Todd is pacing circles about his room as he reads his poem. His pacing slows and then he tears the poem up.
INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY
Knox stands at the front of the room with his poem in hand.
KNOX (quietly) "To Chris."
Charlie looks up from his desk with a grin.
BOY 1 Who's Chris?
BOY 2 Mmm, Chris.
KNOX I see a sweetness in her smile. Blight light shines from her eyes. But life is complete; contentment is mine, Just knowing that...
Several students begin to snicker.
KNOX just knowing that she's alive.
Knox crumples his poem and walks back to his desk.
KNOX Sorry, Captain. It's stupid.
KEATING No, no. It's not stupid. It's a good effort. It touched on one of the major themes, love. A major theme not only in poetry, but life. Mr. Hopkins, you were laughing. You're up.
Hopkins slowly walks to the front of the class and unfolds his piece of paper.
HOPKINS "The cat sat on the mat."
KEATING Congratulations, Mr. Hopkins. Yours is the first poem to ever have a negative score on the Pritchard scale. We're not laughing at you, we're laughing near you. I don't mind that your poem had a simple theme. Sometimes the most beautiful poetry can be about simple things, like a cat, or a flower or rain. You see, poetry can come from anything with the stuff of revelation in it. Just don't let your poems be ordinary. Now, who's next?
Keating approaches Todd's desk.
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.
Keating walks up to the blackboard and begins to write.
KEATING "I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world." W. W. 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.
Todd reluctantly stands and follows Keating to the front.
KEATING 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.
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.
Todd goes to return to his seat but Keating stops him.
KEATING Now, you don't get away that easy.
Keating turns Todd around and points out a picture on the wall.
KEATING The picture of Uncle Walt up there. What does he remind you of? Don't think. Answer. Go on.
Keating begins to circle around Todd.
TODD A m-m-madman.
KEATING What kind of madman? 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 total 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.
Keating puts his hands over Todd's eyes and they begin to slowly spin around.
TODD Uh, I-I close my eyes.
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.
Keating removes his hands from Todd but Todd keeps his eyes closed.
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."
The students begin to laugh and Todd opens his eyes. Keating quickly gestures for him to close them again.
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.
Todd opens his eyes. The class is silent. Then they begin to clap and cheer.
KEATING (whispering to Todd) Don't you forget this.