Posts Tagged ‘Dead Poets Society


Corporal punishment – License to abuse?

=> (Task) Discuss the question of “corporal punishment” or “paddling” from today’s point of view.

The definition of „corporal punishment“ (Ger. = Prügelstrafe)

„Corporal punishment“ is the punishment with whiplashs or the often used (in schools) „paddles“. It was abolished in the 19th century in Europe. In England until as late as 1996 (in schools). In American schools its´ still popular. 22 of 50 states allow to this day „paddling“.

Source from 25. August 2004

Pro and Contra

But what speaks against or maybe even for corporal punishment from today´s point of view? Let us have a look at it.


The latest trend is“Happy Slapping Videos“. Videos where people get tortured or slapped, sometimes even rapped. Just a short click is necessary at You Tube,….

But where does this violence come from? Is it the media, the internet? A whole lot of people say that the youth is losing their respect and discipline. In the past it was unthinkable. Children were disciplined through corporal punishment. That should help them not to stray from the right path. It was and is the right of the parents to let them decide what´s the best for their children.

*The Center for Effective Discipline is frequently asked to respond to statements from pro-paddlers such as the following:

– „If we still had paddling, kids wouldn’t be shooting one another in schools.“

-„Since paddling was taken out of schools, kids have gotten more violent and aggressive toward teachers.“

-„Since paddling was taken out of schools, kids have gotten lazy and are falling behind in academics.“

-„If kids were paddled more they wouldn’t end up in jail as adults.“

But the opinions are deeply divided on this issue


National Coalition to abolish corporal punishment in schools (NCACPS)

If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start.

Dr. Benjamin Spock

Counter- arguments from The Center for Effective Discipline were this:

=> „Studies show mores school shootings took place in states that allow corporal punishment in schools“

=> „Non-paddling states have higher graduation rates“

=> „Eight of the top ten paddling states are in the top ten states with the highest incarceration rates“

Referring to „Death Poets Society“ (Chapter 10)

These chapter clearly shows want the methods were like in 1959. After publishing his article in „Welton Honors“, Charlie „Nuwanda“ Dalton gets a whole lot of trouble with the headmaster. As corporal punishment Nolan uses an old paddle, but Charlie didn´t surrender.

Today in the USA it´s still like that in over 20 states.

My Personal Opinion

Nobody wants to get slapped or anything like this. We all should try to live in an open minded society. There are other, more effective ways of „punishment“. Violence creates just more violence and no one wants to live in such a world.


– Center for Effective Discipline, Columbus, OH

– Spiegel Online

– Corporal Punishment Research


The importance of poems

=> (Task) The importance of the poems the pupils have to write and read out. What is Mr. Keatings purpose?

The new English teacher John Keating is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He has that normal look, a medium height, brown hair and brown eyes- an average looking man in his early thirties. But behind this facade he´s an eccentric man with a whole lot of energy, drive and idealism for his students. He forms a conrast to this old school with all its traditions and rules. That´s why his students love and respect him so much, not because they´re afraid of him, (like the headmaster Gale Nolan => respect through fear eg. of demerit) but rather than serving as a model.

In his lessons Keating tries to inspire the students to handle like free thinkers. Having an free view, to speak for oneself. To live the day, like it´s their last („Carpe diem“ = Seize the day). Keating involves this mindset into his teaching methods, like writing poems about things which affects their lifes (Konx Overstreets poem about his crush Chris Noel) not just analyse them. Keating wants them to feel the poems, that´s what they made for (p. 51 l. 8 „[…] love, beauty, truth, justice.“).

The seven boys, that i mentioned before, are growing up in Keatings lessons. Neil tries his luck at the audition for „A Midsummer Night´s Dream“, Knox wants to woo Chris,…

But Todd Anderson is a particular case. He stands in the shadow of his famous brother Jeffrey Anderson, who was a great student at the Welton Academy. It was and is a whole lot of pressure to take for Todd and so he became a shy boy without self- confidence in any kind of way. Keating knows that and let Todd speak out his mind for a short time, and Todd explodes. Since this time Todd begins to change,….

