Essay: How and which is literature used in the film Dead Poet’s Society?

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  • How and which is literature used in the film Dead Poet's Society?
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1. Foreword

During a cold winter night, I wanted to spend my time in a pleasant way. So I decided to see a film and luckily for me, ‘Dead Poets Society’ was on Tv that night. I was touched by it and when the opportunity came to do something around it, I grabbed it with both hands. I never regretted watching it and the moment it was mentioned that we had to write a research competence that kind of literature flashed into my head. How Keating said: ‘Oh Captain, my Captain’ and how Anderson foreshadows a terrible happening by playing Puck in a Midsummer Night’s Dream. He was being trapped in doing what his parents wanted him to do: in their web of ambition and lack of thorough knowledge about their son. Problems that still exist nowadays; people can’t accept themselves and the ones surrounding them. Problems that won’t be solved by the making of a movie, but cultural and creative interpretation of how the world looks like, opens a door, to more options and opinions. It makes more possible.

For my research competence, I chose to watch the film ‘Dead Poets Society’ and to investigate it’s literary references. Due to my field of study, specifically modern languages, I chose to do a thing I like very much: watching a film, with some amazing actors in it, and do some research on great poems from talented poets. This film is a source of inspiration and happiness, with a touch of sadness. You laugh, you cry, you learn. I do not know when I started loving cinema and literature, but I want it to be a love of my life. And right now, I think that will come true. I am thinking about studying languages next year and a good film never seizes to amaze me. I find myself always extremely intrigued both by a good movie night/morning (‘day’) or a great book. I read ‘Goodbye to Berlin’ from Isherwood and now I’m very fond of it. I had the same feeling while watching ‘Dead Poets Society’, I was moved by its characters and especially by the teacher: John Keating. Robin Williams did a marvelous job portraying him. He can crawl into the character of anyone he wants to. It is a movie with a tear and a laugh: some like it, others don’t. It is movie about the importance teaching, poetry, finding yourself, stick to your own interests and values, family, individuality, inspiration, creativity, the fight against narrow-mindness, etc. It might be somewhat American, it has elements of glorification and clichés, but it contains nevertheless a truth. Everyone will find it in a different way, in a different scene.

2. Introduction

Poetry is being portrayed in a peculiar way. They speak about Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Shakespeare, Tennison, Robert Frost: the classics. Random lines are being quoted and cited whenever there is an appropriate link, lessons are being learned and friendships are being made thanks to these great writers. They are part of the foundation of English literature, an important part, and deserve to be treated with respect. The actors in the movie as well, they have grown and proved their talent in this film. Robin Williams was being nominated for an Oscar (by portraying John Keating) for a reason. He shone in Good Will Hunting and in Mrs. Doubtfire as well. Ethan Hawke has played in tons of films and was only 19 when playing Todd Anderson. He appears in Gattaca, before sunrise etc. The cast is what makes it such a special film: there is chemistry, it works. The film needs a bound before being successful. The characters need more than beautiful poetry: they need each other. Poetry can’t work on his own as well: it needs a reader, one who can appreciate its beauty and interpret it on his own, without ruining the magic it has in it. How you can express a feeling, create a whole new world with only some words, verbs, adjectives: the mystery of language can never be solved. Its beauty lies in its self-possessiveness. Nobody can steal your words. When you don’t find them, you can make them. You are able to be the founder of a new empire with nothing more than syllables. Those who received the special gift of writing, like the classics, have to be remembered. Even if it is ‘cliché or superficial’: as long as we don’t forget our rare power of communication on a leaf of paper and on respect for the results and its creators, the world isn’t lost and humanity still exists. But at the same time, words set boundaries; there doesn’t seem to be enough words. Our brains are our limits. When you’ve given something a name, you’ve determined it as something: you killed all other possibilities. The world is the one you created, but can be changed with a certain interpretation. An own word. An own voice. A personal vision.

