Essay by ashley22061998High School, 10th gradeA, November 2014

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Name: _____________________________________ Date: ____________________ Mod: ___________

Essay Topics for Dead Poets Society and Transcendentalism

Directions: Select one of the responses below and, in a minimum 4 paragraph response, answer completely using support from both the film and at least 2 examples from external sources, esp. the Transcendentalists. Organizer, rough, and final will be collected and graded. Due dates are below.


All of us are called upon to make choices, most of which are not easy. Sometimes a choice sets into motion a series of events we had not counted on. This is true of characters in literature as well.

Choose a character who has made important choices that reflect a new way of thinking or that have consequences. In a multi-paragraph essay, do the following:

Explain what the choice or series of related choices is.

Describe what lead up to the choice, for example, what events, what changes in behavior or outlook on life.

Did another person have any influence on the decision?

Evaluate the choice(s): was it a good one? (Think about the short and long run) Was it all the character could do given his inexperience in life?

Character Relationships

We all have that special person in our own lives, whether it be parent or best friend-someone we all trust and confide in. The characters in DPS are not different. However, sometimes relationships fall apart, while others seem to grow stronger. What is that thing that binds or destroys a relationship? In a multi-paragraph essay, do the following:

Describe one of the following relationships between

The boys and their families

The boys and the school

The boys and Mr. Keating

Between the boys themselves

How do these relationships develop? Or dissolve?


Several things in the film achieve a status of symbols. Some of these are Todd's...