The Art of Non-Conformity within the Dead Poet's Society
By Nicola Irving
Every aspect of Welton Academy points to the founders' beliefs: the necessity for conformity. ''Tradition, Honour, Discipline and Excellence'', expectations are defined by these four words. From the formal uniforms to the dull lessons and teachers, Welton is an authoritarian and rigid environment. The Dead Poet's Society highlights the eternal conflict between conformity and non-conformity.
Mr. John Keating, the school's new English teacher, had fresh, idealistic and unorthodox teaching methods which he used to enrich the lives of many young men.
His teaching style was vastly different from the predictable and boring style of the other teachers. On his first day at the school, he instructed the students to rip out the introduction from their text books because it was all about how to score and read poetry. Mr. Keating believed that poetry cannot simply be measured but that it conveys a visceral message to the reader.
Mr. Keating encouraged the students to practice freedom of thought, which he called Carpe Diem - Seize the day. ''Answer. That you are here – that life exists and identity. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse'', this quote by Walt Whitman summed up his message that each boy is the master of his own destiny.
Mr. Keating encouraged each boy to search for his individual identity and to feel free to express it. As the epitome of non-conformity, he was an inspiration to the boys. ''I stand on my desk to remind myself that we must always look at things in a different way'', tells us that he believes that there are many ways to look at things in life. ''Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the road less travelled by and that has made all the difference'', this quote inspired Mr. Keating and inspired the boys too.
Non-conformity has its dangers. Welton Academy, like many other schools was so against transcendentalism and...