3. Literary references and the research
3.1. Research Question: How and which is literature used in the film? What is the difference in the meaning the film gives to it and the interpretation the writer or poet himself gave to it while writing? (in general)
3.2. Introduction: the film: Robin Williams and plot
3.3. Dead poets society and Henry David Thoreau: Which works are used from Thoreau and why? What did Thoreau mean? What does Mr. Keating mean?
3.4. Dead Poets Society and Walt Whitman: Why is Whitman so often mentioned? What is the importance of his poems (especially: Oh Captain My Captain!)
3.5. Dead Poets Society and Carpe Diem

3.1 Research Question: How and which is literature used in the film? What is the difference in the meaning the film gives to it and the interpretation the writer or poet himself gave to it while writing? (in general)

3.2 Introduction: the film: Robin Williams and plot
John Keating, lover of the letters, is played by Robin Williams. The comedian was born in 1951 and his death (at the age of 63) in 2014 had a great impact in the cinematic world. He was known for his improvisational performances and in Dead Poets Society, he has this original, personal input as well. He attended Claremont Men’s College and College of Marin and after that, he went to Juilliard School in NYC. He was a stand-up comedian and worked on some TV programs before his real ‘big-screen’ debut in 1980, in Popeye. He can be seen in Moscow on the Hudson and Good Morning Vietnam, but at the same time as his break-through in the performance industry, he dealt with some personal troubles as well. Acting is more than just the bright side and spotlight: he had a drug and alcohol problem and this addiction would follow him the next decades. He had some affairs during his marriage and after his divorce with Valerie Velardi, he got remarried with Marsha Garces. His acting career grew but he had a drug relapse in 2006 and divorced in 2008 from Garces. He married for the third time in 2011. On August 11, 2014 Robin Williams passed away: he had a rough time, he suffered from a severe depression and anxiety and he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was suffering from a sort of dementia. He had committed suicide, by hanging himself. His last film, ‘boulevard’, was released after his dead, in 2015. On social media, a lot of photos appeared from fans, with captions such as ‘Oh Captain! My Captain!’ (a reference to a famous poem from Walt Whitman.)

The film was made in 1989: there is a main character, Mr Keating: but his importance lies in his connection with his pupils: ‘It takes two to tango.’ It received critical acclaim and Tom Schulman even won the ‘Academy Award for best original Screenplay’ because of this masterpiece. The events from the film itself take place in 1959 in a prep-school for boys only. The main group of friends consist of more or less 7 boys, one somewhat more important than the other. Neil Perry, the passionate actor with the pushy parents who want him to achieve as much as possible in his life, ‘the best for him’, is a key figure in this film together with Todd Anderson, the shy boy with his brother as an honor student, a great precedent. The others are Knox Overstreet (who’s in love with Chris Noel), Steven Meeks, Charlie Dalton, Richard Cameron and Gerard Pitts. They have a new teacher for English literature, teaching in a totally different way then his colleagues: he thinks ‘out of the box’ and wants his students to do that as well. ‘Make your life extraordinary’, he says. He states this in numerous lessons, from ripping a theoretical poetry-page from their book, to walking in the courtyard, to citing poetry while playing football. He wants to form them as individuals with their own minds, feelings, passions, goals in life. Neil Perry wants to follow his dreams and become an actor, but his surroundings are intoxicating: he doesn’t dare to speak up, when he does, there isn’t being listened to his will and preferences. His parents ignore him, he’s deeply unhappy, sees no way out. He’s made himself clear but his dreams remain distant, unsure of what to do, the most tragic event takes place at the happiest and worst night of his entire life. That night, when he played Puck and his father saw him, but didn’t welcome him for who he really was. He wanted him to follow his dream: go to the Ivy League and be able to do ‘med school’. A well-desired study-field.

Todd has gone through the most remarkable metamorphoses. It seems like he has finally found his voice. He was always hiding in the shadow of his known, intelligent family. People expected a lot from him and he remained a wallflower. Every year, he gets the same lame birthday present: his parents don’t shown interest, they don’t do an effort. His first change starts when he befriends Neil and his friend. He becomes a part of their crew on the background. When deciding to join their ‘Dead Poets Society’, as a listener, he marks his place in the group. He chooses to be part of it and develops while following Mr. Keating his lessons and having good friends. His ultimate change is there when he has to improvise because he hasn’t prepared a poem because of his insecurity. But then something happens, a loss. He feels helpless when this sudden change of events is there, the two people who inspired him the most in his life are being tormented by society. But he can find his way back and he finds the courage to stand up, on his desk and say the magical words, he can reward Keating for everything he has done for him. For learning how to be an individual. The shyest of all in the beginning has the most remarkable voice at the end.

