Neil’s Death in Dead Poets Society and Walt Whitman Quote

I suppose it’s quite apt that my first post in a long time is going to be about identity. Apt, because I struggled with the identity of this blog. And then I decided that I should just do what I do and keep on having the fun I had with it. Just write and figure it out later.

I wrote a post a long time ago about a quote of a quote from Dead Poets Society. I was trying to figure out a Walt Whitman poem that ends with

That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

The fact that it ends with “and identity;” is interesting because you’re expecting something else after. I’m aware that there’s a line under it but it still seems that the first line is an incomplete thought. I think that was the point. That it’s an incomplete thought. The first line is about a question–a mystery–of identity. The lack of complete thought, the blankness, is paralleled–compared–to a life that is not yet finished (hence the line about contributing a verse) or a life left unfinished…

And I think this is where Neil’s death from the movie comes in. It’s not just a movie about finding your identity; it’s also a movie about an unfinished life. A huge question of what could be.

I think that the last time I wrote about it, I was getting at this point but didn’t know how to articulate it. Glad I got that out after a year and five months. Here’s the previous post .


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