Dead Poets Society (Academy Award Nominee Best Film, 1989)


Dead Poets Society (Academy Award Nominee Best Film, 1989)

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Entering a New World: the boys in the school hall.

Backstory of the New World: the best preparatory school in the country.

Introducing the Mentor: Mr Keating; been teaching in London.

Meeting Heroes 1 and 2: Todd, Neil meeting the teachers.

Goodbye to the Old World: they say goodbye to their parents.

Meeting the Shape Shifter: Cameron.

Meeting Hero 3 and Allies / Developing characters and relationships: Steven, Knox, Charlie et al walk into the room.

Hero 1's Inner Challenge: Todd is shy.

Meeting the Interdictor: Neil's Father.

Hero 2's Challenge: Neil is blocked by his Father.

Forced to the Journey: the boys start classes.

Ordinary World: the teachers, the classes etc.

Rules of this World: the teachers dictate the rules.

Supernatural Aid: Keating whistles into class and takes the boys out to see the photograph.

Call to Adventure: Carpe Diem; Oh Captain my Captain; gather ye Rosebuds while ye may; make your lives extraordinary.

Developing Shape Shifter / Characters and Relationships: do you think he'll test us on that stuff.

Foreshadow of Hero 3's Challenge: Knox going to the Danberrys.

Developing Hero 1's Challenge: Todd too shy to come to the study group.

Lift Off: "…ready to go….”

Hero 3's Challenge: Knox meets Chris.

Developing Characters and Relationships: in the study group.

Developing Hero 3's Challenge: Knox walks into the study group; tonight I met the most beautiful girl I have seen in my entire life.

Interdiction: Chris has got a boyfriend.

First Threshold: Outer Cave: in class with Keating; ignoring the Pritchard's poetry book; mathematically evaluating poetry; ripping out the page; confronting McAllister.

Middle Cave: huddle round; we read poetry because we are human beings; that you may contribute a verse; what will your verse be?

Inner Cave: Keating at the teachers dinner table; combating ideas with poetry.

Mentor's Backstory / Push to the Belly of the Whale: the boys find an old yearbook.

Encouraged to the Belly of the Whale: what is the Dead Poets Society? Sucking the marrow out of life.

Push to the Belly of the Whale: I say we go tonight?

Resistance to the Belly of the Whale: some boys think it is dangerous; Neil persuades everyone; women swoon.

Foreboding of the Belly of the Whale: discussing the danger.

Resistance to the Transformation: Todd doesn't want to come; Todd doesn't want to read in public.

Overcoming Resistance: Keating says it's OK if Todd doesn't read in public.

Preparing for the Journey to the Belly of the Whale: with their pyjamas on, the torch.

Journey to the Belly of the Whale: at night.

Belly of the Whale: reading poetry in the cave.

Developing characters and relationships: each reading poetry.

Forced out of the Belly of the Whale: having to get back to school.

Meeting the Transformation Mentor: Keating does the impressions; makes the boys stand on their desks.

Forced to the Physical Separation: Keating asks everyone to write a poem that they'll have to read out to the class.

Foreboding of the Transformation: don't think I don't know this assignment doesn't scare the hell out of you.

Trial / Transformation 1:

Todd tries to write a poem.

Neil decides he's going to act; being in the clubs means you have to do something.

Knox riding his bike to see Charlie cheerlead; blocked by her boyfriend.

Marker / Guided by the Mentor: Keating takes the boys to the field to read and kick the ball.

Trial / Transformation 2:

Neil gets the part.

Foreshadow of the Resolution: Neil fakes a letter.

Todd practices his poem.

Knox reads his about Chris.

Keating forces a poem out of Todd.

Marker / Guided by the mentor: Playing football with Keating.

Trial / Transformation 3:

Developing Characters and Relationships: smoking pipes in the cave; the God of the cave; Charlie plays the sax.

Outer Cave / Leaving behind the Old Self: Knox decides to call Chris.

Resisting the Middle Cave: Knox resists making the phone call.

Middle Cave: Chris invites Knox to the party.

Inner Cave: that she was thinking about him.

Marker / Guided by the Mentor: Keating teaching the boys to find their walk; their voice.

Warning: being watched from above.

Throwing away the Old Self: Todd and Neil throwing the present over the wall.

New Selves: The girls arrive in the Cave; Charlie gets a new name – Niwanda; Niwanda quotes poetry to the girls.

Journey to the Sword: Knox arrives at the party; Knox drinking with the Mutts.

Guardians of the Sword: Knox kisses Chris; Knox gets beaten up.

Meeting the Oracle: Charlie announces that he slipped an article into the paper.

Journey to the Sword: the Head calls an assembly.

Seizing the Sword: Charlie gives himself up.

Near Death Experience: Charlie gets beaten in the Head's room.

Reward: Niwanda gives nothing away.

Atonement with the Father: the Head has a talk with Keating; Nola wants tradition and discipline, Keating wants to teach them to think for themselves.

Apotheosis: Keating tells Charlie not to choke on the bone.

Ultimate Boon: Neil rehearses in the play.

Guardian of the Sword: Father visits Neil and tells him he won't be acting.

Mentor's Guidance: Neil visits Keating and asks what to do; isn't there an easier way.

Seizing the Sword: Knox finds Chris and gives her the flowers.

Near Death Experience: Knox reads Chris the poem and is ridiculed.

Rebirth: Chris said nothing, but he did it.

Bypassing the Guardians: Neil lies to Keating about telling his father.

New Self: Charlie is painted red.

Atonement with the Father: Chris comes to see Knox at school.

Apotheosis: Knox takes Chris outside

Seizing the Sword: Neil performs in the play.

Ultimate Boon: Knox and Chris hold hands.

Night Sea Journey: Father turns up.

Death Experience: Neil at home; Neil kills himself.

Rebirth: the boys tell Todd, Neil is dead; Todd thinks the snow is beautiful; sick in the snow; running away.

Mourning / Mourning at loss of the Old Self / Disgust / Refusal: Keating crying at Neil's desk.

Rescue from Without: the assembly; intention to conduct an enquiry.

Shape Shifter Reveals: Cameron finks; they're after Keating.

Crossing the Return Threshold: The boys face the Head, one by one; Todd forced to sign the letter.

Goodbye: McAllister waves goodbye; Keating packs.

Master of Two Worlds: Keating collects his things; the boys stand on their desks; Captain my Captain.


by Kal Bashir