Dead Poets Society Focus Questions

Literary Terms
Copy the next two slides of
information into the
“Literary Terms” section of
your notebook
Elements of Fiction: Write this down
• Plot = The Storyline
• Theme = Main idea or moral of
• Setting = Where, when, why
• Characterization =
• Protagonist = Main Character
• Antagonist = Causes conflict for
the protagonist
Symbolism: Write This Down!
• A symbol has meaning in
itself, but stands for
something else. However, a
symbol is not what it
• For example, a dove is a bird,
but when used as a symbol it
represents peace. If the dove
dies, peace does not die.
Focus Questions
Dead Poets Society:
Do not write down the question, simply
answer them in your Cornell Notes for
the movie
Focus Questions
• What does the candle
• What are the four pillars?
• Who are the boys names
that are attending
Elements of Fiction
• What does Carpe Diem
• How does Mr. Keating’s
initial lesson with the
boys represent a
Focus Questions
• How does Mr. Keating’s response to the
Pritchard Chart on Poetry reflect
transcendental beliefs?
• Who seems to be most affected by Mr.
Keating’s explanation of how “the
powerful play goes on..”?
• How does Mr. Keating subtly inspire the
boys to create their own Dead Poets
Focus Questions
•What were the original
Dead Poets dedicated
•Who left the poetry
book for Neil to find?
Focus Questions
• What is the “Traditional
Opening” of the Dead Poets
Society, and by whom was it
• Who seems to be most resistant
to expressing himself and
whom seems to be most eager?
Focus Questions
• What is Keating’s explanation for
the creation of poetry?
• Why does Mr. Keating have the
boys look at his classroom from
the top of his desk?
• What does Mr. Keating want the
boys to consider when reading a
Focus Questions
• How is Neil’s decision to try out
for the play a clear example of
Carpe Diem and its underlying
transcendentalist meaning?
• How are the boys starting to
embrace transcendentalist
Focus Questions
• What does the “barbaric
‘yawp’” have to do with
• What did Todd Anderson do to
be able to create an improvised
• How was his poem an example
of transcendentalism?
Focus Questions
• What does Knox Overstreet do
to embrace carpe diem?
• Why does Mr. Keating make
the boys march in the quad?
• In relation to marching, how
does Charlie exercise his
transcendental right?
Focus Questions
• What’s significant about Charlie
changing his name to Nuwanda
and inviting girls to the Dead
Poets Society?
• How were Nuwanda’s and Knox’s
recent actions the antithesis of
Carpe Diem and how does Mr.
Keating explain that to them?
Focus Questions
• How are Neil’s actions
regarding his father’s desire to
have him quit the play not
• Why does Mr. Keating want to
teach at Welton and how is his
reason transcendental?
Focus Questions
• How was Knox not caring
about Chris’s response
when he read the poem to
her transcendental?
• How is Nuwanda’s
lightening bolt a
transcendental symbol?
Focus Questions
• How is Neil’s soliloquoy
at the end of the play
really a commentary on
his relationship with his
Focus Questions
• How are Neil’s actions in
the window symbolic of a
Christ figure?
• How did the words Mr.
Perry said to Neil before
the play come back to
haunt him?
Focus Questions
•Why does Neil’s
death symbolically
take place in the
Focus Questions
• What is the deeper meaning
of “sucking the marrow out
of life”?
• Why does Welton view Mr.
Keating as the one
responsible for Neil’s death?
Focus Questions
• How are the boys’
actions at the end of the
story transcendental?
• Who finally embraced
the notion of Carpe
Diem, and why is this
Focus Questions
• How did the boys
standing on the desks in
defiance of Mr. Nolan
represent Thoreau’s
essay “Civil
Literary Terms
Copy the following quote
into your Cornell Notes
“I went to the woods to live deliberately, to front
only the essential facts of life, and see if I could
not learn what it had to teach and not, when I
came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did
not wish to live what was not life, living is so
dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation,
unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live
deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”
Literary Terms
Answer the following
literary questions in your
Cornell Notes
Focus Questions
Who is the protagonist in the story?
What is the main conflict of the story?
What are a few of the major themes?
What is type of conflict is the main
• Character v. Character
• Character v. society
• Character v. nature
• Character v. self
Focus Questions
• What is the deeper meaning
of “sucking the marrow out
of life”?
• Why does Welton view Mr.
Keating as the one
responsible for Neil’s death?
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