3.3 Dead Poets Society and Henry David Thoreau
In Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams portrays a teacher who teaches more than just knowledge. He gives them inspiration. He gives them poetry. Every group of friends has something in common, some have a pub they like or a shared passion, a secret place, a common feeling. But the students from Welton, the prestigious high school in Vermont learn how to reach the path of success by the four pillars: tradition, honor, discipline, excellence. That is, until they meet their new English teacher. He was member of the former Dead Poets Society, in his blooming youth. He gives them the object of the gatherings from his time, the bespoken book: when reading the book from the former Dead Poets Society, filled with poems, they have a new life, with gatherings in a secret cave by night. That is the first sentence of the book as well, it is a poem from Henry Thoreau.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…”

(the original poem) He wrote this as an answer of his chapter ‘Where I Lived and what I lived for’. The title is a question. He needs ‘to front only the essential facts of real life’, this means either material things you actually need to survive: a roof and a plate filled with some food or ‘the core of human existence’. Thoreau mixes his philosophical finds with facts. ‘When I came to die, discover that I had not lived…’, when you interpret this literally it is not humanly possible but he isn’t deeply satisfied with his live, he thinks it was a waste of some kind, he hasn’t reached the inner fulfillment he wanted. Thoreau, with his new wave of Transcendentalism, is often somewhat experimenting. He has a kind of vagueness, he doesn’t have a steady answer to his questions but he is playing with a possibility. Thoreau wants ‘to live deliberately’. He wants to lead his own life: according to his own deliberation and with no intervention from others, an independent path. But it stays vague, it is mystical and higher spheres: ‘choosing to live’ a certain life ore ‘seeking to exist’ is something you can’t do. In this one phrase, he makes us think about life and how to live it, while we get the impression that it is a phrase about his wooden cabin, standing there in nature.

(In the adaptation) The boys went to the woods because they wished to live deliberately as well, as Thoreau describes it in his series of essays, Walden. He published it in 1854, he had worked on it for 9 years. In Walden, Thoreau describes how he tried to live a simple life in a wood, close to a lake (Walden Pont): he made in 1845, at the age of 27, a wooden cabin near Walden Pont. In Walden he describes living there for one year, but he lived there two years and two months in real life. He began eating the food the wood offered him: fruits, vegetables and beans he planted. He went rowing, swimming, fishing and reached a state of meditation by living there, in nature. He combines the semi-autobiographic part with criticism on some values of American Society: he has created an alternative, his way of living. I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

These words provide the answer to the question posed by the title of Thoreau’s chapter “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For.” The first part of this title is a practical concern about a place of residence, while the second part is a deeply philosophical concern about the meaning of life. Thoreau combines the practical and the philosophical in his Walden project, and thus the phrase “the essential facts of life” can refer both to material necessities like food and shelter and also to the core of human existence. The double aspect of Walden, its treatment of hard facts as well as philosophical questions, is also evident in his mention of living at the end. Taken factually and literally, it is of course impossible for Thoreau to die understanding that “I had not lived.” But taken philosophically, life means not just biological functioning but also inner fulfillment. The experimentalism of Thoreau’s endeavor is expressed in his frank acknowledgement that he is testing out an idea, rather than proving a foregone conclusion. Finally, the obscure mystical side of Thoreau—which makes him often appear more of a visionary than a philosopher—is evident in his famous phrase “to live deliberately.” On a literal level, he wishes to choose his path of life independently and thoughtfully, subject to his own deliberation and no one else’s. But on a higher level, the phrase is mystical and haunting, since of course nobody ever chooses to live or deliberately seeks to exist. As elsewhere in the work, Thoreau here forces us to contemplate the transcendent meaning of human life even while we think he is simply referring to a cabin in the woods.

