Dead Poets’ Society
One hundred years ago, in 1859, 41 boys sat in this room and were asked the same question that greets you at the start of each semester. Gentlemen, what are the four pillars?
Tradition, honor, discipline, excellence.
In her first year, Welton Academy graduated five students. Last year we graduated fifty-one. And more than seventy-five percent of those went on to the Ivy League. This, this kind of accomplishment is the result of fervent dedication to the principles taught here. This is why you parents have been sending us your sons. This is why we are the best preparatory school in the United States.
Ah, Mr. Anderson. You have some big shoes to fill, young man. Your brother was one of our best.
"Oh Captain, My Captain" who knows where that comes from? KEATING
Not a clue? It's from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can call me Mr. Keating. Or, if you're slightly more daring, Oh Captain, My Captain.
Now let me dispel a few rumors so they don't fester into facts. Yes, I too attended Hell-ton and survived. And no, at that time I was not the mental giant you see before you. I was the intellectual equivalent of a ninety-eight pound weakling. I would go to the beach and people would kick copies of Byron in my face.
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, old time is still a flying, and this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying."
Thank you Mr. Pitts. "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." The Latin term for that sentiment is Carpe Diem. Now who knows what that means? MEEKS
Carpe Diem. That's "seize the day."
Because we are food for worms lads. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die.
Now I would like you to step forward over here and peruse some of the faces from the past. You've walked past them many times. I don't think you've really looked at them.
They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you. Their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in.
Keep ripping gentlemen. This is a battle, a war. And the casualties could be your hearts and souls.
Now in my class you will learn to think for yourselves again. You will learn to savor words and language. No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. I see that look in Mr. Pitt's eye, like nineteenth century literature has nothing to do with going to business school or medical school. Right? Maybe. Mr. Hopkins, you may agree with him, thinking "Yes, we should simply study our Mr. Pritchard and
learn our rhyme and meter and go quietly about the business of achieving other ambitions." I have a little secret for ya. Huddle up. Huddle up! KEATING
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are all noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman: "O me, o life of the questions of these recurring, of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, o me, o life? Answer: that you are here. That life exists, and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.
You take a big risk by encouraging them to be artists John. When they realize they're not Rembrandts, Shakespeares or Mozarts, they'll hate you for it.
We're not talking artists George, we're talking free thinkers.、
Free thinkers at seventeen?
Funny, I never pegged you as a cynic.
Not a cynic, a realist. Show me the heart unfettered by foolish dreams, and I'll show you a happy man.
But only in their dreams can man be truly free. 'Twas always thus, and always thus will be.
What was the Dead Poets Society?
I doubt the present administration would look too favorably upon that. KEATING
The Dead Poets were dedicated to sucking the marrow out of life. That's a phrase from Thoreau that we'd invoke at the beginning of each meeting. You see we'd gather at the old Indian cave and take turns reading from Thoreau, Whitman, Shelley; the biggies. Even some of our own verse. And in the enchantment of the moment we'd let poetry work its magic.
“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout，击溃！ all
that was not life, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
Henry David Thoreau 美国超验主义作家，代表作品“The Warden”《瓦
Thank you for playing, Mr. Dalton. I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way. KEATING
You see, the world looks very different from up here. You don't believe me? Come see for yourself. Come on. Come on!
Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in another way. Even though it may seem silly or wrong, you must try! Now, when you read, don't just consider what the author thinks. Consider what you think.
Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." Don't be resigned to that. Break out! KEATING
No grades at stake, gentlemen. Just take a stroll.
If you noticed, everyone started off with their own stride, their own pace. KEATING
Mr. Pitts, taking his time. He knew he'll get there one day. Mr. Cameron, you could see him thinking, "Is this right? It might be right. It might be right. I know that. Maybe not. I don't know." KEATING
Mr. Overstreet, driven by deeper force. Yes. We know that. All right. Now, I didn't bring them up here to ridicule them. I brought them up here to illustrate the point of conformity: the difficulty in maintaining your own beliefs in the face of others. Now, those of you -- I see the look in your eyes like, "I would've walked differently." Well, ask yourselves why you were clapping. Now, we all have a great need for acceptance. But you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular, even though the herd may go, "That's baaaaad." Robert Frost said, "Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Now, I want you to find your own walk right now. Your own way of striding,
pacing. Any direction. Anything you want. Whether it's proud, whether it's silly, anything. Gentlemen, the courtyard is yours. KEATING
You don't have to perform. Just make it for yourself. Mr. Dalton? You be joining us?
Exercising the right not to walk.
Thank you, Mr. Dalton. You just illustrated the point. Swim against the stream.
Mr. Dalton. That was a pretty lame stunt you pulled today.
You're siding with Mr. Nolan? What about Carpe diem and sucking all the marrow out of life and all that?
Sucking the marrow out of life doesn't mean choking on the bone. Sure there's a time for daring and there's a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.
This was my first classroom, John. Did you know that? My first desk. KEATING
Didn't know you taught, Mr. Nolan.
English. Oh, long before your time. It was hard giving it up, I can tell you. I'm hearing rumors, John, about some unorthodox teaching methods in your classroom. I'm not saying they've anything to do with the Dalton boy's outburst. But I don't think I have to warn you boys his age are very impressionable.
Well, your reprimand made quite an impression, I'm sure. MR. NOLAN
What was going on in the courtyard the other day?
Yeah. Boys marching, clapping in unison.
Oh, that. That was an exercise to prove a point. Dangers of conformity. MR. NOLAN
Well, John, the curriculum here is set. It's proven it works. If you question, what's to prevent them from doing the same?
I always thought the idea of educating was to learn to think for yourself.
At these boys' ages? Not on your life! Tradition, John. Discipline. Prepare them for college, and the rest will take care of itself. CAMERON
We skipped around a lot, sir. We covered the Romantics and some of the chapters on Post Civil War literature. MR. NOLAN
What about the Realists?
I believe we skipped most of that, sir