Study Guide

Dead Poets Society Family

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From the beginning, family plays a big role in Dead Poets Society. Parents show up to drop off their sons, but not without reminding them of their big expectations and hopes. The tension between child and parent recurs every time one character wants to do something outside the strict tradition Welton represents.

Some students want more family involvement in their lifeā€¦and others want to be allowed to determine their own future, free of familial influence. In the end, some family battles wind up proving serious enough to alter the course of everyone's life.

Questions About Family

  1. How does Todd's family history affect his character? Is this reinforced by his classmates, or do they help him to change?
  2. Why does Neil's father want him to go to medical school?
  3. Which characters successfully stand up to their family members?

Chew on This

Both Neil and his father want what is best for Neil. They just have differing ideas about what that means.

Todd and Neil bond over their parental problems, but their parents are actually pretty much the opposite of each other.

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