Angry Men Analysis Essay

Angry Men Analysis Essay
When the film began there were symptoms of groupthink evident. However, the viewer got the opportunity to see who was doing the emotional shoving and who was just blowing steam. The bigoted man with the cold was the first on the scene with remarks about people that he saw as "lower" than him. As he was talking, you could see that the man that indeed, did grow up in the lower class part of town was getting very angry at the bigoted man's remarks. Next is the man who really wanted to see the ball game that night and had probably had good tickets. As an avid baseball fan, one does not create a stink over missing a game that had nosebleed seats. One who has front row tickets would. After a couple of minutes of getting to know one another he immediately went after the man who was a Baltimore fan. Even in the man’s rhetoric he chastised the Baltimore fan for simply being a Baltimore fan. Going back to the bigoted man, the second that he said "there’s always one" the viewer right away knew that this man was indeed going to be rude to not only Henry Fonda but to the rest of the jury as well. It was in the way he said to Fonda "there’s always one" was the beginning of the end of his talking influence over the rest of the jury. If one looks closely when he said "there’s always one", the rest of the jury was not exactly in agreement with his remarks but agreeing with the fact that there was a man that simply did not agree with their verdict and that the deciding was going to take a little longer than 5-10 minutes. The interesting aspect about the man who yells a lot and has issues with his son is he has the stress factor that Janis talks about in her article. He had a falling out with his son and described it to us early in the film. At the very end, it becomes very clear that he was not looking at the facts but simply had a grudge on the defendant because of his current issue with his own son. When he realized that he was fighting alone at the end of the film, he broke down due to the fact that he simply couldn’t answer all of the critical inquiries about his reasons and gave the not guilty plea once he realized, he was in the wrong. Before they went in the room, there was blatant groupthink coming from the man who yelled frequently as he was telling the timid man with the glasses that this was simply an "open and shut case". I was glad to see that although timid, the man was not buying it and therefore made the film more interesting. The man with the glasses however suffered from the symptom Janis likes to call self-censorship. He said nothing when the group was debating and chiming in only when he knew that he would not be asked to repeat his reasoning. He did not like to deviate from what he thought was the group consensus and warily added on to Fonda's statements after Fonda said them with confidence.
It must be noted that by Janis' definitions, the man who was yelling frequently also had the symptoms of groupthink. First he was yelling loudly and showed off blatant displays of illusion invulnerability. Many times he said that no one was going to change his vote and he also tried to reason with himself to the jurors that he was indeed right, and they were wrong. This fits perfectly into the symptom Janis likes to call "rationale". The man follows through with stereotypes and later puts on the pressure to other members of the jury but by this time, he has lost respect due to his bullying and is a sort of lame duck. In the beginning, I really do think that Henry Fonda was after the truth and it may have been the acting, but there was more than one time that I think that he may have been using his rhetoric to make a groupthink situation. His face when a juryman swayed his vote to not guilty gives leverage to my hypothesis.
The foreman’s neutrality was a very important aspect of the film however I think that just being the leader of the vote gave him some power and if he wanted to, could have put the jury in a groupthink situation. The reason goes back to Janis' piece in which people will change their choice to the majority when the majority gives their vote. Anyone could have been the leader of the vote and many times the foreman offered his seat to one of the jury man. They refused but I believe that there was that moment when he asked in a condescending tone if one of the men would like his seat that he pulled rank on them, and could have composed a groupthink situation had he wanted to. In the start of the film, the entire group is trying to sway Henry Fonda to change his vote to guilty through many different types of ways discussed in Janis' piece but it was the courage of Fonda to ask that the men look at the facts, that made the film more interesting and more importantly, save the situation from becoming a groupthink situation and an example of social conformity. With Fonda not there, the defendant would have gotten the electric chair due to the fact that the jurors simply were trying to avoid a foul odor in the "we" atmosphere.
