What words did Mr. Perry say to Neil that would come back to haunt him in "Dead Poets Society"?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Neil's father is haunted by his display of power over his son.  After seeing his son on stage with considerable talent and even more passion, Mr. Perry asserts power over Neil.  He takes him from Welton and insists he is going to place him in military school and then Harvard so he can become a doctor.  Mr. Perry makes it clear to Neil that as his father, he will not be disobeyed.  He will not surrender his will to his son's.  He makes it clear that the power dynamic rests with him and not Neil.  He comes to regret this, haunted by it as the narrative develops.  Neil ends up committing suicide as a result of having to face a life without passion, without the hope of "carpe diem" and without the "gather of rosebuds."  Mr. Perry ends up being haunted by the fact that his son exerted the power in taking his own life.  While Mr. Perry made it clear that he was the source of all decision making, Neil made the biggest decision in ending his own life.  To a great extent, Mr. Perry comes to regret the exercise of power without anything in regard for Neil.  It is here where I think that Mr. Perry comes to be haunted in the words and ideas he speaks to him before Neil takes his own life.


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