(Thoreau Biography) Thoreau met Ralph Waldo Emerson in his sophomore year at Harvard and they became the founders of one of the most important literary movements in the 19th century in America: New England Transcendentalism. Their visions were very alike and Emerson was a source of inspiration for Thoreau. Transcendentalists want to appreciate everything life has to offer: they want to go to the core, to understand nature, to do only things when it enriches you or when you care. To gain knowledge by focusing on the essential parts of life, everything has a meaning, leads to some place: by living deliberately, he would see what basic facts of life was. While being basic, it is possible to by happy. Thoreau loved nature and was a precursor of ecology. He wrote Civil Disobedience as well, it was released in 1849 and shows us how an individual can revolt against a mass, an unjust government. It was a precedent for non-violent resistance and in this essay he defended civil liberties. Thoreau was a modern man; an activist -he was against the possession of slaves. This resistance inspired many other great artists, such as Lev Tostoj, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

In his life Walden was of remarkable importance, but in the film, leading a deliberate life has his own meaning. Anderson’s parents push him into med school, they want him to get his degree, to become rich and have success. They don’t care about his passion for acting, his talent for theatre: they are surrendered by the material world, they are the prototype of its prey. He can’t be himself, can’t lead a life that he wants to lead: he is being trapped. Trapped in an untrue world, his only escape used to be going into the woods at night, with his friends, to read poetry. They need a hiding place, but the cave is more than that: it shuts whatever is happening in the outside world, down. They can lead a deliberate life there. They are individuals, one with nature: with themselves. There is no need for pretending, it is an escape: they revolt in their own way. The pupils sneak out, make plans together, they turn their backs against the conformity and rules of Welton, at least some of them do. The wood and the book with poems are object of this ‘Transcendentalism’.

(Thoreau: second poem) Thoreau is an important poet in this film. Not only does he have the honor to be the opening quote for their gatherings, but in one of Keating’s most inspirational lessons, he teaches them to look at things for a different point of view as well by citing him. Thoreau wrote:

‘The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation’ in the first chapter ‘Economy’ of Walden. He is sometimes a visionary, rather than a poet. He had a real message for the civilization, the ‘masses’: he wanted to support them and teach them, help them. He occupies himself with society and the people. ‘Desperation’ is hard, he wants to prove a point, to accentuate the darkness he sees in ‘the mainstream American lifestyle’. The ‘essential facts of life’ are more than shimmering wealth: thinking about money and material has lessened the value of our lives, while we fool ourselves saying that it is worthwhile and of rare importance. We forget the great simplicities of life. It causes ‘Desperation’. Desperation is more than that. Thoreau admired the writer, Dante and in his Inferno, the words ‘lack of hope’ were forged on the gates of hell. It has something mystical, religious. ‘All men lead lives of quiet desperation’ and because of that, they can’t reach heaven. They don’t have redemption because they are stuck in the ‘Inferno of desperation’.

(In the film) In the movie, the sentence stands for conformity. The lack of individuality and criticism. Men are meak sheep, conforming them to everyone, not having an own will. Just following the stream. Nobody has the power to think for himself because it is easier that way. Blaming others, change your mind quickly, doing whatever is best for yourself. It is a turning point for the relation between Keating and his students and more importantly, in the very mindset of his pupils, or at least some of them. Keating is almost heroic, while talking ardently about finding your own voice. Finding your own interpretation. He wants them to ‘constantly look at things in a different way’ and while standing on his desk, he explains how trying to think for yourself is essential in life. To ‘break out and to look around’: not to just think what the author thinks, but to choose a meaning yourself, to read it with your personal thoughts. He wants to evolve this thought by letting everyone stand on his desk, in front of the class and to look around them. They will see the world from a different light that way. With a different insight, they can evolve and better themselves. They have to do that before it is too late because ‘most men live lives of quiet desperation’. They are living in the mass, conforming themselves to others while they’re being untrue to themselves. They are not breaking free, but they’re silently suffering. Living desperate, not knowing what to do. Not being able to continue the pilgrimage to the truth. They have to be sure that they won’t become someone like demons of themselves, shadows of their inner passions. They can make a difference: everyone has a certain weight, importance in the world and however little that is, it can be the cause of an important turn of events.

