Dead Poet’s Society- Film Guide

Answer questions thoughtfully and completely.
  1. What is the school known for according to the speaker in the opening ceremony?
  2. Who is the new person introduced at the opening ceremony?
  3. Describe the relationship between Neil and his father. Describe how this is used as a method of characterization for both characters.
  4. What does “carpe diem” mean?
  5. Describe the scene where the students begin reading their literature books with Mr. Keating. What is your reaction to this scene?
  6. Why does the other teacher not agree with Keating at dinner? What does he think is the danger?
  7. What was the “Dead Poet’s Society?” Based on what Mr. Keating says, how do you think the “current administration” feels about the society? What effect does this information have on the story?
  8. What does Neil find on his desk? What connection can you make to the inscription?
  9. Why does Mr. Keating stand on his desk? What is he trying to teach the students?
  10. What is the significance of the decision Neil makes?
  11. Describe the outdoor “sport”/”poetry reading” scene with Keating and the students.
  12. What nickname do they have for Keating and why? What connection do you make to this scene?
  13. Describe the scene in the courtyard. What do you learn from this scene? How does this apply to your life?
  14. What has Charlie done in the name of the group that upsets everyone?
  15. What is Charlie’s punishment? How does he respond to it?
  16. What is Neil’s father’s reaction to news of the play?
  17. What advice does Mr. Keating offer Neil in terms of the play?
  18. What does Neil’s father say about the play after its conclusion? Who does he blame?
  19. How does Todd react to news about Neil?
  20. What has Cameron done that upsets the entire group?
  21. Who is the school “after” and why?
  22. Describe the final scene and explain its significance.
23-25. How do the characters exemplify the ideas of transcendentalism? Choose three characters. Support your answer with examples from the film and connect to the original transcendental texts read in class.