Dead Poets Society

We, as human beings, tend to love stories and that’s why literature is considered to be a beautiful and essential part of our life. There cannot be anything better than if these stories are well visualized and converted into a more beautiful form. These lines definitely indicate one of the best inventions of human race that is, motion pictures or movies. We all love watching movies. But sometimes we come across a few stories which we never want to forget. We want such movies to define us, and our sole purpose of existence. Movies may be a leisure activity for some but it is also a tool of giving a glimpse of the same world in which we all survive. The only difference is that the story is presented by a different person every time with a difference perspective in every different movie.

The potential of movies to change our life and the way we live it cannot be doubted by anyone. I watched a movie today that affected me so. It is one of my favourites now. It’s titled – ‘Dead Poets Society’. A masterpiece by the late Mr Robin Williams, the plot and the learning makes it worth watching.

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It is a story about 7 schoolboys. The name of the school is Welton Academy. The story starts with a ceremony in the hall in which the candle lighting is done to lighten the knowledge lamp. The students are holding the banners representing the 4 pillars of its culture. These are – traditions, discipline, excellence and honour. The Principal is giving a speech, glorifying the milestones the school has achieved like producing well-known Ivy League students. It ends with the introduction of the most amazing character of the story, Mr John Keating. He has been appointed as the English teacher. He was himself an alumnus of this school. Where the few students are busy saying goodbye to their parents, the others are happy mingling with the new arrivals. Though they aren’t aware of it, a new adventure is written on the fate of two students. Neil Perry and Todd Anderson are selected as room partners. They start their academic journey together by laughing at the 4 pillars and modifying them with new ones i.e. travesty, horror, decadence and …

Mr Keating makes a surprising entry into the class by whistling and then takes everyone outside the class to the nearby hall. He starts teaching them about the concept of ‘Carpe Diem’ which means ‘seize the day’. Keating’s next lecture also follows in this unusual teaching style. The class is of poetry. They all open the book and start reading the definition of ‘poem’ and its evaluation by some great personality. Mr Keating urges everyone to rip out the pages in which the traditional, meaningless and hypothetical concepts have been explained. He leaves the boys with a memorable quote – ‘Words and ideas can change the world. Poetry is for love, not for measurement’. The boys are pretty much impressed by him.

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One day, Neil comes across an old yearbook discovering the name of a secret group – ‘The Dead Poets Society’. The boys ask Keating about it and he reveals all the secrets without any hesitation. In the past, this group was constructed by a bunch of boys who loved poetry in its true essence and Mr Keating was one of the co-founders. Their motto was to suck the marrow of life. They used to go to the nearby jungle where their secret cave lay in wait for a new round of poems. Neil decides to restart the club.

The rebuilding of the society is kept secret, known only to the few who are members. Meanwhile, Mr Keating continues doing a fantastic job as an unconventional teacher. He takes the students out for sports which ultimately makes them realize that freeing themselves will help in building up new wings of imagination, paving the way to expand those wings. In one such non-traditional class, Keating orders the class to stand on the teacher’s desk and to see the world from there. The point being that we should always be eager to see the world from multiple perspectives as the world may appear unchanged but taking a different outlook towards it can show huge changes in every aspect. Frequent visits outside become the norm for the class. The next day, Keating asks all of the boys to stroll. They are allowed to walk, to talk, to dance, to shout or whatever they want to. They do this at random – in the manner each person feels like to while Mr Keating keeps shouting the words-‘Point of conformity’. The lesson to be learnt is that everyone’s beliefs are unique and it is fine if we all choose the road less travelled (as also suggested by Robert Frost).

Neil is bent on listening to his heart. He wants to make his own way but destiny has something else in store for him. Neil id interested in acting but his father is against it. His father wants  him to study medicine, and become a doctor. Neil attempts to strike a balance, trying yet failing in vain to convince his father. Neil agrees to sacrifice his own dreams for the dreams of his father. Pushed past his breaking point, Neil commits suicide.

This unexpected event leads to the  wrongful expulsion of Mr Keating, who is held guilty as the focal point behind the happening.

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The following day, Mr Keating is leaving the school when he returns to the class to collect his belongings, paying one last visit to his students. This is the most memorable scene of the whole movie. Keating’s final exit at the door is interrupted by the few students, led by Todd, who still believe that their former teacher is innocent and deserves a great salute. They salute Mr Keating by repeating the lines “O Captain, my Captain!!!”  while standing on their desks. The movie ends with Mr Keating’s smile; the smile expressing his satisfaction, happiness and love for his students. The soundtracks supplement the movie’s beauty and essence really well.

I wholeheartedly recommend this movie to all my friends. This movie will definitely be an eye-opener for you. This movie has the magical power which made me forget that I was a bit tired and in dire need of sleep instead of writing a blogpost. I hope I get to see great movies like this one, in the future.

Bye

Vimanyu Sahu

The recommended links:-

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXSs3OX6aVs

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j64SctPKmqk

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