Charlie is a student at Welton, and comes from a rich, successful family. He’s more openly disobedient than his Welton peers, although for most of the book, he’s shown to be just as frightened of his parents as his classmates are of theirs. Under the guidance of John Keating, Charlie experiments with drinking, dancing, wooing women, and generally rebelling against the stiff, overly repressive atmosphere at Welton Academy. Charlie is one of Keating’s most loyal followers, to the point where he’s arguably more interested in rebellion and nonconformity than Keating himself is. As the novel ends, Charlie is expelled from Welton for punching Cameron and refusing to compromise in his loyalty to Keating.
The timeline below shows where the character Charlie Dalton appears in Dead Poets Society. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...than three quarters of graduating students went on to the Ivy League. Two students, 16-year-olds Charlie Dalton and Knox Overstreet, smile at this information—they both exemplify the classic, “preppy” Ivy League... (full context)
...how his classes have been going. Nolan insists that he’s not blaming Mr. Keating for Charlie’s actions, but also suggests that he’s heard rumors of unorthodox activity in Mr. Keating’s class.... (full context)
...the dining hall and explains that his father is forcing him to quit the play. Charlie suggests that Neil talk to Mr. Keating about the matter. Charlie, followed reluctantly by Neil... (full context)
...immediately gets the audience’s attention as Puck—he’s an excellent actor. As the play goes on, Charlie notices Virginia Danburry, playing Hermia—“She’s beautiful,” he sighs. Meanwhile, Chris finds “herself becoming infatuated with... (full context)
...that Cameron is talking to Headmaster Nolan right now—explaining everything about the Dead Poets Society. Charlie nods, realizing what’s going on—Welton needs a scapegoat for the accident. “Schools go under because... (full context)
...back from his meeting with Nolan, crying. Outside Nolan’s office, he explains to Todd that Charlie has been expelled. Todd asks what Meeks told Nolan, and Meeks replies, “Nothing they didn’t... (full context)