Dead Poets Society Paragraph
In a formal paragraph, give at least one specific example (with proper character names) of how the transcendental
philosophy is represented in the film Dead Poets Society, using a quote from either Thoreau or Emerson in your
answer. You may use your notes, but not each other, to help you. You may use one of the quotes below, or find your
own from one of the pieces we’ve read. Remember to use a lead-in so your quote isn’t hanging there all by itself.
Partial quotes are fine as long as you use a smooth lead-in and it still makes sense. Pretend that all the quotes are from
page 10 for citation purposes.
Emerson quotes:
 “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”
 “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that
envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that me must take himself for better, for
worse, as his portion.”
 “The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is
which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.”
 “We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us
 “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.”
Thoreau quotes:
 “I went to the woods because I wished 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 had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the
pondside…It is true, I fear that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it
 “The practical reason why…a majority are permitted…to rule is not because they are
most likely to be in the right, not because this seems fairest to the minority, but because
they are physically the strongest.”
 “I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward.”
 “The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think
Please bring this rubric to class with your finished paragraph. It is due Thursday.
_____Topic sentence is present and previews the paragraph (in this case it’s also your thesis)
_____Example from the movie is specific and uses proper character names and details
_____At least one quote is present and has…
_____ a lead-in that flows logically with the quote and provides context
_____ a proper parenthetical citation: Lead in “…Quote…” (Thoreau 10).
_____an explanation of its importance that does not include “this shows,”
“this means,” etc.
_____Transitions between sub-topics/examples are present
_____Closing sentence is present and ends paragraph effectively
_____ Written in third person POV- No first person (I, me, us, we) or second person (you, your,
_____ Descriptions of events in the movie are in present tense
_____ Written with strong wording-no empty or weak words such as “things,” “stuff,” or “lots”
_____ Written with complete sentences (no run-on sentences or fragments)
_____ Written with correct punctuation (periods, commas, etc.) and spelling
_____/26 (2 pts for each item above)

In a formal paragraph (topic sentence, neat writing, complete