Based on the film Howards End (1992),directed by James Ivory
Scene 1 : 0:08:35 – 0:11:00
The main issue dealt with by the film is the issue of class differences in Edwardian England at the beginning of the 20th century. The film depicts the life of 2 families – the Wilcox family (Charles and Ruth Wilcox andtheir sons Charles-the elder and Paul-the younger son) who represent the upper class and the Schlegel family (the sisters Margaret and Helen Schlegel and their aunt June Schlegel),belonging to the middle class.
In the first scene analyzed in this presentation,Mrs. June Schlegel, the aunt of Margaret and Helen,comes to Howards End( the family home of the Wilcox family)because she haslearnt that Helen has fallen in love with Paul Wilcox. The purpose of her visit – she wants to get to know the Wilcox family in order to find out by herself whether the Wilcoxes are a suitable match for her niece.
The three core concepts of this theory that form the basis of symbolic interaction, MEANING, LANGUAGE and THOUGHT can be wellillustrated by this encounter between Charles Wilcox and Mrs. Schlegel.
MEANING – Charles`s behavior towards Mrs. Schlegel changes on the basis of different meanings that he assigns to her (Helen`s aunt VS a possible future family member).
LANGUAGE – the meaning attributed to the word younger in this context was not deciphered identically by both participants ofconversation what led to misunderstanding and a dispute btw. Mrs. Schlegel and Charles Wilcox.
* They did not construct the same social reality because
They did not understand the meaning of the word younger in the same way
THOUGHT – minding, Charles did not think about his reaction and acted impulsively,in his reaction – the I part of theSELF prevailed over the ME part.
* Role taking – in the given situation, Charles did not try to reflect and look at the situation through the eyes of Mrs. Schlegel
* The concept of Generalized Other – the concept of self shaped by the attitudes and expectations of the social group in which one lives, it shapes our behavior in a social situation
*Charles did not act in accordance with his generalized other, in this social situation, he did not evaluate his behavior towards an old lady Mrs. Schlegel appropriately( he is not polite towards the old lady and he calls Paul`s relationship with Helen a foolery of Paul`s, i.e. he does not respect that Helen is Mrs. Schlegel`s niece….+ difference btw.social classes is what makes himbehave in this way)
Coordinated Management of Meaning :
* Dialogic communication – failed, the main reason – the form of the speech acts used by both participants of communication is inappropriate: they interrupt each other, use threats, insults. Possible solution – they should have apologized to each other after explaining the misunderstanding and they shouldhave adopted a reasonable attitude towards the new situation.
* The logic of meaning and action – the insults used by Charles caused that Mrs. Schlegel addressed him with the same type of expressions
* Frames of communication used: 1. Episode, 2. Identity, 3.culture 4. relationship
* Coordination : achieved in the 1st part, they agreedto go together to Howards End to see Helen Schlegel. In the 2nd part – after their argument, no coordination
* Coherence : was not achieved, they assigned different meanings to the fact that Helen and Paul were in love (Mrs. Schlegel – happy about the news, Charles Wilcox – appalled, angry, indignant)
Expectancy Violations Theory :