Author’s Messages from Twelve Angry Men What was Reginald Rose telling us?
Prejudice gets in the way of the truth. Example: Juror #10 He was a racist and therefore unable to think the case through clearly. He wasn’t interested in the truth.
Example: Juror #8 had to take each juror through the process of thinking things through from every angle to help them understand that there are different ways to look at things. Getting to the bottom of a complex issue takes patience and understanding.
The way one person views something is often different than that of another. Example: All the jurors, except one, initially believed that the facts of the case showed that the defendant was guilty. There are often many interpretations of facts.
Often it’s the way people are raised that determines how respectful they are. We do as we are taught. Juror # 11 said it best when asked why he was so polite and he responded: “For the same reason you are not.” Treating your opponents with respect and courtesy will encourage them to listen to you.
This was a character trait of Juror # 4. He thought things through to the extent of being able to admit when he was wrong. How many people do you know with the strength to admit when they’re wrong? Test others’ opinions, question their assumptions, and draw your own conclusions.
Check your intuitions – neither dismiss them nor trust them blindly. Most of the jurors had the first impression that the boy was guilty and never would have questioned it. Jurors # 4, 9, and 8 realized they had a first impression yet were open minded to different opinions.
Groups of people can work for you or against you – and they can shift. The jurors worked together against Juror # 8 then they shifted to work with him to influence Juror # 3. This was a similar theme in the mob scenes of The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.
How successful would Juror # 8 have been if he lacked determination? Or if he lacked the skill to debate an issue? One determined and skilled individual can carry a lot of influence.
How can we apply these messages to real-life situations? An author’s goal is to send his message out through the text and encourage his audience to think about the message.