Dead Poets Society Essay, Research Paper
When I first saw Dead Poets Society, it was nothing I expected. The film is quite serious and it is without question the best movie I’ve ever seen. It takes place in 1959 at Welton Academy, a private collage prep school for boys where discipline is the most important goal and any demonstration of a free thought is strictly prohibited . One voice stands out among narrow-minded administration-John Keatings, eccentric and inspiring teacher. He wants his students to “suck the bone of life to the marrow”, “to seize the day”, and to make their lives “extraordinary”. Keatings teaches poetry, but his students get a lot more than that- they learn passion, courage, and romance. Group of his students dare to form Dead Poets Society, a secret organization. One of the boys, Neil, who wants to be an actor but whose overbearing father forbids him to , commits a suicide and dies . His roommate , Todd, is trying to live up to expectations after his brother becomes the school’s valedictorian. At the end, Mr. Keatings is fired after being accused of having a negative impact on his students.
Self-esteem becomes one of the centers of the movie. 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 Keatings, was able to build up his self-esteem . John Keatings wasn’t a regular professor: his teaching methods were very different from those of others in Welton Academy. The relationship between Todd and professor Keatings 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. Keatings when doing so could lead to expelling from the school.
It is very interesting to see how John Keatings establishes the relationship with his students. 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 my 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, Keatings was eccentric and open enough to make his students be interested in him which helped in getting their attention to poetry.
Unfortunately, we live in the world “with more emphasis on what is wrong with us than on what’s right about us” (Michael Cody), and because of that there are people who depend on the approval of others in order to feel good about themselves. People with low self-esteem try to avoid showing their unfavorable characteristics and in order to do so they avoid taking action at all. When Todd Andersen refuses to read his poem in professor Keatings’ class, he is afraid of getting negative opinion from his classmates, moreover, he truly believes that he is not able to write poetry. However, John Keatings neither gives him an “F” nor lets him sit down. What does he do? He makes Todd believe in himself. He says: “Mr. Anderson thinks that everything inside of him isworthless and embarrassing, isn’t that right Todd, isn’t that your worst fear? Well, I think you’re wrong, I think you have something inside of you that is worth a great deal.”Saying this was enough to make Todd believe that he is just as any other students of his class is able to write a poem. And he does improvise a poem so well that he impresses Keatings and all his friends. When individuals experience success, they grow in self-confidence. And as their self-esteem grows, they will feel more comfortable to face new challenges.
Perhaps the highest purpose of education is for the individual to become aware of oneselves because when people know themselves they can maximize good outcomes, for it is through awareness that we are able to choose our goals and create our destiny. Todd suffers from low self-esteem, and this low self-esteem prevents him from seeing his own strength thus making Todd to be unaware of his positive traits.He himself creates his own limits by having a negative concept of himself.
Dead Poets Society changed my own perception of myself and others. I have a low self-esteem: I am very sensitive to what others think about me. This movie helped me to realize that my low self-esteem is a big problem and that because of it I probably miss out on many things. My academic achievements are not as high as I would want it to be because I am afraid of speaking in public, participating in classes. It would probably change if I was more confident in myself. I suddenly realized that my low self-esteem might be the cause of the biggest mistake of my life- quitting my piano lessons. This realization is painful for me- I have not found anything that would interest me as much as playing piano did. I quit because one morning I woke up thinking that I would never be able to be really good at it, I would never be able to sit in front of hundreds of people and play. Thinking that every person in the audience would evaluate me, noticing every little mistake, the way I dress, sit, made me feel so terrible, I just couldn’t face it.
Mr. John Keatings guides his students into an expended awareness of life’s possibilities, and I can only wish to find someone who will help me to find myself. For now, I am alone : neither my parents, friends, nor my boyfriend will help me, and I don’t blame them. In their eyes I am a young sophisticated women who knows where she goes and what she wants from life, but inside I am a scared little girl who is not sure about anything in her life. I realized after watching this movie that we are too complex and many â?”sided to rate ourselves as “bad” or “good”, even more than that , we shouldn’t rate ourselves at all. However, it is part of our nature to often evaluate ourselves, and self doubt might become our companion throughout our lives; still it doesn’t mean that we have to think about ourselves as “good” of “bad” in general. We might want to evaluate our specific actions in specific circumstances in order to avoid mistakes that we made in the future. By assuming that we are bad, we program ourselves for the failure.
In our culture, many of us have hopes that are too high and expectations of ourselves that are very hard to accomplish. I, myself, set the goals that even I know I probably wouldn’t be able to reach. I want everything the best: my own successful company, perfect family, big house, I want to be healthy, beautiful, and loved by everyone. I want everybody to like me, that’s why opinion of others is so important. Meanwhile, I know that it is not possible for everyone to like me, there will be people with opinions that are different from mines and there will be people who don’t like the way I look. John Keatings urged his students to make their lives extraordinary, and I don’t think he meant that they have to make their lives seem extraordinary in eyes of others. We’d better live in such way that we are satisfied with what we are doing, rewarding every little success, being who we are. Being who we are is difficult; our society expects us to act in a certain way, which is often very different from what we really want
I hope I’ll be able to learn to love myself, to see in myself things that are positive. If I think hard, I might come up with some things already: I do adore children, I like helping people, and I am generous. I guess it makes me a better person. Todd was very fortunate to open up, to believe in himself. I hope that some day I will be able to be so fortunate too, but first I’ll have to do a lot of looking, exploring, learning, listening and living. It’s the only way to find the answers about who I really am.