For the first time in my life, I found myself tremendously shaken and effected to my very bones by a movie. I love watching movies, but they come and leave like stars at nightfall. None of them manages to cast such an ample amount of effect or rather magic on me like this one did. The last time I felt this emotionally rich was when I finished reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I just sat there, with my book on my lap, staring at the wall. And after a long time the incident recurred, but this time to my own surprise, by a movie.
I sometimes feel incredibly sad for today’s generation. Being a part of it has brought me many perks, of course, but I couldn’t be more glad to the sheer wisdom of these beautiful rectangular friends called books who saved me from turning into a robot of flesh and bones. The reason I express my sadness and disappointment is I no more find young generation reading Poetry. They don’t see any beauty in it. They don’t see the grace and art, the intense emotions, they don’t understand love, romanticism, nature. To my horror, some of my friends also think of poetry as boring. I feel so privileged to be a part of an era THIS ignorant and still being intensely and strongly connected to words.
The movie DEAD POETS SOCIETY is an American Drama film released in 1989 starring Robin Williams (Bless His Soul). The story is a very moving tale of how an English teacher at a very rigid, conservative and aristocratic school called Welton Academy inspires students through poetry. He teaches them to extract lessons from each and every verse. Asks them to live life as ‘freethinkers’ and to always look at life from their perspective. He implores the students to read poetry and not understand it from the poet’s mindset, but from their own young, invincible minds.
I kept taking notes the entire movie. What a brilliant way it has connected poetry with life. How artistically the movie has exhumed the beauty that got buried as time passed, under pillars of rigid and passionless education.The message conveyed is remarkable. In the very first class that John Keating (Robin Williams) takes, he introduces the students with the verse:
‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may: Old time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today: Tomorrow will be dying.’
and then tells about the Latin term for these sentiments, ‘Carpe Diem’ or ‘Seize The Day.’ He further asks “Why does the writer use these lines?” and then explains, “Because we are food for worms lads, because believe it or not each and every one of us in this room is one day gonna stop breathing, turn cold and die.” And so he asks everyone to make the best of what they have, live life and find their deepest passions. He quotes Walt Whitman,
“That you are here—that life exists and identity,That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”
and asks the students,
“What would your verse be?”
The students become so moved by his teachings that they decide to revive the ‘Dead Poets Society’ to which Keating formerly belonged when he was a student at Welton Academy. They begin to understand poetry. To drink and fill up their souls with verses pure and wise. Keating tells them that they didn’t just read poetry, they let it drip from their tongues like honey.
Through him the students at Welton Academy started daring. Daring to follow their passions and to accomplish something more than just grades. To not exist but to live! And lastly Keating taught each one of us that we didn’t read and write poetry because it was cute, we read and write poetry because we were members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. I won’t disclose the ending, but I would say this movie made my heart brim with emotions so intense that the heaven peeked down on Earth to see what it was that made my soul so powerfully shaken: leaving me in a pool of warm, happy tears.
So my one request to all those who read this, to all those who may or may not appreciate poetry, to all those bodies where there lies that little spark of passion waiting to ignite, watch this movie. It may change your perspective about life.
So don’t you sit upon the shore line and say you’re satisfied, choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tide.
Carpe Diem my friends. Seize The Day! Make your life extraordinary!