Although probably impossible, a great way to avoid groupthink would be to execute one of their thrown away ideas in the film, in which they would all have their time to talk about the case and give their honest opinion and also back up their reasons why the defendant was guilty or not guilty. This would avoided pressure from others and every juror would have gotten the chance to not only get to know the juror, but know his stance on the case and even if they did not agree with what the speaker was saying, they would at least have to respect what the speaker was saying and wait their turn to voice their opinion. This is easier said than done. However if this was done correctly, then the jurors would behave how Janis describes as understanding while giving and receiving self-esteem and providing social equanimity by providing social support to one and other. Although lightly used in the film, the strategy would not have been realistic even if executed correctly. After reading Janis' recommendations to avoid groupthink, I would probably choose all of them, but a sample of all of them at that. In an agreement with Janis, this would be to avoid costly debates and people talking just to hear themselves talk. Assigning the role of critical evaluator to every member is a good idea because everyone will get a say on what people are thinking yet will be tasteful in their words because should they not, their rhetoric might be thrown right back at them when it is their turn to be critically analyzed. I really think the foreman adapted to the second recommendation spot on as he did not have a solid stance and let himself hear what everyone was saying so that he could make responsible decisions. I think the third and fourth recommendations would be the ones that I would choose the least tactics from, due to the fact that the bigoted juror and the juror with son problems might put the entire group into a groupthink situation if they were to become a temporary leader. Also the breaking down of the jury to specific tasks might not have gone so well with such a small amount of men. The fifth recommendation was a good idea and was done when the bailiff gave the group pieces of evidence to use while deliberating. However he didn’t and was not allowed to challenge the views of the core members. However within the jury, if the core members were the 3 remaining members that chose not guilty, I think Fonda was the one that listened to their opinion then challenged them on their views. The sixth, seventh and ninth recommendations were the bread and butter of the film and were used all throughout the deliberation. Fonda was the devil’s advocate and his questions singlehandedly led to the rethinking of other jurors and eventually led to their switch from guilty to not guilty. At some points he did seem like a lawyer, challenging the majority's views and asking them questions that took some thought before answering. The entire group did a fantastic job of executing the seventh recommendation by chastising those who were talking out of turn and creating alternatives for everyone’s views. They kept the debates going by asking many "what if" questions that led to more discussion. More importantly most of those "what if" questions were useful in the debate and not condescending or rude. Lastly the ninth recommendation was done by everyone, in which they all held many second chance meetings and rethought the entire issue before making any kind of definitive choice. The recommendations used and not used during the film made the film bounce from character to character in an interesting way. I think that with more recommendations included in the film, it would have led to people just talking to be heard and more arguments between the jurors.
At the beginning of the film, it is obvious that the foreman is the leader of the debate. However as the film progress, the number of jurors that could be potential leaders dwindled to about three. The first to be out was the timid man with glasses and also the old man. The reason for the exclusion for the timid man is self-explanatory. He was very nervous to speak his mind and also self-censored himself numerous times throughout the film. The main reason for the older man’s exclusion was due to the fact he was late. He lacked punctuality even if he was in the restroom. The group was in the process of getting to know each other and the inclusion of another person for them to get to know throws off the process of learning about each other and also, since the man arrived late, the rest of the jurors did not have time to talk to him and decide if he was a leader and instead, was labeled the man who was late. My hypothesis was confirmed when one of the jurors asked where the twelfth juror was. The jurors lose the chance to possibly become leader one by one as their opinions get beaten by critical questions that they can’t answer. In the film, when the bigoted made a statement condescending his own opinion it was then when he lost respect and any chance of being a potential leader. This also occurred when he started making remarks about the defendant’s background. The last person to lose the potential of being leader was the man with issues with his son. It was when he broke down and said not guilty after saying guilty every other vote that he lost his potential. The reason for this was when his wallet fell out of his hand and the picture of his son was on the table for all to see including him. When he made his statement and looked at the picture and knew that he was simply taking his sadness towards his son out on the defendant, did he break down and in the rest of the jurors eyes, lost respect due to him admitting his ignorance. The leaders overall was the foreman and Henry Fonda. The advertising man had a chance but lost the potential due to his lack of caring about the case. He was seen selling business ideas to other members of the jury and cared about the case too late to gain respect as a leader. The man from the slums asked to skip to someone else when asked his opinion and lost potential right there because of his lack of thinking quickly on his toes. It would have been nice for the watchmaker to become a leader, but due to his European past and the time of the film, no juror was going to appoint him leader. Sad but true. The baseball enthusiast was out immediately when he started making rude remarks to people’s opinions and this was confirmed when he made fun of the man who is from the slums opinion and also added a remark about the man liking the baseball team from Baltimore. The painter had a chance of becoming a potential leader by listening to what people had to say and giving back positive feedback. It was when he threatened to physically harm rude jurors did he lose that potential and was looked at as a man who would harm you if you were rude to another juror. The closest anyone else got to become a leader was the broker with the glasses who was talkative and respectful during every debate. It was when he was critically inquired about what he did the previous evening and the evening after that, going into his private life, did he stumble and therefore lose the potential. If that single incident about where he went to the movies and what he saw didn’t occur, he would probably have been a leader.
It is very hard to decide who is the main leader between the foreman and Henry Fonda. I think it starts off being the foreman then the title is given to Fonda after answering every question asked and providing substantial feedback. At the start of the film the foreman is the mediator and asked everyone to do as he asks but when he starts losing people listening to his game plan, in which eventually the jurors ask to be the leader instead of him, calling him out, does he hand over the leadership role to Fonda.
The film followed Fisher's model of group phases and ultimately implemented the chosen solution. As the old man said "it’s not easy to stand alone against the ridicule of others". That quote was the start of a positive progression towards a decision.

Angry Men Analysis Essay 6.9 of 10 on the basis of 1008 Review.