Dead Poets Society takes place at a prestigious New England prep school, in the 1950’s. Welton Academy is founded on the principles of tradition, honor, discipline, and excellence. Neil is a popular and talented young man, desperate to escape the control of his father. Todd is a shy and reclusive, living in the shadow of his brother. Their classmates are: high-spirited, Charlie Dalton and passionate, Knox Overstreet. The boys meet their freethinking new English teacher, Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating encourages the boys to think for themselves, be daring and seize the day i. e. Carpe Diem.
The boys discover from Mr. Keating’s old yearbook that he was a member of The Dead Poets Society, an underground group of boys who would meet in a nearby cave, late at night to read poetry. The boys, intrigued by the idea, start meeting regularly to read and share poetry. Knox is inspired to pursue the girl of his dreams Kris, and Charlie decides to exercise his free will by rebelling against the administration. Mr. Keating helps Todd overcome his shyness, and find his voice. Neil, passionate about acting, wins a part in the school play. His father forbids him to participate.
He does the play despite of this, and he is a brilliant actor. His father is so angry, He tells Neil that he is pulling him out of Welton, and sending him to military school, to prepare for Harvard. Neil is unable to stand up to his father, or defy him, so, he shoots himself. Neil’s father appeals to the headmaster, Mr. Nolan, who points the finger at Mr. Keating. The boys are all coerced into signing a statement indicating Mr. Keating for indoctrinating the boys, and causing Neil’s death. Mr. Keating is fired but returns for his possessions, and Todd stands up for what he feels for the first time in his life.
Overall, the movie is about including: non- conformism, poetry, passion, education, and individuality. The educational system plays a role in the boys’ lives. Todd is thrown into the educational system by his parents, because, they want him to follow in the footsteps of his brother. The benefits of the educational system are that it provides structure and discipline for him. Welton is preparing him for academic success, but, fails to meet the emotional needs of Todd as well as the other boys. Todd lacks the confidence and self-esteem to express himself verbally.
His former teachers never believed in him or encouraged him to overcome his inhibitions. For example, Mr. Dalton could never motivate him. Although he wanted Todd to succeed academically, he did not want him to express himself as an individual. In the end, Todd finally stands up for his beliefs and speaks out. Mr. Dalton simply tells him to sit down and tries to silence him. An educational system that discourages character development is not succeeding. When assigned the poetry assignment, Todd obviously was talented enough to write his poem, but lied and said he hadn’t written one.
Mr. Keating actually communicates with him. Mr. Keating finds a way to give him confidence, thus revealing his passionate poetic voice. Mr. Keating pulls him to the front of the class, and persuades him to free associate and Todd spits out his feelings in prose. Overall the education system failed Todd, because the one teacher that actually got through to him and motivated him, was fired. A brilliant teacher was fired because the school wanted a scapegoat for Neil’s suicide. I think when the institution’s needs are put before the student’s then the educational system has failed.
The peer group was important to Todd because he was a confused young man and his parents were indifferent to him. They took little interest in him as a person, but his peer group provided encouragement and support. They also gave him confidence and a sense of belonging and commodore, through the Dead Poets Society. They listened to him and that was essentially what he needed his whole life, was someone to listen. I had a personal experience similar to Todd’s in my favorite grade in school, 6th grade. I had moved to a new city to live with my mom after my parent’s divorce.
It was a very hard transitional period, not only being in junior high for the first time, but going to a new school as well. I was very shy and did not have enough self-confidence to express my opinions. I was an avid reader, even reading well above my grade level. I had a cousin who went to the school and he helped me establish a peer group. I did exceptionally well in school so I was the one that my peer group would come to for help. I didn’t enjoy any of my classes because they were all mundane and didn’t challenge me.
In second semester, I got to choose from several literature classes. I choose sci-fi and fantasy literature, because I was really interested in that genre. We read books like Fahrenheit 451, The Giver and War of the Worlds. The teacher really encouraged free thought in the class. All of the other classes I took had been really rigid and by the book. This teacher always left time for discussion and asked us questions to stimulate discussion. I didn’t really like speaking in class, but she made everyone contribute by moving from student to student and asking discussion questions.
Although this forced me to be more verbal, I really understood and related to the readings so it was easy for me to express myself. The teacher was my favorite teacher because she did think outside the box and encourage original thought and discussion. We also read readings that really challenged us to look at the world in a different way. This directly relates to Dead Poet’s Society because that is what Mr. Keating did in the movie. He had his students stand on their desks during one class to see the world from a different perspective, and it motivated them in the end. That is what this teacher did for me.
