In the film Cast Away, I was interested in Chucks transition between his communication process from before he was stranded on the island and his communication skills when he got back. Being stranded on an island for four years, having no one but a volleyball to talk to would of course have some effects on how anyone would present themselves when they returned. I noticed that in the beginning of the film, Chuck had sufficient communication competence and was able to connect well with people from his own culture and with those of other cultures because his Job had him traveling often.
However, when he returned, he was unsure and withdrawn while he was around his family and friends, not really sure what to do around so many people at once. Before someone has communication competence, they have to be able to practice communicating by sending messages and using the five step listening process; though he sent out many messages, he couldn’t receive anything back. From the reflect and relate textbook, (page 164) it explains that these are needed to form and maintain competent listening skills so your able to adapt you’re listening purpose for different situations and encounters.
He was already a competent communicator before, however, he was limited to the knowledge that he had once he was on the island and he wasn’t able to progress in his communication skills. Without being able to know how to respond, it made it more difficult when his friends were interacting with him; he wasn’t so sure how to respond. Another part of listening is receiving feedback and learning what’s appropriate in your culture.
When you communicate with others, you get negative or positive feedback that you need so you can learn how to use the feedback constructively to dapt your own listening skills to your culture; For Chuck in Cast Away, he was limited to whatever he imagined Wilson’s response to be and he couldn’t receive any feedback to help him build his listening skills. The reason that it’s so important to have constant feedback is not only for practice, but also for you to understand how all communication is changing.
For example, using the word “sick” means being affected by physical illness, but it can now also be used to express something that’s crazy or cool. While he wasn’t able to fully communicate for the four years that he was on the sland, he had some other trouble with learning how to deal with grief. He was feeling lonely and isolated on the island and couldn’t fgure out how to properly deal with emotional management. In the text, (page 129) it tells us that emotional management is one of the most important factors for effective interpersonal communication. It affects our emotional expression and how we experience things.
Because he felt that he needed to manage some of the loss he was feeling from his wife and other family, he created Wilson; someone that he could express his inner thoughts to and to not feel so lonely on the island. In the text it also expresses the importance of emotions and how they have been developed in text only environments. We share and communicate our emotional experiences by emotion-snaring. Because emotion-snaring is so important, when Chuck felt isolated on the island and wasn’t able to share his emotions, he created a person that he could talk to.
In the beginning of the movie, it shows him consoling his friend whose wife is very sick. He obviously has had those types of relationships where he could share his emotions before he was stranded. When he gets back at he end of the movie it shows him again sharing in his friend’s grief and apologizing for not being able to be there for him. He had those kind of problem himself while on the Island feeling lonely and isolated, he felt grief for the loss of his girlfriend and back home. Along with his inability to fully interact, he was unable to take part in social comparison (explained on page 40 in the text).
Where we’re able to watch and recognize our own actions and compare them with others. This has an important effect on ourselves and how we interact with people, seeing people we want to be like and following their examples. Obviously Wilson didn’t react back to him and he wasn’t able to discern what is socially acceptable in a normal environment. Because of this when he was brought back and was at his welcome home party, he wasn’t sure how to act around other people and instead Just stayed mostly silent. Because of his competent interpersonal skills from before, he had a lot of important relationships and symbols.
Symbols are used many times in the movie, objects that have meaning to him while he’s on the island and ones that he finds back home. The watch that Kelly gave him is used constantly throughout the movie. It was important to him to keep it on the same time zone back home, even though it broke on island, and the picture it held of his girlfriend, which he would look at while he fell asleep in the caves. It was an important symbol that represented the loss he felt for a loved one and I felt like it was one of the things that kept him going while he was on the island.
The package was another symbol used in the film, he painted the drawing it had on his raft and he didn’t open it throughout the four years he was there. He even saved the box and finally got it to where it was supposed to be shipped. There are other symbolic things throughout the movie like Chucks car and the keys that still held his pocketknife; which symbolized how much Kelly cared for him and how important their relationship was. Without being able to engage in social comparison, it could have negative effects on his self-concept and his self-esteem.
Self-concept is built based off of social comparison, like when you feel good about how well you communicate with others or if you’re compared favorably with others. Your self- concept can be based on different things like media, family, or friends. Because he wasn’t around any of these things, he was stuck trying to remember how he used to be. He may see himself as the person that he used before, but on the island he had changed so much and in page 42 of the text, it describes how it’s hard for us to change the way we believe ourselves to be.
All of his interactions for those four years were one-way, being able to send out messages but never getting anything back, he wasn’t able to understand how he was changing in self-concept. As for his girlfriend Kelly, she was experiencing loss and she wasn’t even sure if Chuck was alive or not, she had to move on from their relationship. Just maintaining a relationship with someone who’s constantly around you can be difficult and there are many relationship strategies that have to take place in order to maintain a healthy relations ip n .
Ot course Chuck woul d nave to be actually present in the relationship at all to really maintain it. Though they clearly had a good relationship when he left and Kelly still loved him when he was brought back, they had been separated for so long that she had developed other relationships when he was gone. She had gotten arried and had a daughter. Chuck on the other hand had only her in mind as a romantic partner, but that’s because he knew she was alive and he hadn’t been able to develop any other relationships while he had been alone on the island.
As for his other relationships that he had throughout the movie with his friends he wasn’t really able to build or maintain relationships with his friends either. As I mentioned before he had a close relationship with his friend who’s wife was sick. While Chuck was gone his friend lost his wife and he wasn’t able to be there for him while he grieved. There’s a scene in the beginning of the film that shows Chuck at a Christmas dinner with family and friends where he’s interacting with them and making Jokes.
It’s good comparison to the dinner he has with his friends when he gets back. Before, when he was around his family, he knew how to interact with them and he had close personal relationships. At the other dinner it shows him standing quietly while everyone interacts around him. It makes it very clear that there’s now space between him and everyone else. Watching this film I noticed how his communication competence deteriorated rom the moment he was stranded on the island and how it affected his life once he got back.
Without the constant practice and use of our communication skills we cant maintain our skills or progress with them. Progression in communication is important because things are always changing and we need to learn how to change and adapt to listening and building relationships. You have to have a two-way communication to fully understand not only others, but your own communication as well. The movie demonstrated proper communication and showed the importance of relationships and maintaining your communication competence.