Dead Poets Society

N. H. Kleinbaum


N. H. Kleinbaum graduated at the Medial School of Journalism at Northerewest University. She is a former newspaper reporter and editor. She lives in New York with her husband and her three children.


The story takes place in the Welton Academy, a private school in America. The story is about the problems of boys who attend a boarding school. This school represents four principles: discipline, honour, excellence and tradition. Only very disciplined and intelligent pupils are allowed to attend this school. The main characters are the pupils Neil Perry, Todd Anderson, Knox Overstreet, Charlie Dalton some other friends and the teacher Mr. Keating. The relation between teacher and pupil is  very strained. Only one teacher, Mr. Keating challenges the young boys to make their life extraordinary. He tries to teach them the importance of life and he tries to make them understand that they have to form their own opinions and characters. He wants them to call him captain for a better relationship. First the boys do not accept this new form of spending English-lessons, but soon they get used to it And accept it too. The teacher inspirates the boys to pursue the secret of the "Dead Poet Society". The aim of this organisation is living deliberately. The pupils read poems by former and now dead Poets in a special cave, their hideout. The "freedom" takes tragic consequences. Neil Perry should quit a play because of his parents, and therefore he asks Mr. Keating for help. He tells him to inform his father about his passion of acting. Neil is too afraid to speak about his requests and so he acts really successful the main part. Afterwards his parents make a fool of him and insult him. His father wants him to change schools, and so Neil commits suicide with a revolver. Everybody from the school, including the headmaster hold Mr. Keating responsible for the tragedy. Mr. Keating is dismissed from teaching at this school. In the end when he wants to leave the classroom, Todd climbs up the chair and shouts "Captain, my Captain" to express his admiration for Mr. Keating. Most of the other pupils follow.


Neil Perry is a charming, sensible, witty and sociable boy, who is popular with his friends. His parents want him to study medicine and that is the reason why he has to attend such a strict school. He is very intelligent and excellent at school, but he must not have any hobbies besides school. Neil is addicted to acting and he is also very talented. Therefore he joins an acting group against the wish of his father. When his father realizes that, he wants him to change school. Neil commits suicide because he does not want to be oppressed his whole life by his parents.

Todd Anderson gives the impression of an intelligent pushing fellow, but at the end he changes totally because of the "Dead Poets Society". In the course of time he becomes an accepted boy. He has many problems, for example his parents prefer his brother, he has a big self-distrust. Neil tries to help him, so he becomes his best friend. After he is told about Neil's suicide, he runs headlong out of the school and cries with pain

Mr. Keating attended the school where he teaches now himself, and so he knows the atmosphere at Welton Academy. He tries to be accepted by the pupils as a friend who teaches interesting things and not as an enemy who finds fault with every pupil. Soon, he is popular with the pupils, but the headmaster and the teachers criticise his methods of teaching. After Neil's suicide he is dismissed from school because they assume that he is liable in some way for Neil's death.


The author wants to show us that love and understanding is the most important thing for a young person. Parents, teachers and all grownups have to respect the opinions of young people and they are not allowed to oppress them. The author also shows us that one person can change the attitude of people. Such a person as Mr. Keating can make a life extraordinary. His story should teach us to form our own opinions and character and not to try to be influenced by other people. You have to respect everyone's opinion and way of life.

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