The Influence “O Captain, My Captain” Has on the Welton Academy Boys In the movie, Dead Poets Society, Mr. Keating is a radical teacher with unusual teaching techniques compared to the other teachers at Welton Academy. His unusual teaching techniques soon prove to influence the boys of the academy and he is able to get them more involved and interested in English. For Mr. Keating’s first class he instructs the boys to call him “O Captain, My Captain! ” and the boys are puzzled by his request.
From then on, the boys become curious about whom Mr. Keating is. They soon find out about his “radical” behavior while he was in school and a new found respect is formed from student to teacher. As the school year progresses, “The Captain” encourages individuality which leads to the change in point of views of the young men. The young men begin to see the freedom that Mr. Keating offers in his English class, and in the general English curriculum. Mr.
Keating helps them understand that they can express themselves through writing; poetry in specific. The boys realize they can accomplish and learn a lot when they use the “skills” and beauty of English in their life. For example, one boy found his passion of acting, while another found his “voice” and courage. The young men embrace “The Captain’s” teaching techniques because they are different. The techniques lead the boys to find their passion for life and their own individual voice. When problems begin to arise and Mr.
Keating is fired from his position, the boys notice their loss of voice and individuality. While many embraced Mr. Keating’s teachings, there were some opposed to it. The young men that were opposed to his teachings were too afraid to disobey the “outline” and plan their parents already had for them. They were already conformed to the ideal son that would become a lawyer or doctor. The boys did not want to disappoint their parents and disrupt the plan already set out for them. Simply, Mr.
Keating’s methods of teaching were effective and influential to the young men because they learned about individuality and the restraints conformity causes. “O Captain, My Captain! ” is the final address given to Mr. Keating when he is leaving the school. The simple use of the phrase is an example of the unusual English teachings Mr. Keating provided. With the young men using and knowing where the phrase came from and the meaning behind it showed the true respect and thanks they have towards Mr. Keating- their Captain.