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Communication Theories: “Yes Man” Movie

Communication Theories:

People apply languages in the everyday life. Languages must help in cooperation and mutual understanding to reach high efficiency. However, if individuals do not know how to apply communication in the best manner, they begin experiencing problems in their lives. Different communication strategies are developed to assist people in communicating. While analyzing them, they can discover their mistakes and eliminate them. The current paper analyzes movie Yes Man by Peyton Reed using the communication strategies.

Uncertainty Reduction Theory

Principal character Carl Allen experiences problems in all areas of his life. He does not receive promotion at work and he failed in his last relations resulted in divorce. At the same time, Carl limited his opportunities to improve his state by not letting other people come into his life (Reed n.p.). He feels unhappy but he does not know how to become more sociable.

The uncertainty reduction theory claims that people communicate in order to adapt to life conditions (Croucher 136). The movie Yes Man proves this theory because Carl fails to build the correct conversations with people around him and cannot adapt to the society. He does not communicate either with his friends or work colleagues. Whenever they endeavor to find a possibility to share their life experience with him and arrange with him, he rejects their offers. One day, his friend invites him to a seminar in communication and this lecture changes his life (Reed n.p.).

During the seminar he gets to know that he should say “Yes” to every new opportunity. The lecturer explains that by saying this word people open a door to new life. Moreover, they get involved in new situations which help them to overcome barriers (Reed n.p.). According to the uncertainty reduction theory, individuals must be open for any type of communication to become closer with other people. Thus, they build effective dialogues because they engage with the opponent’ interests (Croucher 136). For example, in the movie Yes Man the principal character constantly lies to people and therefore he is lonely. The uncertainty reduction theory explains that individuals must share their actual experience to develop relations (Croucher 140). Therefore, partners must be honest and treat each other with respect to build mutual understanding (Croucher 142). At the same time, such behavior will reduce uncertainty and worries associated with making the wrong impression (Croucher 141). Cosequently, Carl “blocks” other people by refusing to be transparent and fair with them.

Social Penetration Theory

Carl Allen demonstrates that the social penetration theory is efficient: he does not have relations with a woman as well as he has no friends at work because he does not want to “integrate”. He concentrated on his own unhappiness but at the same time he expects understanding from other people. At the beginning of the movie Carl does not want to socialize and he lies to his friends who try to support him (Reed n.p.).

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According to the social penetration theory, people should take genuine interest in other people’s lives to develop stable relations with them. Eventually, productive communication turns into friendship or love. However, all parties must take effort in building it. Carl does not want to share his feelings with other people and he stays alone and “blocks” from the society. Nevertheless, when he starts to open his character by saying the word “yes”, he meets new people who fill his life.

According to the social penetration theory, relations start developing when people treat each other as close friends. For example, when Carl starts helping people without looking for his own profit, they intend to be close with him because they think that he is a nice person (Reed n.p.). They see his inner qualities through his actions and “kind” communication. He is ready to listen to his opponent as much as needed and he builds an effective dialogue by respecting other people’s interests and thoughts.

Carl Allen behaves like a self-centered person at the beginning of the movie. He does not want to integrate into the society but at the same time he hopes for understanding. Carl is convinced that other people should forgive his selfishness. Moreover, he shows that even his friends irritate him. On the other hand, Carl feels his loneliness as well as he realizes that he has a wrong attitude. One day he sees the dream about his death. This dream may become the projection of his future: he understands that he may not create value for other people. Starting with this point, Carl begins changing his behavior to become a better person. The social penetration theory explains that people may live the “full” life without limiting themselves emotionally. It means that once Carl Allen orientates himself to other people and mutual understanding, his situation will change. For example, he starts to spend more time with the girl he met accidenntally. Their friendship develops because they share mutual interests and feelings from the past every day. The “Yes” strategy helps Carl to become more open as well as reveal his inner world. Eventually, their conversations turn into love because they begin to feel responsibility for each other’s emotions and future.

Semiotics and Society

Semiotics in movie Yes Man is expressed by the message that the author wants to deliver (Atoofi 560). Semiotics is created by the society and influenced by it (Atoofi 558). In such a manner, modern people usually do not pay enough attention to each other: they are usually too busy to help other people in difficult situations. On the other hand, the majority feels that they are unhappy, even if they managed to build a career or purchased a house and a car. Such people still feel emptiness inside and do not know how to overcome this unpleasant situation.

   

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The movie director exaggerates some examples of the principal character’s behavior to represent the concept symbolically (Berger 22). Reed explains that the society may “loose” good people only because they did not receive any assistance during their difficulties. He analyzes modern people’s minds and conduct to show their mistakes in his movie. Reed insists that in spite of some individuals’ aggression, they still may be kind and responsible inside. The “Yes” strategy represented in the movie serves as the concept of kindness, openness, and frankness. Many people got used to the lie as a protection, although they should get rid of their fear to be open to new life challenges. Thus, the movie copies the up-to-date culture of selfishness and warns that such behavior leads to the failure (Berger 25).

Conclusion

Yes Man is the educative movie that changes people’s lives. It intends to assist them in difficulties and to give solutions to their doubts and uncertainty. It comprises all elements of modern society and tries to point to its mistakes. The movie shows that the majority of individuals experience problems not due to their bad qualities of character but due to the mistakes in communication. The social penetration theory and uncertainty reduction theory help to analyze the movie and find the major message created by the author. They assist in getting deeper to the “roots” of the main character’s problems. While watching the movie people realize how to become happier and build friendship and love with the people they like.

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