Literary Essay - Dead Poets So Essay

This essay has a total of 772 words and 4 pages.

Literary Essay - Dead Poets So


Literary Essay – Dead Poets Society

Bill Beattie once said, 'The aim of education should be to teach us how to think rather
than what to think – rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for
ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.'; All too often, however,
individual thoughts are crushed by the powerful weight of conformity. In the film Dead
Poets Society, conformity exercises it's influence and the results prove disastrous for
some. For others, the effect of conformity compels them towards individual strength and
the discovery of one's true self.


Modern education is one of the largest 'offenders'; when it comes to conformity, and that
point is illustrated repeatedly in the film Dead Poets Society. At Wellton, students of
all walks of life are expected to learn the same lessons the same ways. They are expected
to memorize the important facts and regurgitate the same facts during exams. Latin class
involves recitation, while chemistry involves memorization, and as long as the students
can deliver what they have been told, they are successful in life.


The new English teacher, Mr. Keating, challenges his students to think for themselves and
to resist conformity. He most memorably illustrates how easily conformity affects people
during his lesson involving a stroll in the courtyard. He instructs three of his pupils to
walk around the courtyard. The three boys march in unison, and the remainder of the pupils
begin to clap in time with the marching. He asks why the boys are clapping, and they do
not know. Perhaps they were clapping because everyone else was clapping, or perhaps they
were just having a good time. However, it cannot be disputed that the group conformed
without thinking.


All too often, the words of the textbook are considered undisputed fact. All chemistry
textbooks will list the elements with the same symbols and all Latin textbooks will list
approximately the same translations. The poetry textbook, written by a Dr. Pritchett,
attempts to lump words that are meant to touch the heart into the same factual categories
of math and the sciences. Can Dr. Pritchett's method of analyzing poetry by graphing its
importance and perfection be used to measure what one feels? More importantly, is Dr.
Pritchett's method the only method that one must use when measuring the greatness of
poetry and can poetry be looked at using only the mind and not the heart?


Mr. Keating did not feel that poetry was meant to be analyzed using measurable techniques
but rather through the feelings of one's heart. He summed up his feelings on Dr.
Pritchett's method of measuring the greatness of poetry in one word, 'Excrement.';
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