Keating: Mr. Anderson, I see you sitting there in agony. Come on, Todd, step up. Let's put you out of your misery.
Todd: I, I didn't do it. I didn't write a poem.
Keating: Mr. Anderson thinks that everything inside of him is worthless and embarrassing. Isn't that right, Todd? Isn't that your worst fear? Well, I think you're wrong. I think you have something inside of you that is worth a great deal. [writes "I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world." W. W. on the chalkboard] Uncle Walt again. Now, for those of you who don't know, a yawp is a loud cry or yell. Now, Todd, I would like you to give us a demonstration of a barbaric "yawp." Come on. You can't yawp sitting down. Let's go. Come on. Up. You gotta get in "yawping" stance.
Todd: A yawp?
Keating: No, not just a yawp. A barbaric yawp.
Todd: [quietly] Yawp.
Keating: Come on, louder.
Todd: [quietly] Yawp.
Keating: No, that's a mouse. Come on. Louder.
Todd: Yawp.
Keating: Oh, good God, boy. Yell like a man!
Todd: [shouting] Yawp!
Keating: There it is. You see, you have a barbarian in you, after all. Now, you don't get away that easy. The picture of Uncle Walt up there. What does he remind you of? [Tod hesitates] Don't think. Answer. Go on.
Todd: A m-m-madman.
Keating: What kind of madman? [Tod hesitates again] Don't think about it. Just answer again.
Todd: A c-crazy madman.
Keating: No, you can do better than that. Free up your mind. Use your imagination. Say the first thing that pops into your head, even if it's only gibberish. Go on, go on.
Todd: Uh, uh, a sweaty-toothed madman.
Keating: Good God, boy, there's a poet in you, after all. There, close your eyes. Close your eyes. Close 'em. Now, describe what you see.
Todd: Uh, I-I close my eyes.
Keating: Yes?
Todd: Uh, and this image floats beside me.
Keating: A sweaty-toothed madman?
Todd: A sweaty-toothed madman with a stare that pounds my brain.
Keating: Oh, that's excellent. Now, give him action. Make him do something.
Todd: H-His hands reach out and choke me.
Keating: That's it. Wonderful. Wonderful.
Todd: And, and all the time he's mumbling.
Keating: What's he mumbling?
Todd: M-Mumbling, "Truth. Truth is like, like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold."
[Class laughs]
Keating: Forget them, forget them. Stay with the blanket. Tell me about that blanket.
Todd: Y-Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it'll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it'll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying to the moment we leave dying, it will just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream.
[the class claps because of his excellent poem]
Keating: [whispering to Todd] Don't you forget this.
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