Self Reliance in Dead Poets Society
“Thump, thump, thump.” That’s the sound of a heart, but not just any heart, it’s a nervous heart, a rebellious heart, a heart of fear and passion, the heart of Todd Anderson. Todd is very diffident and hushed, it’s as if he is afraid of being heard, but why? What is he so frightened by? Is it the strapping hand of his father or the nettlesome voices of liars? Whatever it was it didn’t belong. Through every trial and tribulation Todd still continued on his building blocks to bravery.
Todd starts out at the beginning of Dead Poets Society as a shy new boy at Welton Academy. He was always so afraid of speaking out in class, reading his work aloud, his poetry. Todd struggles with the shadowing of his older siblings. Meaning he was expected to achieve greater things than what they had achieved. The thought of this had put Todd at war with his mind every day. He was afraid to be what he wanted to be because of the expectations that were looking upon him. This was definitely a trial for todd but that didn’t stop him. This wouldn’t stop him. Nothing could stop him from what was meant to be.
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As Todd started to grow at Welton he was also growing as a member of the Dead Poets Society. When Todd first started with Neil and the other boys in the Dead Poets Society he wouldn’t exactly follow the rules. The rules were meant for the boys to read aloud the poems to be of the romantics but Todd was too fearful. This all changed when one day Mr. Keating decided to give a very special assignment. The assignment was to be creative, to write a poem. Not only did you have to write a poem, but you had to read it to the entire class. Thought it was so frightened by this assignment but he didn’t even write one. He thought maybe if he didn’t write a poem he wouldn’t have to embarrass himself in front of the entire class. Instead when Mr. Keating found out, he reverse the situation. He made Todd stand in front of the class and instantly make a poem. He was dripping with fear while Mr.Keating circled around him and pushed and pushed him until he couldn’t hold it in anymore. Everything that would come to Todd’s mind he would shout out as a poem as if he was writing it on paper but instead he was saying it aloud. One thing Todd described in his poem was ”A sweaty toothed madman.” When Todd had finished he opened his eyes up the entire class looked at him amazed and cheered. Even Mr. Keating said himself “Good God boy there’s a poet in you after all!” At this moment Todd took the next step on his way to bravery.
Now Todd has began to discovered that he truly does have a talent and is more accepting of who he is. Yet he is still very timid and concerned of what his father would have to say. Though he is this far he still has not made his way all the way to bravery. Then suddenly, right when everything is going well another trial steps in the way. Something so tragic. A death. The death of Neil Perry. Neil had committed suicide. This had quieted everyone. It was so tragic that people were throwing the blame upon each other. That’s when Mr. Nolan had decided to fire Mr. Keating. Fire him for encouraging the boys, for not teaching the way he wanted Mr. Keating to teach, for showing them to be free thinkers. Mr.Nolan believed that Mr.Keating’s encouragement of the Dead Poets Society could be the reason Niel did what he did. Mr.Keating came back to get the rest of his belongings, when Todd decided to take his final step to bravery. Todd stood up and told Mr.Nolan how he was in the wrong. He showed them exactly what Mr.Keating had been teaching them all along, he was thinking for himself. Mr.Nolan instantly went after Todd. He wanted Todd to be silent and not speak up for what was right. Todd knew that what Mr.Keating had been doing was right, so he bravely stood upon his desk and shouted out “O Captain, my captain!” This is the nickname all of the boys would call Mr.Keating. This leap of bravery that Todd had shown helped every other student become brave. This lead them all on the path of becoming a free thinker like they were meant to be. Risking it all Todd had took all of the building blocks to bravery.
So who are you? Are you the shy Todd Anderson or are you the brave Todd Anderson? No matter who you are, whatever you’re good at, always remember to be a free thinker. And to be brave. So when needed stand up on your desk and shout out “O Captain, my captain!”