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What hinders group discussion in "Twelve Angry Men"?

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phania6 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 10, 2009 at 4:08 AM via web

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What hinders group discussion in "Twelve Angry Men"?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted May 10, 2009 at 4:39 AM (Answer #1)

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There are many obstacles to communication in the play.  The men have different ideas about the rôle of the jury, so there is disagreement on that issue from the beginning.  Some of the men are in a hurry to leave, for example, the man who wishes to get to the baseball game.  The chairman, who attempts to organize the discussion, is a rather weak individual whom the men do not seem to respect.  Also, the men are from different ethnic groups, different socio-economic groups, and different professions.  For the most part, each brings different kinds of prejudices to the jury room.  As you read or listen to each juror, you will see that each has viewed the testimony and the witnesses through a different "lens," with one juror noticing one point, and another juror missing that point completely.  All in all, it is difficult to put twelve strangers with nothing in common in one room and expect them to begin a group discussion that is a matter of life and death.  Yet somehow, the miracle of the jury is that this is accomplished most of the time!

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