Dead Poets Society

Todd Anderson Character Analysis

Todd is a new student at Welton, having transferred from another, less prestigious school. He doesn’t get along with his parents, who, he feels, favor his older, more academically successful brother, Jeffrey Anderson. At Welton, Todd is at first quiet and shy, but with the encouragement of John Keating and the friendship of Neil Perry, his roommate, he learns to open up, express his feelings, and compose impressive poetry. Todd is arguably the most “dynamic” character in the novel: his transformation from a shy conformist to a bold iconoclast epitomizes the novel’s rebellious spirit and coming-of-age themes.

Todd Anderson Quotes in Dead Poets Society

The Dead Poets Society quotes below are all either spoken by Todd Anderson or refer to Todd Anderson. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Hyperion edition of Dead Poets Society published in 2006.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Sixteen-year-old Todd Anderson, one of the few students not wearing the school blazer, hesitated as the boys around him rose to their feet. His mother nudged him up. His face was drawn and unhappy, his eyes dark with anger. He watched silently as the boys around him shouted in unison, “Tradition! Honor! Discipline! Excellence!”

Related Characters: Todd Anderson
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Dead Poets Society quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 2 Quotes

As the other boys stared at him, Todd fought back tears.
“You'll like soccer here, Anderson. All right, boys. Dismissed.”

Related Characters: Headmaster Gale Nolan (speaker), Todd Anderson
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Dead Poets Society LitChart as a printable PDF.
Dead poets society.pdf.medium

Todd Anderson Character Timeline in Dead Poets Society

The timeline below shows where the character Todd Anderson appears in Dead Poets Society. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
...the students immediately stand up and recite, “Tradition, Honor, Discipline, Excellence!” One student, the 16-year-old Todd Anderson, rises more slowly, and doesn’t join in the recitation. Todd is one of the... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
...parents hug their children affectionately, while Neil Perry’s father just stands stiffly by his son. Todd Anderson, whose parents aren’t in attendance, stands alone until, unexpectedly, Nolan approaches him. Nolan tells... (full context)
Chapter 2
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
...receive their extracurricular assignments. Two students, Steven Meeks and Pitts, whisper about the “new kid,” Todd Anderson. A teacher, Dr. Hager, overhears them and gives them both demerits. (full context)
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Love Theme Icon
...greets a couple of the boys and asks about their families. He then explains to Todd that he’ll be handing out extracurricular assignments. One by one, he gives the boys their... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
As the boys leave Nolan’s office, Neil Perry greets Todd—they’ve been assigned to be roommates. Todd explains to Neil that his older brother, Jeffrey, went... (full context)
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
...enter their dormitory. Cameron tells Neil that Neil’s roommate is a “stiff,” without seeing that Todd Anderson is standing next to him. Neil assures Todd, “Cameron’s a jerk.” (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Knox, Charlie, and Meeks greet Neil and Todd and ask Neil about taking chemistry at summer school. They agree that they’ll be in... (full context)
Chapter 3
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
...they fall silent. Meeks mentions that they should study Latin later that night, and invites Todd to join them. (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Alone in their room, Neil and Todd talk about their fathers. Todd mutters that he’d take Neil’s father over his own any... (full context)
Chapter 4
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
It’s the first day of class, and the junior boys wake up extra early. Todd admits to Neil that he’s feeling nervous, and Neil assures Todd that he’ll get through... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
...homework or risk being penalized on their final grades. By the middle of the day, Todd is feeling overwhelmed—there’s so much work to do. Steven Meeks assures Todd that he’ll be... (full context)
Chapter 5
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
...his father knows well—and, as Cameron informs the rest, major Welton alumni donors. Neil sees Todd lost in thought, and invites Todd to his friends’ study group that night. Todd declines,... (full context)
Chapter 6
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
After dinner, Neil asks Todd to come to the Dead Poets meeting in the cave that night. He insists that... (full context)
Chapter 7
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
...to order a meeting of the Dead Poets, explaining that he and his friends—except for Todd, who will keep the minutes of the meetings—will read poems. (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
That afternoon, Todd sits in his dorm, trying to write a poem and tearing up sheet after sheet... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Todd nervously asks Neil what his father would say if he found out that Neil was... (full context)
Chapter 8
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Love Theme Icon
At the Dead Poets Society meeting that afternoon, Charlie, Knox, Meeks, Cameron, Todd, and Pitts go to the cave and read from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Knox says... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Back in his dorm, Todd tries to write his poem, and becomes so frustrated with himself that he breaks his... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
It’s Todd’s turn to read his poem. Todd sadly admits that he hasn’t written a poem—he couldn’t... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Keating points Todd to the photograph of Walt Whitman that hangs over the door, urging Todd to think... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Love Theme Icon
That afternoon, Neil, Todd, and the other Dead Poets show up at the cave. Charlie has brought his saxophone,... (full context)
Chapter 9
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Love Theme Icon
When Neil gets back to school, he finds Todd, sitting by himself outside the gates, holding a box. Neil greets Todd, who explains that... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Todd remembers that when he was a kid, his father would call him “five ninety-eight”—the value... (full context)
Chapter 11
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Love Theme Icon
It’s winter at Welton, and Todd and Neil are busy going through lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in preparation for... (full context)
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Todd and Neil walk back to their dorm—and inside, Neil is shocked to find his father,... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Later in the day, Dr. Hager notices Meeks, Knox, and Todd eating their food oddly—on closer inspection, he sees that the boys are eating with their... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Love Theme Icon
...Poets are at the old cave. Knox sits writing a love poem for Chris, while Todd writes a poem of his own. The Poets suggest that Knox deliver his poem to... (full context)
Chapter 13
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
...begins to read from the Dead Poets Society poetry anthology. After Mr. Keating falls silent, Todd volunteers to read something he wrote. The poem begins, “We are dreaming of tomorrow, and... (full context)
Chapter 14
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Keating and his students return to Welton very late. Early the next morning, Charlie wakes Todd up in his bed. Neil is dead, Charlie explains, stone-faced: he shot himself. Todd is... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...weren’t for Keating, he claims, Neil would still be alive, dreaming of being a doctor. Todd angrily tells Cameron that he’s wrong—Keating didn’t tell Neil to do anything. “I say let... (full context)
Chapter 15
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
...Meeks comes 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... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
A few minutes later, Dr. Hager comes outside to bring Todd in to meet with Nolan. Inside the office, Todd finds Nolan waiting with Todd’s own... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Todd hesitates. His parents shout at him to sign the contract. But Todd refuses. Keating loves... (full context)
Life, Death, and “Carpe Diem” Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Conformity and Success Theme Icon
Rebellion and Passion Theme Icon
Keating packs up his things, listening to Cameron read the essay. Suddenly, Todd jumps up and says, “They made everybody sign it!” As Nolan shouts for Todd to... (full context)