John Keating Analysis

Topics: Leadership, Dead Poets Society, Charismatic authority Pages: 7 (2230 words) Published: March 10, 2010
Environmental description
Wellton Academy and time
Wellton Academy, a prestigious, preparatory school for boys in Vermont, New England is according to headmaster Nolan one of the “best school[s] in the US”. The preparatory school is an expensive private school and its philosophy insists on four pillars. Discipline, honor, excellence and tradition are the values that influence the society in Wellton, being emphasized and taught to young pupils up to the age of 18, who are most likely heirs of “White Anglo-Saxan Protestants”. The forefathers of the “WASP”s immigrated to the United States of America coming from Great Britain, aiming for a monopoly on positions with prestige and influence. Therefore one is able to assume, that mostly rich people send their sons to Wellton Academy. Considering the time, the plot takes place in the late 50ies but is not affected by historical circumstances. Neither the outcome of the 2nd World War nor by the economical accretion of the United States, have an impact on the plot.

Analysis of John Keatings Behavior

Before one is able to interpret John Keating’s consciousness and his cognition, one need to understand and therefore analyze his behavior. In John Keating’s behavior lies a chronology of actions. Already in the first encounter with his new class, he builds up a strong identification with the group, knowing the expression “Hellton” and exposing that he was once a Wellton-student as well. He then articulates an appealing vision with the words “Carpe diem” inspiring his students to seize the day. One could say he uses strong and expressive forms for articulating the vision during his classes. He encourages and he empowers the followers to “find [their] own walk” in order to “make [their] life extraordinary”. During the plot he becomes important for his followers in terms of support, encouragement and he also stresses out that he intends to become their mentor. Keating expresses the fact that he has high expectations and is communicating to his ollowers that through his lessons “[they] will learn to think for [themselves]” and that they “will learn to savor words and languages”. Within the plot the followers respond to him as “my captain”, which shows that John Keating has a remarkable ability to manage the follower’s impression of him. Another of his abilities allows him to model his behaviors according to his vision. It is not only that he inspires his followers with an appealing vision; eventually he might be regarded as the personification of the vision. The climax in the chronology of his actions could be identified as his suspension from Wellton; he has taken a personal risk and makes a huge self-sacrifice.  After analyzing his behavior one is able to understand his “construal”, the way how he perceives, comprehends and interprets Wellton Academy. Having experienced Wellton Academy from the perspective of a student, he accuses it of teaching conformity. Therefore he is intrinsically motivated to teach his students individuality. In his social cognition, he selects a few students based on their different level of self-esteem and tries to create in them people who perceive the world exactly like he does. Therefore a social tuning is to be recognized. Analyzing the group dynamics, one is able to realize that the group adopts furthermore primes John Keating’s attitude. In Neil Perry’s case one is able to recognize Keating’s “Fundamental Attribution Error”. Underestimating the social or parental relationship between Neil and his father, Keating encourages Neil to follow his passion, not knowing that Mr. Perry is very possessive about Neil’s future. As a result Neil commits suicide, which furthermore has an effect on John Keating self awareness. He realizes that he might be guilty and therefore he cries.         


John Keatings Leadership Style

     According to Mike Vanice "Leadership is...

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