How Students are Influenced, for Better or Worse, in Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum

How Students are Influenced, for Better or Worse, in Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum

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The novel, Dead Poets Society, was written by N.H. Kleinbaum. It is based on the 1989 movie, which was directed by Peter Weir and written by Tom Schulman. The story takes place in 1959, in Vermont, at a private academy, known as the Welton Academy. The story is about a group of friends, who try to meet up to their parents expectations. Their lives change for better and worse when they meet their unorthodox English teacher, Mr. Keating. He inspires them mainly through his poetry. Three students he impacted were Neil Perry, Charlie Dalton, and Todd Anderson. Mr. Keating affected Neil and Charlie in positive and negative ways. He affected Todd by making him more confident and courageous.
First and most importantly, Mr. Keating’s teachings affected Neil Perry in both negative and positive ways. For example, Mr. Keating told Neil to follow his passion for acting. Although this may seem like a positive influence, it is a negative influence. By following his passion, Neil disobeys his father, which is an act a child should never do. In addition, Neil’s inspiration from Mr. Keating makes him decide to reestablish the Dead Poets Society. Again, this is might seem positive, but it is a negative influence. By reestablishing the Dead Poets Society, he is challenging the school’s authority. Furthermore, Neil tries to tell his father his true feelings about being “controlled.” This would be a positive influence because it shows that Neil has gained some courage. Courage is a good value that should be encouraged because it allows an individual to speak up for their beliefs. Summing it up, Mr. Keating had a negative and positive influence on Neil; however, he has done more harm than good.
Next up would be Charlie Dalton. He is also affected by Mr. Keating’s teaching both positively and negatively. For example, Mr. Keating tells Charlie to stop acting rebellious, so he can preempt his expulsion. From his lecture, Mr. Keating keeps Charlie’s mind on track. This would be a positive influence on Charlie because it rewires his mind into thinking that can stay at the academy. An example of a negative influence would be when Charlie “pulls the phone call from god.” This scene emphasizes that Mr. Keating’s teachings aren’t always positive. This is contradictory because originally, Mr. Keating told Charlie to take risks. All in all, Charlie was affected by Mr. Keating both positively and negatively, but in the end, he seemed to make smarter decisions.

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Finally, Mr. Keating’s teachings affected Todd Anderson by making him more confident and courageous. For example, Mr. Keating encourages Todd to speak what’s on his mind to compose a poem. By forcing him to speak in front of the class, Mr. Keating helps Todd come out of his shell. This means that Todd gains some confidence; a trait he was lacking from the start. In addition, when the principal uses Mr. Keating as a scapegoat and extrudes him, Todd is the first to oppose the principal. The fact that Todd is the first to speak out for Mr. Keating shows that he has become more courageous. The scene also shows the watchers that Todd cares for Mr. Keating. From Todd, we learn that Mr. Keating had a positive effect on some characters and that Todd matured a bit because of him.
In the end, Mr. Keating made a huge impact in these three students’ lives. He taught Neil to follows his passion even though Neil disobeys father by doing so. Charlie makes some crummy decisions because of Mr. Keating, but matures a bit at the end. Also, Todd learns to stand up for what he thinks is right. Dead Poets Society, overall, is a very touching movie. It teaches the valuable lesson “Carpe Diem.”

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