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Twelve Angry Men (norms,roles,process)

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Essay title: Twelve Angry Men (norms,roles,process)


· Respect elders (e.g., the laborer is the self-appointed enforcer of good manners)

· The jurors had come to value a case based on facts, not prejudice or stereotypes. Those who upheld this value (Juror 8 and the Juror 4) were respected and became leaders that were looked to for guidance. The jurors that maintained arguments based on stereotypes alienated themselves from the others.

· The decision has to be unanimous (hung jury was something nobody liked)

· No racial prejudices were tolerated (everybody turned their backs to juror 10 when he started saying that “he knew people of these kind very well”)


The group initially started with a process of arriving at a decision by voting and there was a groupthink causing everyone (apart from juror 8) to vote guilty. Then a secret ballot was carried out and it was decided that the jury would debate for at least an hour before deciding on the fate of the boy. The first turning point in the jury's decision-making process occurs when Juror 8 dramatically produces a switchblade exactly like the murder weapon, thus disproving the prosecution's argument that the murder weapon was unique in design, Juror 8 had walked through the defendant's neighborhood earlier that week and had bought the knife from a local pawnshop, even though he knew it was against the law to purchase a switchblade. Juror 8 thus causes a few jurors to question the strength of the prosecution's case; his illegal purchase of the switchblade enables him to break the force of the majority's resistance to his viewpoint.

Juror 8 convinces the other jurors, one by one, to analyze the evidence, and their grudging review of the facts slowly convinces them that there is a reasonable doubt as to the defendant's guilt. The jurors never find the truth? the identity of the true murderer is never discovered? but justice occurs within the institution of the court with the jury's verdict of not guilty. This just result is brought about because one juror, motivated by his respect for the law and its processes, is able to defy the peer pressure of the jury room in his quest for the truth.

The jurors are transformed by the process of deliberating. Eleven men voted guilty because of their prejudices, fears, laziness and insecurities, but they are eventually persuaded by reason to give up these limiting beliefs, to see the potential in the facts, and to find justice. The critical turning points in the jury votes occur, not when there is passion and anger, but when there is reasoned discussion, as the rational Juror 8 triumphs over the prejudices of his fellow jurors. The facts of the case do not change, but the jurors come to see the facts differently, and change by the process they go through. Despite the hostility and tension created in this process, the twelve men end up reconciled, and justice is done.


Role Explanation Portrayed by Reasons

Task Oriented Roles

initiator-contributor suggests new ideas to solve group problem or new ways for the group to organize the task Juror 8 (Henry Fonda) Suggested that the jury deliberate for at least and hour

information giver/seeker deals with information and facts about the group's task Juror 8 (Henry Fonda) · Produced an identical knife· Asked for the floor plan

opinion seeker/giver deals with the group's values regarding its tasks Juror 8 (Henry Fonda) Presented an in-depth analysis of the facts of the case rather than a superficial viewpoint

Energizers tries to keep up the group's energy level

Elaborator goes into detail about how group plans would work Juror 1 (Martin Balsam) · Juror 1 took the responsibility of voting every time vote was called for· Juror 1 also explained to the group the initial process of each person stating his stand and giving reasons

Coordinator coordinates

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