose to looking for the outcome
  • I want to be able to look at life as a journey not necessarily a checklist
  • carpe diem/seize the day.  Each morning I want to truly say to myself: "If I were to die today, I would be doing what I love"
  • I want to embrace all my opportunities, because I know one day I will not have those opportunities.
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