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The Dead Poets Society

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 2402 words Published: 2nd May 2017

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Dead Poet’s Society” presents a representation of an English teacher that is curiously inspiring and at the same time disturbing. This is the story of students as the respected “Welton Academy”. The plot centers on the influence of Mr. Keating, a young and exciting English and poetry teacher who is determined to teach his students to live life with absolute passion. Mr. Keating was moved his students to a love of poetry and learning that transcends their otherwise structured and controlled academic existence. He perhaps crosses boundaries that probably should not be crossed by someone in a position of authority and respect. This movie is about what happens when these students decide to pursue their own desires and to live life with the passion that Mr. Keating encouraged. Actually it is about what happens when a few idealistic students find themselves confronted against conservative forces that resist all change including the drive for personal self- determination.

Source: “Carpe Diem; Lessons about Life and Management from Dead Poets Society” in the Journal of Management Education, Vol. 16.

The organizational style of the boarding school is very traditional, reflecting one of the most significant principles of the school, namely tradition. The idea of the campus along with typical features like the twin-bedded rooms strongly resembles college and therefore hints at where the school finally leads. As a preparatory school, the basic aim is to prepare the pupils for college in the most excellent way. One detail that contributes to this goal is the class size of 16 boys only.

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The background of the boys is clearly upper class. On the one hand, the school fees demand for an upper class-income. Features like clothes and speech of the boys and their family point to an upper class background. Moreover the culture of the school is closely bound to the student families. Usually, generations and generations of their forefathers have attended the school, which is why the boys automatically have to follow this tradition. The family seems to be obliged to the school – both by financial support as well as by sending their sons to the school. Thus, the boys do not have any choice; their career is determined from birth.

The school organizational style restricted and directed the behaviors of the boys in one path. Any demonstration of a free thought is strictly prohibited by the school authority. Self-esteem becomes one of the centers of the school. For example Neil’s low self-esteem reveals

itself only in the relationship with Neil’s father, but leads Neil to his tragic end. On the

other hand, Todd, with the help of Professor Keating’s, was able to build up his

self-esteem. John Keating’s wasn’t a regular professor: his teaching methods were very

different from those of others in the school. The relationship between Todd and

professor Keating’s is quite interesting because we can see the transformation that

Todd went through from being afraid to answer teacher’s question to being the first

one to show his appreciation for Mr. Keating’s when doing so could lead to expelling

from the school.

Considering the facts mentioned above, one can regard the boys as forming a separate society from the school organizational culture, defined by particular principles, location and background. If the emphasis in the definition of class lies on the idea of the same social position, the notion of school as a class of its own can thus be justified.


Basic Assumption in the school and Mr. Keating’s class

The school in the movie is a formally organize settings and all of the student are made to conform to this settings which are classified as tradition, honor, discipline and excellence. This formality is strictly adhered by the authorities of the school and never taking for granted. On the other hand in Mr. Keating’s class, it is contrary to the laid settings of the school. He made the student to believe in their self and also walk the path of individualist.

Values and Beliefs

The values and beliefs in any society is the instrument that shapes individual in that society according to the movie, students are expected to be guided by the beliefs and value of the school. Every Welton students are required to trust the doctrine of the school without any defiant, these have been the normal tradition of the school since its inception. Mr. Keating’s in a way did not only help his student with the values and beliefs of the school but he guided his students into an expended awareness of life’s possibilities

Artifacts and Creations

The school in the movies maintained its old edifice, this kind of depict conformity with the early doctrine of the school. This also explains that even with the dynamic trend in the society, the school authority still cling to the old doctrine of the school. However the style of communication or language exercise by the teachers in the school was more of an authoritative style in which student were not free to challenge or question the authority of their teachers.

The dead poets society was formed Mr. Keating in his days at Welton, this group then was against the norms of the school that was why its memory was never to be revisited or talked about in the school. Keating’s actually made this clear to his student, when he told them not to say or talked about the dead poet’s society.

It is very interesting to see how John Keating establishes the relationship with his

students in classroom and outside the classroom. He is quite open with his students about his attitude towards the world and his ideas about the purposes of life, and other general things, however, at the same time he doesn’t reveal his personal life. This is very understandable due to the fact that he is a teacher and his role as a teacher prevents him from getting too personal with

his students. Moreover, in our opinion, it was very important to keep this barrier

between the professor and his students because otherwise they could’ve lost their

respect for him as a teacher. At the same time, Keating was eccentric and open

enough to make his students be interested in him which helped in getting their

attention to poetry.

A) The different groups in the movie are as follows;

I) Teachers – these were responsible for the day to day teaching and providing guidance to the students of welt on academy.

Ii) Students – These were basically teenage boys aged 15-17 who were going to Welton academy as a preparatory school for college. The school was portrayed as being one of the best for producing intelligent students.

