English Comp II
September 25, 2009
Conforming to a Successful Life
American Education. What are it‘s faults? No doubt when this question is posed, an abundance of answers arise. The movie The Dead Poet’s Society set at Welton Academy, a traditional private school in Vermont superficially attempts to pose an answer to one of the shortcomings of our education system. The students of Welton Academy are taught a rigorous academia in orthodox methods in attempts to prepare them for life in a medical field (or some other extraordinary career their parents desire). That is until Mr. Keating (Robert Williams) enters the student’s lives. Mr. Keating attended Welton Academy as a youth himself, but the views and perspectives he tries to impart upon these young teens are much different than that of fellow teachers at the Academy. Without words, the director brings this point home by showing short scenes with the typical Welton teachers, followed by the setting of Mr. Keatings first class. This brings to light immediately that Mr. Keatings is using non-orthodox methods in comparison to others at the Academy.
In one shocking scene, Mr. Keating is in disagreement with a textbook’s method of analyzing poetry by way of using a mathematical calculation. He responds by instructing all of the students to rip out the introduction of the text and throw it away. In this scene he is trying to instill in the students the mentality to question authority, question everything. In scenes such as this we see that from Mr. Keating’s perspective, non conformity is the key to living life fully. Mr. Keating would’ve been in agreement with Robert Scholes when he said “In this age of massive manipulation and disinformation, criticism is the only way we have of taking something seriously” (375).
In another scene he takes the students into the hallway outside the classroom where he draws their attention to the trophies and old black and white... [continues]
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