Dead Poet's Society

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English 101
10/6/11
Dead Poet’s Society
What happens at an all-boy, rich, private academy? I don’t know, but the Dead Poet’s Society gives us a good inside look at what goes on in this particular one: Welton Academy. This clip shows a very innovative teacher on the first day of school, trying to reach out to his students with an unorthodox way of teaching, especially for Welton. Through stereotypes, camera angles and shots, the tone and lack of music, the director creates an ambiance that directs the viewer to see the implicit and explicit messages towards education.

Based in the 1950’s, this movie is about a new English and poetry teacher who is determined to teach his boys to live life with ultimate passion and love it. A group of his students take such teachings to heart and decide to recreate the Dead Poet’s Society, a secret club that meets in a cave and discusses poetry and philosophy, which is forbidden at Welton Academy because they discourage students from thinking for themselves. In this, the students begin to embark on their own adventures to follow their heart’s desires, which can lead down a difficult path for some of them.

This particular scene is the first day of school with the new teacher, Mr. Keating. He walks past his students and out the door expecting them to follow. He takes them to the foyay, which houses all of the old pictures of Welton students. All of the pictures are black and white. Mr. Keating asks one of the students to read the beginning of a poem “To The Virgin’s To Make Much of Time”. “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, old times are still a flying. And this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying.” The significance of this poem is the motto that he hopes to instill in his students: Carpe Diem. He has the boys lean in, in silence, and look at the pictures. While studying the past, Mr. Keating slowly, eerily, whispers “Carpe…carpe… carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary. “ The clip...
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