Iii) DPS – abbreviation for dead poets society, this was a literary club formed by eager students who wanted to draw meanings from what life really is all about by reading and reviewing poetry. The DPS recited poetry in two different contexts, romanticism and realism.

iv) Parents/guardians – these constituted parents who brought their children to welt on academy preparatory school, hoping to prepare a better future for their kids taking into account the reputation the school had.

V) Board of regents/ school administration – This was a governing body of the school concerned with all matters regarding the affairs of the students and teachers and the organizational protocols of the school.

vi) Affiliates – these were other people in the movie whom in one way or another made the boys lives what they are or what they ought to become and accomplish. Example Todd’s brother who was a lawyer what his parents wanted Todd to look up to, Knox’s crush Christine whom in a way helped Knox build his confidence and the list goes on and on…

vii) Study groups – These were studying groups for the students categorized depending on the area of study example Latin, chemistry etc.

B) The groups do differ basically in the way they are formed and the purpose from which they were created. Some of them are what are called formal groups while other is informal groups.

Starting with the formal groups, these were created by the structure of the organization basing on task needs and were usually involuntary. In this we can include the students themselves, teachers, board of regents/school administration and the parents. The students and the teachers are the key groups in forming the school environment were the actual educating/learning process is takes place. Parents’ role in all this is to ensure their children get proper education by addressing to their basic needs and wants. Board of regents/ school of administration were there to ensure that the learning process runs smoothly and that the rules and regulations of the school are adhered to by both students and teachers.

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The informal groups on the other hand were created by the members themselves to cater for particular needs in this case social needs and they were voluntary. In this we can include the dead poets society (DPS) group, affiliates and study groups. The DPS was created by its members led by Neil to try and find true meaning to life and to seize the day making the boys’ lives extraordinary as inspired by their teacher Mr. Keating. The affiliates existed because in one way or another are what the characters looked up to or tried to associate them with themselves in conquering day to day life challenges as teenage boys. Study groups were formed by the students for the sole purpose of striving to achieve both academically and socially in line with the school’s four pillars which were honor, discipline, excellence and tradition.

C) As mentioned above, the groups’ similarity basically lies in whether they are formal or informal groups. Formal groups were created by the structure of the organization and were involuntary while informal groups were created by the members themselves and they were voluntary.

Dissimilarity of these groups can be observed in the roles each group plays. The basic roles of each group are as follows;

Teachers – these played a role of conveying the knowledge they had acquired through training and experience to the students and provide guidance in the learning process.

Students – these were in search of knowledge and enrolled to the preparatory school to learn and prepare themselves for college.

Parents – these were the providers for the students’ needs and wants and also provided guidance.

Board of regents/schools administrators – ensured that the learning process runs smoothly

DPS – This group was in search of giving meaning to life through reciting poetry inspired by their teacher.

Study groups – formed for the sole purpose of co operating in studying and learning among students.

Affiliates – these acted as references or catalysts in either shaping or making the students behave in a certain way or achieve particular goals in their lives.


In the movie of “Dead Poets Society”, we see the culture of the Welton academy had very traditional and reflecting one of the most significant way which was influenced to the student and other social group. However the movie showed that Welton Academy was closely bound to the students’ families which were usually provided generation to generations of their forefathers had attended the school so that students automatically had to follow their tradition and principle like tradition, honor, discipline and excellence.

According to the movie “Dead Poets Society”, there are some strong groups where culture of the school and those groups are influence each other. Welton Academy was an interdisciplinary foundation where some elements of culture were illustrate to the teachers, students, parents or guardians group, school administration group and affiliates group to symbolic perspective of thinking, established guidelines and structures in their attempts to motivate and inspire each other. At the beginning of the story hallways, dormitories and class room are steadily introduced to the group of students that are at the center of the story. Students group has leadership abilities like Neil, self-confident and about to discover the inspiring power of poetry like Charlie Dalton are individually influences by the teacher group and administration group. Mr. Keating, English literature teacher was explored and motivated some elements of culture and illustrate to the students to desire for charismatic leadership, change raises question concerning about literature and real life. In parents group, we see most clearly in the value tight spot faced by Neil Perry and the opposition to his father. Neil and his father relationship were a struggle for control of all disagreements like battles with win-lose outcomes. Neil had wished to be an actor and knew that it would definitely be against his father’s wished. Another linked between parents and students group was Todd and his family. Todd’s parents had given him the same desk set which he got two following years and that was upsetting him. Instead to administration group, it was encouraging conformity through seduction to the students group. In this movie Students made a group name Dead poets society (DPS) which was insolence and penalize the deviant by the administration. But this group would be continued of some students to take part by all kind of persuade, pressure and negotiate. Neil was a leader in that group activity who praises his accomplishments and shares personal secrets with others.

Moreover, In our view of “Dead poets society” movie, the dissimilarity of above mention groups like teachers, students, parents, boarding of regents or schools administrators, dead poet society, study groups and also affiliates can be observed in the roles each group plays and we can see they are linked to each other.


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