It is possible to connect the cave where they have their gatherings with Plato’s cave in the allegory of the cave. We think that we know the world by what we see, we understand it, the shadows in the cave. But we are limited. Our knowledge doesn’t reach far enough. We are captured in the cave and we can’t look beyond it. There is probably a whole other truth. A real one instead of the projection, the appearance. The real knowledge is someplace else. We are safe in our cave, we aren’t that tempted to go outside, because it contains more than wisdom: it contains danger and risks as well. But Keating wants his students to become wise and when you’re wise, you want to stick to your knowledge. He has inspired certain students: most of all Todd Anderson and Neil Perry. When Neill decides to go outside his personal ‘cave’, he has to bear some consequences. When playing theatre, he took the risks: his family didn’t agree. But he wanted a broader view, his father kept him as a prisoner in his own dreams. They weren’t Neil’s dreams. He revolts: he shakes the posh teachers of him. He finds his voice and his goal in life. He isn’t planning on restricting his aims. It is time for him to follow his dream.

To expand his visions and his purposes: to become independent and not to repeat his father’s words like a parrot, without his free will. He renounces the tenets of his father and his conservative teachers. They see themselves as ‘older and wiser’ and they link it to a justification for everyone to listen and do everything they tell you to. They think that they’re authorized and they act like gods, superiors. His father is still kept in the cave. He finds himself mighty with his hope and ambitions, a leader of those in the cave. But he is too comfortable there, not willing to sacrifice what he has got. He can’t understand his son’s passion for theatre, in the world outside the cave, his son identifies himself with that form of art. The leaders from the cave see themselves as enlighteners for the next generation. They have found ‘knowledge’, false knowledge. With attributes and severity and forms of respect, they want to emphasize their superiority. But the fact that they need all that, those accessories, to be taken seriously, means that their own words an ideas don’t suffice. They want to mask their inferiority with beauty, power and glamour.

3.4 Dead Poets Society and Walt Whitman
(the importance of Whitman) While Shakespeare and Byron are being mentioned, the film mostly centers around Walt Whitman. The most iconic description of this man is being said by Todd. All the boys in the class had to do a writing exercise, but Todd hasn’t found his muse jet. His shyness got the upperhand. He claims having no inspiration, he doesn’t dare to speak out loud, to expose himself. But when he’s being forced to come to the front of the class and to improvise, his alter ego appears: there is a poet in him after all. He has to look at a portrait of a bearded man, with a threatening and penetrating look on his face. When Mr. Keating mentions the words ‘a barbaric yawp°’ while pointing at Walt’s portrait, Todd utters some words and becomes a master of improvisation. He has to come out of his cave, where he’d been hiding all along. He did join the others in their ‘Dead Poets Society’ but he refused to read something aloud. He has to fill in the shoes of his brother. His brother who was intelligent and beloved. But finally, here, he can have something of his own. His gift for poetry. He refers to Whitman as a sweaty-toothed madman. “I close my eyes and this image floats beside me a: sweaty toothed mad man with a stare that pounds my brains, his hands reach out and choke me and all the time he’s mumbling, mumbling truth, like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold, you push it, stretch it, it will never be enough you kick at it, beat it, it will never cover any of us from the moment we enter crying to the moment we leave dying it will just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream’’ (-see: scene in movie). The word yawp is being used as well to refer to Todd’s transformation: after all this time, his voice has been hidden, it can finally break free. And it doesn’t break free in a normal way, it comes from his darkest depths, but it is sincere.

(in the film adaptation) In his poem, Todd describes his deepest insecurity. The one of being not able to prove his value. He is insecure and has many complexes. He has a really low self-esteem and he doesn’t seem able to express himself, to handle the emotions he’s been dealing with. The blanket has something dark and mysterious and autobiographical. He is being strangled by the blanket, by his life. Normally, a blanket keeps you warm, you can nestle yourself in it, hug it: it helps you, it’s an aid. But in Todd’s version the blanket isn’t there to keep you warm. ‘It keeps your feet cold’. It is no source of comfort. ‘It will just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream’. He is being treated like that by his life, by himself: strangled in his insecurity and his helplessness. That’s what makes him such an admirable character. His metamorphoses. He got friends, the greatest source of his inspiration: John Keating, has given him a great deal, the evolutions are clear when the lessons evolve. He gets more and more comfortable. He has found his place in his class, with his roommates, his love for poetry. But after the death of his best friend, he has a relapse. He can’t form a coherent sentence. He is back to being helpless and shy. Until his grandiose words: ‘Oh Captain! My Captain’. Todd is the first one to stand up, to apologize, to crown mister Keating his Captain. His barbaric yawn has definitely appeared. His shyness disappeared. His metamorphosis is fulfilled. He shares his love for Mr. Keating with his class; and he gets a lot of response. The follower has become the leader. Standing on his desks, citing Whitman, the others soon follow and tears emerge in Mr. Keating’s eyes, as well as a sincere smile. A heart-broken smile, in the good way.

