When Robin Williams passed away this past summer, I immediately thought his performance in one of my very favorite movies of all time, "Dead Poets Society." I recently had the chance to watch it again after I recorded it off one of my movie channels. I'll be honest--I was crying even as the opening credits flashed across the screen. All of the beloved quotes from the movie reinforced my life-long desire to become a published novelist.
While I love all the characters in the group (with the exception of Cameron, the fink!), I made connections that I had never made before--such as the dichotomy of the characters Knox and Neil. Knox may come across in the movie as a silly, lovestruck teenager, but he follows his teacher's passion in pursuing the things you love--and in the end, he succeeds by winning the girl. Neil also strives to find his own voice on the stage, but his success is his downfall. It's incredibly sad.
This time I also viewed the themes of the movie through the eyes of a parent. I made a vow to never squash my kids' dreams and punish them for working hard at something they love. While I do have clear expectations that they go to college, I'm not going to dictate what careers they pursue. I realize they movie was set in a very different time, but it was a good reminder nonetheless. I look forward to sharing the movie with them in just a few short years and hope they love it as much as I do.
After, watching "Dead Poets Society," I was inspired to pull a few of my poetry anthologies off my bookshelf. I especially love the Romantic and English Victorian periods, but now I also want to dive back into some Thoreau and Whitman, too.
By Christina Rossetti
When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.