This week, I watched the old 1957 film, 12 Angry Men, for my Human Behavior in a Social Environment course. Becoming more and more engrossed in this back and white flick, I forgot I was doing homework and started to have fun with my analysis…
My English teacher used to tell us that good literature requires a drastic change in character. Perhaps that’s part of what makes the deliberation between the men in this movie so interesting. By the end, our perception of each and every man on the jury has made a complete turn-around. Take a look at a principle piece of my analysis:
“Without the culmination of each juror’s specialization, the boy could have easily been sent to the electric chair. At first glace, we think we are observing a group of white, upper-class men – dressed in suits, in a rush to make a decision about the boy’s life. But as the deliberation plays out, we get to know immigrants, construction workers, other men who grew up in the slums, salesmen, base ball coaches. Each and every member brings specialized information to the table, allowing them to ‘solve the puzzle’ with real precision. For example, the juror from the slum, due to his background, is able to demonstrate that the angle of the wound, which speared the heart of the boy’s father, was one that the boy was far too smart and experienced to make with that particular knife. It is through each specialized detail that the men become gradually united on the fact that the boy could not have been the one to kill his father.”
Watching this film was a reminder for me not to pass judgement on people without acquainting myself with their world first.