I had never before thought about the issues covered in class, until she introduced me to literature that challenged convention and provoked thoughtful discussions. List B- Real Women Have Curves Real Women Have Curves follows the story of Ana, an eighteen-year old Mexican-American women, on the verge of adulthood. Ana, the daughter of working class parents, lives in East L. A. , and attends Beverly Hills High School. She is a very bright girl and dreams of attending college. Ana’s stubborn and strong willed, mother, Carmen, works very hard to take care of the family. She wants the same for Ana.
Ana is a little heavy, although very beautiful. Carmen constantly berates and insults Ana about her weight, and uses a variety of stories to manipulate her (such as pretending to be sick, to keep Ana from going to school). The day of Ana’s graduation, her family throws her a party. Mr. Guzman, Ana’s English teacher, shows up at the party and talks with Ana’s parents about letting her go to college. They say that there will be a time for college, but now she needs to work to help the family. Ana’s mom decides Ana can work at her sister, Estela’s dress shop. Ana goes to work in the shop, which she compares to a sweatshop.
At first she doesn’t try at all, but eventually comes around, to help Estela. Ana sees how hard Estela and the other women work. Several of the employees move back to Mexico and Ana promises Estela, she will stay and help with the order. In the meantime, Ana starts secretly seeing a boy from school named William. William thinks Ana is beautiful but she doesn’t believe he could be happy with her because she is not thin. Ana places high value on education and through the urging of, Mr. Guzman, she applies to Columbia University. She actually gets accepted with a full scholarship but her parents do not want her to go.
Carmen makes Ana feel guilty about abandoning the family, so Ana decides not to go. In the end, Ana succeeds in helping her sister get the dress order out. She decides to go to Columbia after all. She tells her Father, who gives her his blessing. Her mother, bound to tradition, is angry with her and will not tell her goodbye. The important themes found in the movie are female empowerment, cultural identity and family relationships. In the movie, Ana struggles between her family’s cultural identify and her individual identity. I thought the video was very insightful look at Mexican cultural values.
I think the characters were portrayed accurately and not at all stereotypically. I thought the movie was an inspiring coming of age story. I also thought that it challenged the Western notion that women need to be thin to be happy, to be beautiful or to attract the opposite sex. In the movie, Ana is happy with her body, and her boyfriend is happy with the way she looks too. This is really refreshing and provides a healthy example for young men and women. Ana is a great role model for young women, because as she says in the movie, She wants to be known for her mind and her ideas, not her body.
She is not completely pre-occupied with the way she looks, because she believes that her body is not her complete identify. She also refuses to feel bad about herself or devalue herself just because she does not fit the stereotype of what American culture deems beautiful. As a middle-class white male, I saw a few examples in the movie that conflicted and complemented my own cultural values. The first example concerns education. In the movie, Ana’s family values hard work and family responsibilities over education or personal growth. My culture and my family placed a high value on education.
For example, Ana’s parent’s opinion was not swayed even after they learn that she has a full-scholarship to college. In my family, my parent’s would’ve been ecstatic if I got a full scholarship to college. I think that would be the case with most families in my culture. Also, I was expected to do well in school, to achieve the goal of getting into a good college. In Ana’s family, their ultimate goal for her, was not, that she get into college. One value that complemented my cultural values, was the fact that Anna’s family expected her to work. My family expected me to have a part-time job, to learn responsibility.
In this way, Ana’s family’s values complemented mine. This value of family cohesiveness in the movie made the greatest impression on me. Ana’s whole family lived together, including her Grandfather and her adult sister. This was the most interesting for me because it is so different from my family values. In my family, we saw our Grandparents and extended family on Holidays. Also when the children grew up, they would go off to college, and start their own lives individually. My parents and Grandparents were independent and I wasn’t expected to help them.
In fact, they did whatever they could to help me. I can use the information from the video, when working with Mexican-American families, especially ones with first generation children. I will want to remember that Mexican-American families value hard work and family cohesiveness. I should be sensitive to this when working with them. Even though Mexican families are here in America, they still hold many of their traditional cultural values. I think as an educator my job will be to inform them of the opportunities available while respecting and taking into consideration of their traditional values.
I also think that doing this will be important with any culture that I am working with. I think the worst thing an educator could do is to be ignorant of different culture’s values. With the increasing immigration into this country, it is a melting pot of cultures. This is something educators should be aware of, as well of the specific cultural practices of different cultures. List C- Mr. Holland’s Opus Mr. Holland’s Opus is an inspirational story of a teacher and his impact on the lives of the people around him. Glenn Holland is a brilliant musician and composer.
