The novel Dead Poets Society was published in 1988 and was written by N. H. Kleinbaum. In 1989 it was adapted for the screen in a huge success.
The novel is about a group of boys at Welton Academy. A proud prep school for boys only. We are introduced to each one of the boys and experience their relationship with each other and not least their parents. At the school the boys have a perfectly planned schedule for them to become perfect students according to the school.
But a new teacher arrives at the school and gives the boys a new perspective not only on school, but on the whole life. He wants them to live their lives extraordinary and to seize the day.
The boys learn about the former club “Dead Poets Society”, and decides to resurrect the club, where they can be free from expectations from teachers and parents and just live their lives as they want. We experience the members fights and struggles to avoid the pressure from authorities determined to ruin their dreams with ancient methods and philosophies.
The story takes place in the 1960’s, which shows as the school is very clearly defined by their four pillars.
Tradition, honour, discipline and excellence are values that have always been appreciated, but less in recent years. Back in the 60’s it was easier for teachers to hold on to what today would be considered ancient values, because for example cellphones and computers had not yet been invented.
With the school caring this much about older values, the boys are facing a tough environment, with great challenges. They are up against wise old men, who have been teaching for a lifetime, and here are the boys ready to conquer the world.
In the novel is there a very complex gallery of characters. There are four primary main characters, the protagonists.
Neil is probably the main-main character, as he goes through an enormous evolution, going from oppressed by his father and teachers, to a free thinker pursuing an acting career, to getting imprisoned at home, removed from the school and in the end dead.
“Neil stood alone, completely drained of emotion, trying not to think about the future his father had just laid out for him.” (p. 143)