Interpersonal Communication Styles Examined In My Big Fat Greek Wedding

1650 words - 7 pages

Throughout the semester, we have been introduced to many topics related to interpersonal communication. I have come to believe that these concepts have allowed me to better understand interactions that occur in our daily lives. My knowledge of these concepts was challenged when asked to relate these notions to a movie. During the time that I was watching the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I realized myself grasping onto what was going on and being able to relate certain scenes and situations to topics I had previously learned about. Interactions in My Big Fat Greek Wedding display concepts of conflict and politeness theory, which can be pointed out in a few specific scenes.
During the movie, I found that these concepts that were taught in class helped me better understand and relate to certain clips of the movie. Throughout the rest of the paper, I will be going into a bit more detail about exactly what these concepts are and mean, following that I will be giving examples from the movie that demonstrate the concepts of conflict and politeness theory.

The movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding is about a 30-year old and single woman named Toula Portokalos who although has lived a very Greek life-style up to this point, decides to pursue a relationship with a non-Greek man. This, of course, is disturbing to her family since they are so proud about their culture, and do not really know anything different. Her whole life, Toula has been instilled with a very traditional Greek outlook on life. She has been expected to do three things: Marry a Greek boy, make Greek babies, and feed everyone until the day they die. Throughout the movie, Toula overcomes inner struggles to find her own identity, and she overcomes struggles with her family.

The first topic that is found in the movie that was taught in class is conflict. Conflict is expressed disagreement over perceived incompatible goals. Although it may seem it, conflict is not always a negative thing. Conflict is needed and can help growth of relationships. Many conflicts are started because people have different conversational styles. In class, we learned that there are guidelines that one should follow in order to help prevent conflict or help solve it. The guidelines include clarifying goals, helping others save face, using constructive criticism skills, using empathic listening skills, monitoring nonverbal behavior, remembering positive aspects of relationships, knowing when to calm down, and over learning skills that might help. These guidelines can all help lessen a conflict.
Conflict was displayed in two specific scenes of the movie. The first scene was when Toula?s parents are arguing about Toula going to school (Appendix A). Her father feels she should not go to school because girls don?t need to, and that she is fine doing what she is doing; working at the family restaurant. Her mother on the other hand, feels that Toula should go to school if that is what she wants. They go back and forth...

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