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The Dead Poets Society

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April Summers

on 19 March 2014

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Transcript of The Dead Poets Society

Welton Academy
Mr. Keating
The "study" group
Dead Poet's Society revived
The upset
"O Captain! My Captain!"
Leadership and Power
By Alicia, Ashlyn, Jade, Caleb, Katie, April and Allison
The Dead Poets Society
Decision Making
Decision Making is seen throughout this whole movie, here is one example.

Symbolism - a representation of a referent.
Referent - what the symbol refers to.
Example: symbol =

Referent =
Mercedes Bens. Also luxery, prestige, having money, etc.

Conclusion: you can show the symbol and people will usually know the referent.
Symbols is DPS

Much of the movie is based on how students should only think analytically, and not care about liberal arts, or viewing the world in a different way.
One teacher even told Mr. Keating that he's wasting his time, because, "None of them are going to be the next Mozart or Shakespeare, so it's pointless to try."
: An overview.
Example of Symbolism in DPS
Symbolism - Neil wearing crown of thorns before committing suicide.
Referent - Jesus dying for us.

Neil killed himself, because he was depressed, but also for his classmates. "His people."
He committed suicide so that the parents/teachers would see how important it is for the kids to pursue their passions, no matter what those be.
Unfortunately this backfired, and the stubborn teachers/parents used Keating as a scapegoat. (saying he caused Neil's death).
Symbolism - "O Captain! My Captain!" by: Walt Whitman
Referent - Walt saying that he will follow Abe Lincoln to a new way of life. (abolishing slavery).
This clip will elaborate.

Robin Williams is trying to show his students a new way of looking at life, and that they can do what they like. Not just what their parents/teachers want them to do.
Later in the movie, Keating brings up the Walt Whitman poem and tells the boys they can call him "Captain" if they're feeling brave.
Throughout all the drama of Neil dying, and Keating getting fired, the boys use symbolism as he's walking out to show that he has led them to a new way of viewing life.
Nonverbal communication is sharing meaning with others
without using words. Our facial expressions, eye contact,
personal appearance, and use of time all have the potential
to communicate messages to group members.


Todd's as a new comer.
He is shy and resigned, and is not use to how the boys act around each other.
Facial expression: Pursed lips, turning head, acting as if he could not hear them

When Charlie brought girls to the Dead Poet Society meeting, he was showing off to impress. The boys responded with non-verbal cues such as shrugging shoulders, shaking heads, and palming face.
When Niel is arguing with his father, he first looked away and pursed his lips before he shouts. However, even when he decided to agree with his father, his expression and body language suggests disagreements as well as despair
Friends to Friends

Parents to Child
A decision requires a choice between two or more alternatives.
Between ripping out the pages as instructed or disobey the instructions and stick to the social norm of leaving the book as is.
Group think is also rooted in excessive cohesiveness and a resulting pressure to present a united front to those outside of the group.
The more cohesive the group is, the more the group is in danger of groupthink.
The boys belong to the same boarding school, making them a group and therefore creating pressure to be a united front.
this causes them to all rip out the pages in the book as instructed.
According to the Text
Decision Making and Inferences
-A social influence process that is determined by perceived status, authority, personality, interpersonal and group communication skills...among another factors. "We want to believe in our leaders, trust them, have faith and confidence in them". Credibility builds a more trustworthy leader.
-The leader and the follower cannot exist apart from one another. Modern views see this relationship as a partnership.
-A leader works to change the status quo. John Keating (a charismatic type leader) sought to change the view points of the students, make them free thinkers and teach them in a new way. "Carpe Diem" and thru use of the "Dead Poets Society".
-Keating showed respect, encouragement, & care for his "followers", builds rapport with them, i.e. helps Tod overcome shyness, encourages Neil to act.

"O Captain, My Captain"
-Power is group centered. The type of power that is perceived and wielded over other group members depends on the type of relationships that one has with the group members.
-Keating was a leader, therefore had power and high expertise (valuable information for the group). However, he used
type of power (enhanced the capabilities of individual group members to help them achieve their goals).
-This was in contrast to the power that the school (ie, spanking the students) and Neil's father held, who strive to prevent Neil from acting. They both use legitimate authority to control/use power.
-Todd and members of the Dead Poet's Society used prevention, or, they strive to resist dominance by standing up for Keating.
The radio also symbolizes a resistance to power from the boys against the school, as well as the "Dead Poets Society" itself.
Neil resists his father by participating in the play anyway, with encouragement from Keating.
Boundaries/Boundary Control
- Regulation that determines the amount of access a group has to input, and thus influence, from outsiders in a system
Boundaries regulate the amount of input and consequent exposure to change in a system
Methods of Boundary Control in DPS:
Physical Barriers: Protecting Group Space
"Stay Out" girls...

Rules: Permission Not Granted
Appropriate behaviors only...
Welton Academy is an all boys high school that looks much like a college campus
The environment is very clearly educational
Sets up for a strictly academic type of behavior
No horseplay allowed
Boundary Control is shown in the paddling of Charlie Dalton
Dalton made a movement, publicily, to have girls admitted into Welton which is strictly all boys
His consequence was a very hard paddling
- The headmaster adminsters his "regulation", the paddling, in order to keep boys aware of who has an input in the school
The boys should maintain that they are to have no say in school policy
Any disruptive behavior is strictly prohibited
Students are to be seen, not heard
- Boys are to be seen, not heard
The Set Up at Welton Academy:
The Regulator: Headmaster Mr. Nolan
The Group: The Students
The Change: Girls Should Be Admitted
Inferences- conclusion about the unknown based on what is known..
Previous experiences, factualy data an predispositions.
For example, we are taught throughout our lives that ripping out the pages in a book will get us in trouble.
Desicion Making Process
Problem Analysis: Causes and Effects
when one researches and gathers information on the problem defined, tries to determine how serious the problem is, what harm or effect the problem produces, and what causes the problem.
The problem- whether or not to rip out the pages
How serious is the problem- The boys could get in trouble, but not in enough to get them expelled.
The harm or effect- harm to the book, but also to the students if they get caught and questioned by the head master.
Cause- the teacher requesting this action of the boys.
In groups, rules that establish standards of appropriate behavior are called norms. There are two types of norms: explicit and implicit.
Explicit norms are rules that expressly identify acceptable behavior.
Welton Academy: School uniform and being in class when the bell rings.
Implicit norms are rules that are indirectly indicated by uniformities in the behavior and attitutes of members.
Welton Academy: proper classroom conduct and students shouldn't place much importance on subjects like liberal arts.
The general purpose of norms is to achieve group goals.
Degree of Conformity: Strength of Group Pressure
An example of "following the crowd" occured when Mr. Keating instructed the students to tear out pages of their textbook.
The smaller the group is, the easier it is for conformity to occur. With an exercise in the courtyard, Mr. Keating shows the boys how easily conformity can happen.
Why We Conform: Fitting In
We conform to group norms to be liked.
Revival of the Dead Poet's Society
We also conform to norms because we want to be right.
Group norms identify correct behavior. Neil easily conforms to Keating's practices because they align with his personal interests.

Conformity is the adherence to group norms by group members.

In Dead Poet's Society, conformity became a matter of conforming in rebellion against society and Welton Academy's traditional and conservative norms.
Full transcript