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Neil Perry

Neil Perry

Biographical information


Between 1 September 1941 and 31 August 1942


15 December 1959 (aged 17), Perry's family home

Physical information

Relationship information


Actor / Actress

"I was good. I was really good"
- Neil, hours before his suicide

Neil Perry was the son of Tom Perry and Mrs. Perry. He attended Welton Academy in 1959 and was the leader of the revitalized Dead Poets Society. Neil was seen to be outgoing and popular amongst his peers, but struggled with standing up to his father to achieve his dream of being an actor.

Biography [edit | edit source]

His parents wanted him to take his life seriously and force him into the medical field, but his connection with John Keating inspired him to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. His father’s harsh disregard of his emotions, feelings, dreams and goals led to Neil's suicide - causing his father to blame Keating for both “brainwashing” Neil and his death.

School background [edit | edit source]

Neil was part of the school newspaper's editing team, but was forced to drop the activity by his father. He was also an ambitious honors student, taking on summer school courses in addition to regular coursework to get ahead.

Personality [edit | edit source]

According to the fandom, Neil was born on the 25th January, and was an extroverted and passionate student. He was often seen joking around with his classmates and friends. As expressed by Mr. Nolan, he was an honor student who took many extracurriculars, demonstrating his school smarts and adherence to the rules. Despite being in many extracurriculars, Neil did not care deeply about any of them, instead revelling in the feeling of being free to do things of his own choosing.

When hanging out with the Dead Poets Society, he was more eccentric and carefree. Once his father came around, Neil would straighten himself and become rigid. His voice would also crack and his smile fall. He is seen hiding his sadness plenty of times with a smile when his friends come back around, namely right after the first encounter with him and his father in Neil and Todd's dorm room.

While playing Puck in Henley Hall's production of Midsummer Night's Dream, Neil allowed himself to indulge in the more impish side of his personality while both acting and outside of it. He was seen to be more daring and careless. Despite that, he remained terrified of standing up to authority, namely his father, as shown when Charlie's prank almost led to the Dead Poets Society to discovered.

Relationships [edit | edit source]

Family [edit | edit source]

Tom Perry [edit | edit source]

The relationship between Tom Perry and his son is a very strained one. At the beginning of the movie, Neil continuously bends to his father’s will. However, as the movie progresses, he begins to tentatively defy his father’s wishes by acting in the play. When his father becomes enraged with him over his participation in the play and plans to enroll him in military school, Neil commits suicide, believing it is the only way he will be free from a future he doesn't want. Mr. Perry believes that it was his so-called creative and inspiring teacher John Keating corrupting Neil with his Carpe Diem lessons.

Mrs. Perry [edit | edit source]

The movie does not explicitly outline their relationship. It appears they are in the same position when it comes to Mr. Perry, in a constant state of being bossed around with him, e.g. in the scene where Mr. Perry threatened to send Neil to a new school.

Charlie Dalton [edit | edit source]

Charlie and Neil seemed to have been best friends, with a certain sense of familiarity indicating they have seemingly been close friends for a very long time. After Neil's death, Charlie seemed to act more irrationally, which caused his expulsion from Welton when he punched Cameron in the face for selling out Keating to Mr. Nolan.

Todd Anderson [edit | edit source]

Todd Anderson: "I can take care of myself just fine."
Neil Perry, smiling: "No"
- Neil and Todd in their dorm room

Since they were roommates and Todd was new to Welton, Neil found it important to include Todd in his conversations despite the latter being extremely shy. Todd was extremely reluctant to build a friendship with any of the Dead Poets Society members, yet Neil encouraged him to do so by finding ways to make Todd comfortable with the situation.

Neil always tried to inspire Todd to speak up for himself and compared him to Walt Whitman in regard to his poetry. They rehearsed lines for the play together and often leaned against each other during conversations or Dead Poets Society meetings.

Todd was the one of the two members of the Dead Poets Society that was affected the most by Neil's death. He blamed Mr. Perry for Neil's death claiming that Neil loved life too much to take his own. Neil's death was one of the factors that helped Todd to finally speak for himself and defend Mr. Keating.

Trivia [edit | edit source]

  • Neil's desire has been to become an actor as one can see when he plays the part of Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, a play by William Shakespeare.
  • Neil is very outspoken.
  • If you look closely at Mr Perry's calendar on the desk of his office, the date is the 15th of December, revealing the date of Neil’s death.
  • Prior to the movies events, Neil tried to go to Summer Stock auditions but his father did not allow him too.