Explain the significance of a Motif from "The Dead Poet's Society" and show how it creates cohesion throughout the text.

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Patricia Silhy

Explain the significance of a Motif from “The Dead Poet’s Society” and show how it creates cohesion throughout the text.  


Society plays a key role that influences people’s thoughts and choices in life. This is clearly portrayed in the movie “The Dead Poet’s Society” directed by . Where a young professor Mr. Keating teaches his student’s the key of how to live life to its fullest, “Carpe diem”. Seize the day.

Furthermore, Poetry is a significant motif in this film. Due to this the boys learned to see a new spectrum of life, hope for a better tomorrow and most importantly have the courage to make a difference through actions. The name of the film “The Dead Poet’s Society” reflects societies influence and the boys’ response to it . The word “poets” connotes a person which is moved by their dreams and also believes he/she can make a difference. “Poets” resembles the boys who are dreamers and believe they can make a difference. On the contrary, the word “dead” connotes paralysis implying that society paralysed their dreams and ideas. This is revealed when the boys where given the opportunity to think freely and make their own choices. With this contrast Weir wishes to highlight that we are individuals in a society, free thinkers not slaves of those who impose their ideas upon us.

In addition, by the use of poetry the director emphasizes the message he wishes to convey to the audience. “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may…and this same flower today, tomorrow will be dying. (Robert Herrick) This poem is read by Mr. Pitts when Mr. Keating introduced himself to his class.  Robert Herrick uses “rosebuds” in this poem denoting all the happy memories of life, and all the opportunities that will arise and bloom, yet these must be grasped instantly or else the opportunity shall be gone. Herrick also uses the word “flower” which denotes youth and beauty. This polysemous meanings of the words rosebuds and flower reveals to us the hidden message the director wanted to give the audience through Herrick’s writing: it is essential to enjoy life’s moments to its maximum while it is possible, because we are not aware of  the true value of life therefore take it for granted.

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By this new theory of life the boys start to live differently day by day. Thus, it is possible to perceive a subtle change in the boy’s characters. For example, Todd a quiet introverted young man, who does not believe in his potential to change the world; we see his change as we see the poetry evolve through out the film. In Keating’s second class he tells them the following poem of Walt Whitman

“O me, O life …Of cities filled with the foolish

What good amid these O me O life?

Answer that you are here.

That ...

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