MR. KEATING: Now I see that look in Mr. Pitts' eyes, like literature and poetry have nothing to do with going to business school, right? Maybe. Mr. Hopkins, you may agree with him, thinking "Yes, we should simply study our Mr. Pritchard and learn our rhyme and meter and go quietly about the business of achieving other ambitions." I have a little secret for you. Huddle up. Huddle up! We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering—these are noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love—these are what we stay alive for.
It's true…what good is poetry going to do for a business school application, or to get into Harvard Law? The students have a hard time understanding why they have to study this stuff in order to be engineers or doctors. Mr. Keating's answer? Because poetry is what we stay alive for. It's like love and romance and all that good stuff: it makes life more beautiful. You might not be able to make much of a living writing or reading it, but you might enjoy your life more if you learn to enjoy poetry.