Here are your responses to the fourth question of why Todd, who had similarly
screwed up parents, didn't take the same way out as Neal. (NOTE: Most of
the people who sent responses did not mention if they wanted their email
addresses displayed. To be safe, I assumed they did not. However, if you
would like your email shown with your response, please
Todd didn't react in the same way because he was a totally different boy.
He said it himself, "I'm not like you, Neal. You get stirred up by things,
and you say things, and people listen." Todd wasn't as driven by his passions
as Neal was. He was really much more down to earth, as you saw when he
discouraged Neal from forging the letter from his father, and other times
that I just can't think of right now. So that's that one.
Cindy: That is a very interesting question
and I propose a very interesting answer. Neil and Todd were touched by
Mr. Keating in different ways. Neil was shown that there are things outside
of what your parents want from you and that one should go after their dreams.
Todd was shown that he is a different person than his brother, a worthy
individual. I think that if Neil had not committed suicide that Todd might
have, but Todd was too devestated by Neil's death and Todd felt responsible
for Mr. Keating's situation and wanted to right the wrong.
Adam: Todd didn't take the
same way out because he was not in such as bad predicament. He was not
being "sentenced" to the same schooling as Neil. Neil's parents cared too
much and Todd's too little. He also didn't live on
the same rollercoaster of emotions as Neil.
Charlie: Todd was not like Neil.
He was very shy as the movie shows--he didn't even want to read aloud at
the DPS meetings. He tells Neil, "I am not like you. When you
say things people listen." Also, Todd was not a romantic, he was
a realist. You see at the beginning of the movie, after being told
of Carpe Diem, he writes it on paper and then wads it up and throws it
away. He even throws his poem away that he writes and says that he
didn't do the assignment. He wanted to be a romantic though.
He just didn't let it "stir things up inside of him, as Neil did".
However, you see at the end of the movie, Todd was the first person to
disobey the headmaster and stand on his desk to show Mr. Keating that he
never blamed him for Neil's death by saying, "Oh captain, my captain".
Christie: Because Todd did not let
the passion inside of him take control of his life. The other boys:
Knox, Nwanda, Cameron, and Neil all had some type of symbolic death because
the passion took control of their life. The foreshadowing of Neil's story
the first night in the cave, where the old woman's passion led to her death.
I don't believe Todd was as frustrated and trapped as Neil; he also wasn't
as sure of what he wanted to do with his life. I think he didn't have a
key reason, nor the guts.
Sharon: Todd didn't have the same passion
as Neil did. He was the only one who didn't use "Carpe Diem" as a moral
for something he did. He chose to wait until his parents had no hold on
him, and then he would chose his own life. Also, his parents weren't quite
as screwed up.
Neil: I had never thought about
this before, and so it is an interesting one. He wasn't affected as much
by the message of Keating until the end as shown at 16.50 minutes by his
tearing up of the note he wrote in his room. He was upset by his friend's
death but more so by the screaming injustice of it all. He wanted to rectify
it but couldn't and suicide wouldn't do it. Keating's message finally got
through to him at the end when he realised that it was now or never. Truly
as the music at that point is called it was "Keating's Triumph". What he
had achieved could never be undone. Todd realised that his action wasn't
worthless as he saw others follow his lead.
Dan: Todd did not commit suicide simply
because he was a different person and different people deal with things
differently. While Neal was frustrated and devastated by his parents
attitudes, Todd realized that someday he would be free from his.
Neal's perspective was less realistic: he saw his situation as completely
unbearable and found suicide to be the ony way out. Todd lacked Neal's
passion and melodrama and desire to achieve his dreams. (Ironic then, isn't
it, that Todd would be the one of the two who was able to fulfill his dreams
fully?) But Neal's death is the reason that Todd chose to begin living
fully right away, rather than wait submissively until he was free from
all controlling powers. I, like everyone else who sees this movie,
wish that Neal had chosen some other method of escape from his father,
but I also see that if Neil not lived as passionately as he had, he never
would have affected people the way he did. In the beginning of the
movie, would Todd have stood up on his desk to say "Oh captain, my captain...?"
Keating inspired Neal to live fully, and Neal's life (and death) inspired
those around him both to live fully and not to take life for granted.
Amy: Todd wasn't the same person as
Neil, as he states himself. While Todd and Neil are both moved by
what Mr. Keating has to say, they are moved in different ways. It
is more Neil's character to act out and show the world what he has to offer
than it is Todd's. Todd was prone to sit in the background, deal,
and accept with what was thrown at him, while Neil didn't accept how he
was treated and wanted to change that.