°Barbaric yawp= Song of Myself, (I, II, VI &) LII: ‘I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.’ (to shout out)

‘Oh Captain! My Captain!’. A sentence not only of major importance in this film, but in Whitman’s poetry as well. It has become his most popular poem from ‘Leaves of Grass’.

(biography Whitman) He is an American Transcendentalist as well and he rules the film, he seems a ghost. He was born in 1819 and died in 1892 in West Hills, Long Island: New York. He had eight siblings and grew up in New York, when he was old enough to work at the age of twelve and while being an apprentice in the printer’s trade he discovered his passion for letters. He had the gift of being smart enough to teach himself some things and like that he became inspired by the most famous works on earth: the Bible, Dante, Homer and the English Shakespeare. Due to a disaster, he starts working as a teacher and he does this till 1841. In his next career-switch, he becomes a journalist and founder of the Long-Islander. For his work as an editor, he moves to New Orleans where he is confronted with slavery. When he’s back in Brooklyn, he creates the Brooklyn Freeman, aspired by his frustrations against slavery, the happenings in New Orleans: in Brooklyn he feels more like being a Free Man. He is mostly famous for his poems and he had a famous admirer: Ralph Waldo Emerson, someone he has in common with Thoreau. He admires him very much. He sends a copy of his first edition of Leaves of Grass to him. Emerson called Leaves of Grass: “the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed.” Emerson is a great fan but Whitman doesn’t stop there: he purifies his volume and makes several editions of it. Then Civil War came but Walt wanted a purged life. At the time, he was a freelance journalist and a compassionate person: he visited the ones that got hurt during the war in the hospitals in his area. When he heard that his brother has been wounded, he searched him to be there for him in Washington. He had spent more time in Washington than expected: he stayed there during eleven years and he worked in the hospitals there, in his free time. The traumatic experiences of war served as an inspiration for his poems in Drum-Taps (in 1865) where he writes an elegy for president Lincoln as well: ‘When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d’. Here, his love for Lincoln is already clear: it will be wide-known due to his most famous poem: ‘O Captain! My Captain!’ When he had found a job for the Department of Interior, he was fired because his boss was offended by his chef-d’oeuvre, leaves of grass.

He was an altruist, leading a modest life but spending his money on the wounded and sending it to his family as well. He had to visit his dying mother in New Jersey, but stayed there, with his brother, for his health (he had had a stroke), till he had enough money from ‘leaves of grass’ to buy a house for himself. He spent the last years of his life in a simple house while writing his final volume: ‘Good-Bye, My Fancy’. America has known some very talented poets but he and Emily Dickinson are seen as the center of poetry in 19th century America. He was a source of inspiration for many great successors. He worked on Leaves of Grass from 1855 till 1891/1892 and was in loves with themes such as friendship, love, nature and democracy.

There were some rows about his way of writing in America, he received mixed criticism but was much loved in England. He as well had difficulty becoming popular during his life-time, a well-known phenomenon among artists, but he became a legend: the first writer of a truly American poetry. Many people came to his funeral. He is so important because of his free verse. He is a proponent of individuality and he cheers life experiences. He could only inspire other artists because he had found inspiration in some values, near to his heart, like freedom and expression: he became their spokesman.
His most famous poem is an elegy he wrote for Abraham Lincoln. ‘Oh Captain, My Captain!’

(importance of Oh captain, My Captain’)In the film, Mr. Keating asks his students to call him ‘Oh Captain, My Captain’ , if they want to, at their first meet. Keating gives some lessons in the courtyard, others while playing football: he keeps his students busy in an entertaining manner. He is not only a teacher. He is there for his students. He leads them through life, can be their mentor, in a father-like way.

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