He has a supportive wife, named Iris who encourages him to take a job teaching, so he can have free time to work on his music. Mr. Holland is not at all enthusiastic about teaching, especially after working with his music appreciation class who to him seems hopeless. One student in his orchestra, Gertrude Lang, is struggling to excel at Clarinet. He works with her after school and sees no progress, so he tries to help her find her inspiration by closing her eyes and playing without the music. She plays beautifully and graduates that year. Mr. Holland moves on a new year of students to inspire.
He forms a very unlikely and positive relationship with the principal Mrs. Jacobs despite her occasional problems with his unorthodox methods. Iris becomes pregnant and Glenn picks up extra hours at school so they can buy a house. Their son, Cole is born and they are elated. A few years later, they find out he is deaf. They have a lot of problems communicating with Cole and Iris is heartbroken. They enroll him in school for the deaf where Cole and his parents will learn sign language. The rest of the movie follows Mr. Holland as he meets new students and inspires them to follow their dreams. Mr.
Holland tries to find time to work on his masterpiece but finds it hard with all of his responsibilities. Cole grows up using sign language, and is well-adjusted and happy. Mr. Holland teaches for thirty years and profoundly impacts the people around him. Due to budget cuts, he is told his position is being cut, along with all of the music and drama programs. He tries to fight the decision at a school board meeting but fails. In the end, he is surprised when hundreds of his former students, and other members of the community have an assembly in his honor. They ask him to conduct his masterpiece, which they have all learned to play.
He is moved and the movie ends on a positive note. Iris and Glenn had a very important impact on their son’s life. They were very supportive parents and they were dedicated to their son. They had a huge impact on the way Cole’s life turned out. They did everything in their power, so he could live a happy and normal life. They had to devote a lot of time to learning sign language, especially Iris, who would sometimes translate for Glenn. Their role was a little different than that of parents of typical children because they had to become a lot more involved because of his disability.
Also they tried to treat him as normally as possible. Glenn would joke with Cole and treat him the way he treated the other kids. Glenna had a very deadpan sense of humor with his students and he would use the same humor with his son. In that way, they played the same role that parents of typical children would play. They tried to have fun with Cole and joke with him. There were many strengths and weakness of the parent/child relationships in the movies. Iris had an exceptional relationship with Cole in the move. She was very attentive to him.
She had a lot of free time so she could learn sign language and be very involved with his school activities. Her relationship with Cole has only strengths. One weakness in Glenn’s relationship with Cole deals with communication and emotional connections. After Glenn comes home to tell Cole that John Lennon is dead, he signs, “You wouldn’t understand. ” Cole comes in the house and signs to his dad, telling him, that “he is not stupid and he knows who the Beatles are. ” Then he signs, “You spend more time teaching other people than you do me.
” This is very important scene because this is where the weaknesses in Glenn’s relationship with Cole are really brought to life. One of the weaknesses in the father/son relationship is that Glenn could not communicate with his son emotionally. He never tried to share his love of music with Cole because he didn’t think Cole could relate or understand. He also wanted to protect Cole from being hurt, so he didn’t even try to connect with him. This was a huge weaknesses. Glenn, was a teacher who had very little free time. This put a strain on his relationship with Cole as well.
Eventually, Glenn starts to invest time in, teaching Cole about music through sign language. Another weakness I saw, was that Glenn never could find a way to show his son that he loved him. Finally, Glenn performs a song in sign language dedicated to his son, to show his son how much he means to him. One thing that really struck me about Cole was the fact that he was exceptionally intelligent despite his disability. He is an example of how one can overcome a disability and still live a full life. He never could learn music which would have been his dad’s dream but he learned other things in life.
He remained positive and followed his dreams, despite being deaf. He pursued hobbies that interested him(e. g. working on cars), and he later teaches sign language. From this movie, I will want to take away the notion that children with disabilities can still live a very full life. If they have weaknesses in one area, they can still develop their talents in other areas. As an educator, I would try to find those things that they do excel at, and encourage them to develop those abilities. I will also want to remember that when working with such children, each child may need different attention.
One approach will not work with every child, so it is important to understand that every child is different and individual. I have not had any experiences with children with disabilities or special needs. After watching this movie, I would like to get more experience with autistic children and deaf children. Communication is a topic that really interests me, and these disabilities deal with communication. I would like to gain more knowledge about these disabilities, so if I ever worked with these children, I would be able to effectively communicate with them.