Dead Poets Society

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Neil Perry’s severe, demanding father, Mr. Perry, is an intensely practical man, whose highest priority is Neil’s success in school. Mr. Perry is skeptical of Neil’s extracurricular interests, since he thinks that Neil’s goal in life should be to become a doctor. When Neil begins to show interest in acting, Mr. Perry forbids his son from performing on any stage again—a prohibition that leads directly to Neil’s suicide. In spite of his intimidating behavior, Mr. Perry is shown to be a devoted father, who sincerely believes that he’s doing his son a favor by forcing him to concentrate on academics.

Mr. Perry Quotes in Dead Poets Society

The Dead Poets Society quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Perry or refer to Mr. Perry. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Hyperion edition of Dead Poets Society published in 2006.
Chapter 3 Quotes

His eyes raging, Mr. Perry hissed at his son. “I will not be disputed in public, do you understand me?”

Related Characters: Mr. Perry (speaker), Neil Perry
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Neil Perry, one of the novel’s main characters, gets a visit from his strict father, Mr. Perry. Mr. Perry informs Neil that he’s taking too many extracurricular activities—Neil must resign from some of his extracurriculars and concentrate on his academics instead. Mr. Perry thinks that he has the right to decide what Neil does and doesn’t do with his time—furthermore, he won’t stand Neil arguing with him about his right to do so.

In short, Mr. Perry is the living, breathing embodiment of the repressive atmosphere at Welton Academy. The students who attend Welton are already used to strict rules and tyrannical authority in school, because they’ve been putting up with these things from their own parents for years. The passage is particularly important because it shows that Neil has a lot in common with his roommate, Todd Anderson—in fact, one could say, the one thing that unites all Welton students together is the fact that they’re used to being bossed around by adults.

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Mr. Perry Character Timeline in Dead Poets Society

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Perry appears in Dead Poets Society. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Mr. Perry , Neil’s father, has just entered Neil’s room. The boys greet Mr. Perry politely. Mr.... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Outside, where they’re alone, Mr. Perry angrily tells Neil never to contradict him in public again. Mr. Perry reminds Neil to... (full context)
Chapter 11
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
...Neil is shocked to find his father, waiting for him. Without even greeting his son, Mr. Perry shouts, “Neil, you are going to quit this ridiculous play immediately.” He demands to know... (full context)
Chapter 12
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
...to act, as long as he keeps his grades up. Neil, who hasn’t spoken to Mr. Perry at all, walks away from Mr. Keating, embarrassed by his lie. (full context)
Education Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Love Theme Icon
Back in the dressing room, the theater director alerts Neil— Mr. Perry is in the theater, and he looks furious. In the lobby, Neil finds Mr. Perry... (full context)
Chapter 13
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Neil, his mother, and his father are gathered in their home. Mr. Perry tells Neil that he’s withdrawing Neil from Welton—from now on, Neil will go to Braden... (full context)
Chapter 14
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Back in the Perry house, Mr. Perry wakes up—he’s heard a loud noise. He runs into Neil’s room to find Neil, clutching... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
...himself. Todd is so shaken he runs to the bathroom and vomits. Todd shouts that Mr. Perry killed Neil—Neil would never give up on life. Knox is doubtful, but Todd insists he’s... (full context)