Anybody doing the dealing with the concern of prejudice in R. E. class will find 12 Angry Guys an important resource, though there isn’t any obvious faith aspect. I find utilizing private short scenes to be the best technique– time to show and go over within one class duration. I have picked what I consider to be 5 essential scenes that illustrate the style successfully– even to do 3 of them would supply a week’s work. In this commentary I’m dealing primarily with the 1957 variation directed by Sidney Lumet, but most remarks would likewise use to the 1997 version by William Friedkin.
In fact for RE classes it may be worth making some contrasts as the jury in the latter is more ethnically balanced, and the judge is a lady, though there are still 12 Male. Keep in mind likewise that the 1957 film is on the Leaving Cert English course for June 2007, so beware of stealing the thunder of sensitive English teachers! Scene 1: Opening Scene– in the jury space prior to the very first vote Jurors 3 and 10 are the most obviously discriminative individuals.
Juror 3: “I ‘d slap those hard kids down prior to they begin any trouble”, a perfect example of prejudging.
Juror 10: “You understand what we’re handling … they let those kids run wild out there”. The director may not have actually meant it, but the movie might likewise be accused of showing bias towards females and black people by omitting them from the procedures. Scene 2: First vote to second vote: Jurors 3 and 10 express their bias quite openly here. Juror 3: “the kid’s a harmful killer, you can see it”; “it’s the kids, the method they are nowadays” (in relation to their not calling their dads “Sir” anymore); “kids– you work your heart out …”.
We see that often individuals aren’t even familiar with their own bias– juror 3: “I have no personal sensations about this”. Juror 10 is even worse: “I have actually lived amongst them all my life, you can’t think a word they state … they’re born phonies”. For all his reasoning and cool headedness, juror 4 has an element of prejudice, or at least he’s really insensitive in what he says: “kids from shanty town backgrounds are possible menaces to society”. Juror 10 reacts with “the kids who crawl out of these locations are genuine thrash”.
Juror 5, who originates from such a background (and is revealed to be sensitive and well mannered) takes offense, and the foreigner (juror 11) can relate to being upset like this: “this sort of beliefs I can comprehend”, suggesting that he too has suffered prejudice (as he does later in the film). Scene 3: Losing the Cool– juror 3 provoked (this scene starts just after the re-enactment of the old male witness’ walk to his door and ends with another vote, which leaves it 6-6). The bias and psychological baggage of juror 3 become quite prominent here.
He implicates other jurors of having “hearts bleedin’ all over the floor about run-down neighborhood kids and oppression” and alerts “he’s got to burn. You’re letting him slip through our fingers”. He says he ‘d willingly “pull the switch” on the young accused. Previously he said it wasn’t personal, but juror 8 accuses him: “you want to see this boy die because you personally desire it, not since of the realities. You’re a sadist”. That last comment prompts juror 3 to assault juror 8. Juror 10 once again shows his bias: 10: “a kid like that”, again annoying juror 9, the old guy: “that guy gets on my …
“. We see here how bias combined with high feeling can lead to violence. Is juror 8 too insulting here? Or just attempting to provoke a beneficial response (the empty death threat, which has significance for the case)? Scene 4: Juror 10’s Bigoted Tirade This concern comes very much to the forefront here with this last rant of juror 10– both in his speech and in the ethical juror 8 draws at the end of it. We see that as a prejudiced person becomes more cornered and separated he can become more strident, extreme and offensive. Even juror 3, who has his own bias, turns his back on him.
It reveals that as prejudice becomes more obvious more reasonable people can see it for what it is and decline it, as takes place here. The outburst might likewise have a result on the bigot– juror 10 soon alters his vote and says no more after this– either he’s got it out of his system, acknowledges how undesirable his bigotry is, or simply sees no point in holding out. Juror 8 revealed more guts in sticking to his position when he was separated in the beginning. Excerpts from the rant: “You understand how these people lie, it’s born in them … They don’t understand what the fact is … they do not require any genuine big reason to kill someone either …
they’re genuine huge drinkers, all of ’em … Nobody’s blaming them for it, that’s the way they are, by nature, you know what I mean, violent … Human life don’t mean as much to them as it does to us … Sure, there’s some good things about them too … This kid is a phony … I know all about them. … They’re no great, there’s not an among them who’s any good … His type, do not you learn about them? … These individuals are dangerous, they’re wild”. The prejudice is condemned out of its own mouth, seen for what it remains in all its ugliness. Scene 5: Completion This is juror 3’s last stand.
In his last desperation he implicates the others of being “a lousy lot of bleedin’ hearts”. He reveals again the bias he has revealed earlier about young kids who are, as he sees it, rude to their dads. The fact that this is his motivation is revealed by the way he takes a look at, and eventually tears up the image of himself with his separated son. As he weakly goes back over the discredited evidence he duplicates his prejudice– “Rotten kids, you work your life out”. Like juror 10 he ultimately breaks down, perhaps realising finally what his genuine inspiration is.
Once again we see how prejudice can get extreme when cornered, however also that when a prejudiced person is separated rather of belonging to a group he can often give up (lack of private courage?) and perhaps get some insight into his own outlook. We get 2 types of prejudice here. The bias of juror 3 is more personal, while that of juror 10 was more socially orientated. I have more resources on 12 Angry Men which I can email to individuals on demand (Word doc accessories). Email: [e-mail secured] com website: www. faitharts. ie The movie can be obtained from the An Tobar Resource Centre.
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