N. B. Turfrey: I had never
thought about this before, and so it is an interesting one. He wasn't effected
as much by the message of Keating until the end as shown at 16.50 minutes
by his tearing up of the note he wrote in his room. He was upset by his
friend's death but more so by the screaming injustice of it all. He wanted
to rectify it but couldn't and suicide wouldn't do it. Keating's message
finally got through to him at the end when he realised that it was now
or never. Truly as the music at that point is called it was "Keating's
Triumph". What he had achieved could never be undone. Todd realised that
his action wasn't worthless as he saw others follow his lead.
Miriam: I feel like I have to defend
Todd a bit, since all the answers sort of portray him like a dull, shy
person without any will of his own, just accepting his boring faith. Maybe
he realized that suicide wouldn´t solve anything. Staying alive,
Todd could become anything he wanted, in time. Dead, there wasn´t
much left but fertilizing daffodils.
Marc: I'm intrigued by
other people's responses to Todd not being as passionate as Neil, and that
Neil and the other boys fulfill Mr. Keating's call better than he.
Keating emphasizes that to live is to suck the marrow out of life, but
not out of frustration nor simplistic challenges of one's parents.
Nuanda's "growth" is superficial -- all self-absorbing and sophomoric.
Unfortunately, though I like the character, so is Neil's growth.
Neil violates the whole idea of the Dead Poet's Society by killing himself
-- he destroys his life and the potential to live it fully, even if at
a later point.
Plus, sucking the marrow out of life does not have to mean that a person
must be Byronic and die extraordinarily for life. Keating finished
at the top of the class, went on to Cambridge, and became a teacher.
His sucking the marrow is in how how he just whistles all over campus --
Keating has quiet rebellion too. A rebel need not be a martyr.
I think that Todd, who begins quiet but then gains his voice, will be a
much more suitable protege for Keating than Neil could be. Todd may
yet grow more, and isn't that the point of the movie? Todd will continue
to change and grow, seizing each day given to him, while Neil is
food for worms.
Sorry to be so harsh! For me, suicide is the antithesis of living
Alfia and Amy: Todd didn't do the same
thing because he is the kind of guy who is reserved and conservative. Maybe
he had never shown his intention to his parents. For example when he got
the same birthday present every year, he never said a word about it. He
is the kind of person who always avoids conflict and argument.
Jason Harris: We don't
know that he didn't. The pressure might become too much for him and he
might crack too. And I am sure the death of a close friend isn't going
to improve the situation. He also could have blamed Mr.Keating's firing
on himself and that won't help either. So he might have, just not in the
span of the movie.
Sylvia: Why not Todd, too? Short
answer: Todd's a prophet. Despite his screwy upbringing he's got
some kind of balance in himself. He can benefit from
Keating without buying the whole shop. Pay attention to his two
poems - the one he scraps and the one he produces in class. The first
includes the lines, "we're dreaming of a new day...we're waiting for salvation".
Now Keating's already at the school when Todd writes this - so Todd doesn't
identify Keating with "salvation", he's still waiting. The second
poem is the kicker. It's about Walt Whitman - Keating's great oracle
/ authority, "Uncle Walt". Okay: uncle walt is a madman reaching
out to choke (no breath = no words = silence = death) whose "truth" is
partial because it only covers the face and leaves the feet out in the
cold. Where do you see covered faces and feet sticking out?
Right - the morgue. So Todd, "inspired", basically tells Keating:
what you're giving us is a half-truth, it's not enough and it's deadly!
I understand Todd as someone who loves truth (in both senses - "the truth"
as we usually think of it, and "troth" = sworn loyalty). That's why
he can produce that devastating poem, and rebuke Neil about the forged
letters, yet still speak up at the end. Keating misjudges him badly
when he calls him a "mole".
Class of 99 Alberton , South Africa:
Todd at the beginging was the shy and recluse one but the story line unfolds
a newer person. He was truly the leader, he was stronger and he was not
a passionate person like Neil. Neil thought with his heart, Todd thought,
and worked things out logically. A passionate person does not deal with
things as well as a logical person does. They may have had simular circumstances
but they were different in their own right and therefore can not be compared.
Du Toit Albertus: Todd's
parents pressure wasn't as extreme as Neil's. Neil were forced into
a direction he didn't want by his parents. Todd had these high expectations
to live up to, but his parents apparent lack of interest in his life, made
his life lonely, but also removed some of these pressure from him. Furthermore,
Keating's influence on him was positive, and he took what he needed.
After his expulsion (It was imminent) I would've expected his parents
to be extremely upset, but Todd had made the change to an individual with
freedom and openess of mind, that his relations could even have bettered.
For one, his parents would have noticed him!