Battle of Conformity and Non-conformity In Tom Schulman's Dead Poets Society a group of bright students are enrolled in a prestigious New England private school named Welton Academy. This school stresses conformity and tradition as one of its trademarks. In order to survive in this school one must never challenge the institution. Dead Poets Society is a powerful example of the constant battle between conformity and non-conformity.
Mr. Keating, a teacher at Welton, fights on the side of non-conformity and free- thinking. On the first day of school, he shows them a picture of past classes. He tells them that they are all in the Earth now, and they have a message for his current students. The message was "carpe diem", or "seize the day". He is telling them that one-day they will be dead, so it is imperative that they "make their lives extraordinary" and to "carpe diem", seize the day.
Carpe diem is important because he tells them to follow their dreams, but in many cases their dreams went against the principles of the school. Through his unorthodox teaching style he taught them that conformity was not necessary. Many of the poems he taught them all preached carpe diem, such as the following: Gather ye rosebuds while ye may Old time is still a flying And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying.
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may" means that make your dreams come true before you die. However, they could never live their dreams if they conformed to what their parents wanted, or what their principal wanted. Another example of how his teaching promoted free thinking and non-conformity was the way he ripped out the introduction by J. Evans Prichard. He didn't want his students to conform to Prichard's views on poetry he...