It proves the importance of poems for them.


William Shakespeare and Alfred Tennyson

What is a poet/what does he do?

A poet (from the ancient (=antike) Greek ποιητης, poïêtes („artisan“) ; ποιέω, poieō) is a person who writes poetry. Poetry for itself is a special kind of art where language is used in.

Two great poets in their time were William Shakespeare and Alfred Tennyson. They are both mentioned in „Dead Poet´s Society“ (mentioned => Alfred Tennysons „Ulysses“; Shakespeare one time in the beginning of the story) In this part I show you some facts about their life and work. At first,…

Background information

This great English poet was probably born on the 3. April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon and died on the 3. May 1616 (Gregorian calendar).

His father was John Shakespeare and his mother Mary Arden. When he was 18 years old he married Anne Hathaway. Together they had three children. Susanna, Hamnet and Judith (twins). Hamnet died when he was 11 years old.

Shakespeare worked as an actor and took part in a theater. He also composed plays for them. But he was more than just a composer for plays and tried his best to work on his own poetry. Besides his success with poetry he was co-proprietor of the London Globe Theatre.

Selected works of Shakespeare


– A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595/96)

Previous Tragedies:

– Romeo and Juliet (1595)

Subsequent Tragedies:

– Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (about 1601)

Othello (about 1604)

Macbeth (about 1608 )

Alfred Tennyson

„It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.“

Background information

Alfred Tennyson ( also named as“1st Baron Tennyson„) was born on the 6. August 1809 in Somersby (Lincolnshire) and died on the 6. October 1892 in Aldworth/England (near Reading).

His father was Dr. George Tennyson (clergyman/=Geistlicher) and the third of eleven children in his family. Through his aunt he had the opportunity to study at the Trinity College in Camebrige (i´m not quite sure but i think it´s a school like the fictional „Welton Academy“ in „Dead Poet´s Society“, just richer and it´s not a prep school anymore) but he abandoned his studies. In Camebrige he joined „The Apostles„, a intellectual, elitist (and secret) community (reminds me at the DPS with Todd Anderson and his friends).

Tennyson´s poems often dealed with the English mythology (e.g. the artus myth in „Idylls of the king“ (1859)

Selected works of Tennyson

– The Lady of Shalott (picture)

– Maud (1855)

– Idylls of the King (1859)

Abstract of Alfred Tennysons „The Lady of Shalott

And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers, “ ‚Tis the fairy
The Lady of Shalott.“

Source :Wikipedia/“Dead Poets Society“


Movie Trailer

The trailer from „Dead Poets Society“


– Robin Williams: John Keating

– Robert Sean Leonard: Neil Perry

– Ethan Hawke: Todd Anderson

– Josh Charles: Knox Overstreet

– Gale Hansen: Charlie Dalton

Source: Wikipedia/YouTube


DPS – Behind the scenes

What´s behind the novel?

Interesting background information…

– the “Welton Academy” is just a fictional school and was filmed in the movie at the St. Andrew´s School in Middletown, Delaware (USA)

– “Carpe diem” is Latin (≈ Seize the day) and the famous phrase by the Roman Poet Horaz from one of his odes (special kind of poem)

– private schools were/are very expensive and just rich or influential circles could/can send their children to schools like the fictional “Welton Academy”

– contact with girls weren´t allowed

– personal intrests of the boys aren´t that important; at first they have to do what their parents/school say


„Dead Poets Society“ – What’s the book about?

The novel „Dead Poets Society“ is written by Nancy H. Kleinbaum after the same- named movie in 1989, which won a Oscar for the best script.

The story deals with the life of seven boys called Neil Perry, Charlie Dalton, Richard Cameron, Gerard Pitts, Steven Meeks, Knox Overstreet and the main character Todd Anderson, who live and learn in the prep school Welton Academy in Vermont (USA), a strict conservative school in the late 50´s.

Life´s getting exciting, when the new English teacher John Keating appears with his own personal byword: „Carpe diem“ Sieze the day.

This stands in conrast with the cornerstone of the school: Tradition,Honor, Discipline and Excellence.




Juli 2020